Edinburgh Council plans major comms overhaul

The City of Edinburgh Council is undertaking a root-and-branch review of its comms, with plans to move all PR staff into a central 'hub' by next spring.

The council said the hub would operate ‘like an agency' to provide centralised services to departments. The team will comprise 100 staff specialising in media, internal comms, design, brand development, web, new media, marketing, advertising and publications.

All will report to head of corporate comms Isabell Reid, who will assume the new title of head of comms.

The council currently has a corporate comms team of 43, with further clusters of PROs and marketing officers working in its various departments and arts-and-leisure facilities. Reid said the review would not mean redundancies, and that the revamp would probably lead to senior departmental managers being recruited to work beneath her.

‘The efficiencies will come in terms of better procurement,' she said, adding that services would be tendered centrally, rather than individually by departments.

‘This will also be a better system for managing staff,' she explained: ‘We'll be better placed to ensure consistent messaging and put more emphasis on internal and stakeholder comms.'

The council produces more than 1,000 publications. The comms team is drawing up proposals to cut this number.

The revamp comes as the council grapples with the city's controversial tram programme - set to launch next year - which is facing dissent from residents over its escalating costs.

Weber Shandwick's Edinburgh office has been retained for three years by Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE), the council-owned company tasked with implementing new transport systems in the city.

In February 2005, Media House was also brought in by TIE for crisis management and public affairs.

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