Francis exits Bentley for Forensic Science Service

The Forensic Science Service (FSS) has strengthened its comms team by poaching automotive PR stalwart Kay Francis.

The Bentley head of corporate comms has taken up the newly created director of communications role at FSS, which was criticised for failing to spot key evidence in the Damilola Taylor trial.

Her post has been created to help the FSS become more commercially savvy and claw back market share.Francis brings with her 16 years of considerable experience in the car industry.

‘The biggest challenge is going to be achieving a culture shift to become more commercially focused,' she said. Heading a press team of six, Francis also has responsibility for internal comms, currently handled by the HR team.

The former top PRO, Cathy Lee, remains head of comms but now reports to Francis.

Francis sits on the executive committee of the agency, reporting directly to CEO Dave Werrett.

The FSS boasts a good reputation, being the first organisation of its kind to build a national DNA database. More than 90 per cent of its business comes from police forces in the UK and abroad.

However, significant market share has shifted to competitor LGC - a private forensic company that uncovered vital evidence which helped convict the killers of Damilola Taylor.

The FSS missed clues when it was initially investigating the Taylor case. LGC's turnover grew by 34 per cent in 2005, but that of the FSS only increased by one per cent in the same period.

Francis spent a year at Bentley and was previously corporate communications manager at Ford Britain. Before that she was head of internal communications at Ford Europe, overseeing comms for the manufacturer's 83,000 employees .

Bentley is not recruiting for Francis's replacement but has given her responsibilities to Mark Tennant, who is now marketing and PR director at the company.

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