COI sets up diversity unit to target UK immigrants

The COI has created a diversity PR unit to help the Government communicate with Britain's burgeoning immigrant population, particularly those from eastern ­Europe.

The eight-strong team comprises specialists in ethnic minority, elderly, faith and disability issues, and is led by Ross James, head of diversity.

‘The number of diverse audiences in the UK is ­increasing and their needs are changing. Many have a high need of government services, but have ­specific communication barriers.

‘We must fully understand the information needs of all ­audiences,' he added.

Around 600,000 people from eastern Europe are estimated to have arrived in the UK in the past two years. ‘Their language skills are low and the media catering for this audience are in their infancy,' said James.

In addition to a growing eastern European population in the UK, the indigenous population is ageing.

‘Our work will help to ­understand new and emerging groups and form policy and comms activity that suits them. We will then share this knowledge with our ­clients,' said James.

James was previously head of inclusivity (comms and policy for the disabled).

The team has published a guide to communicating with ethnic minorities on ­behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

‘Communicating with Communities' ­highlights the benefits of outreach activity, and looks at techniques such as field marketing, community development and participation. 

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