Lambeth's Ansari to exit for Council of Europe job

One of the toughest jobs in local government is up for grabs following the announcement that Lambeth Council's top PRO is joining the Council of Europe.

Head of comms Louise Ansari departs the south London borough in October, three years after taking up its head of communications post, in which she oversees a team of 15.

‘The reputation agenda is very high on the list of priorities for the chief executive and the new Labour administration, so it is an excellent time to join Lambeth,' she told PRWeek.

In her new role as deputy director at the Council of Europe, Ansari will report to director of comms Seda Pumpyanskaya. She will help manage a team of 80, handling campaigns against people-trafficking and racism, and those promoting democracy, particularly in eastern European countries.

‘An issue on which the council's general secretary has recently commented is the apparently unlawful use of European airports by the CIA to transport suspected terrorists via unmarked planes,' Ansari said. Based in Strasbourg, Ansari will be responsible for helping communicate campaigns to 800 million people in 46 countries.

The council includes the European Court of Human Rights and the Parliamen­tary Assembly.

Ansari joined Lambeth from the Food Standards Agency, where she was a senior PRO, and had previously held the post of head of campaigns at the Commission for Racial Equality (PRWeek, 11 Sep 2003). ‘I have a background in social and consumer justice so this is not really a shift in direction. What will change will be the culture - which will be very different in Strasbourg,' she said.

Last year Lambeth was embroiled in a national row after it dubbed its Christmas lights ‘winter lights' for the sake of political correctness. It reversed the decision after being pilloried in a number of newspapers.

The Tribal Group has been appointed by the local authority to find Ansari's replacement. She currently reports to Lambeth Council's director of strategy and corporate services, Eric Bohl.

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