Barker to depart Worcs for Birmingham NEC job

Worcestershire County Council has begun a trawl for a new comms chief following the announcement that Jo Barker is to leave.

Barker: keen to return to native city
Barker: keen to return to native city

In charge of a team of nine, Barker will cut ties with the authority next week after two and a half years as corporate comms manager.

She is joining Birmingham-based exhibitions and events organiser the NEC Group as head of corporate and public affairs.

Council bosses are looking initially for an interim replacement for Barker, before they recruit for a permanent postholder.

Reporting to head of community sponsorship Simon Adams, the job’s remit will not be reviewed.
Challenges for Barker’s successor will include lobbying Whitehall for a better settlement grant, according to a council spokesman.

‘We are one of the worst-funded councils in the UK because we have a lot of band D properties and do not qualify for an area cost adjustment, the top-up available for deprived areas,’ he added.

The spokesman said the council had proved the Government’s grant to be too low and anticipated its lobbying to be successful.

Despite Worcestershire’s claims of a funding shortfall, it is an authority rated ‘excellent’ and ‘improving well’
by the Audit Commission.

Barker, who has also served on trade body LG Communications’ executive board for the past year, joins the NEC Group on 5 June, reporting to director of marketing and communications Deborah Smith.

Should Birmingham be one of the cities shortlisted in June as a possible super-casino site, Barker will play an important role in its bid.

On her departure from Worcestershire, Barker said: ‘I am keen to return to Birmingham, which is where I come from, and want to be part of its development.’

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