Dorset beefs up its comms

Dorset County Council has recruited North Dorset District Council comms manager Sally Northeast to fill its top PR role.

As PR manager, she takes responsibility for publications, internal comms and news, reporting to head of comms Sue Hyde.

The appointment comes as the council prepares to face a £20m funding shortfall.

‘We are in the middle of an efficiency review and expect to see a £20m funding gap over the next three years,’ said a spokeswoman.

Northeast has taken the newly created job as the council launches a public consultation on its services. It is proposing the closure of 13 libraries, which will help plug the funding gap. But the council said the creation of the post was unrelated to funding concerns.

Other issues faced by the council include the enabling of better access to its services by those who live in rural areas, plus handling comms surrounding two proposed waste management sites.

The council restructured its comms function in 2002 following a review of the authority’s services. It employs a total of 15,000 people and boasts a three-star rating by the Audit Commission.

Northeast takes charge of an 11-strong team, including four PROs and seven in a design unit.

Prior to working for North Dorset, Northeast was a journalist on local newspapers in the county for seven years before becoming a PRO at the Borough of Poole.

She then worked freelance for various public sector clients.

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