DfES reveals leaders of revamped comms team

The Department for Education and Skills has unveiled a raft of senior appointments as it pumps up its PR muscle.

Under the direction of recently appointed comms boss Caroline Wright, the department's PR function has been revamped: the DfES's ‘pre-16' and ‘post-16' units have been merged under the banner ‘marketing and channels', while its four other units have been ‘upgraded'.

Five recruits will head the five reformed units. DoH chief press officer Lee Bailey will effectively replace John Shield as head of news on 17 November. Shield joined the Department for Communities and Local Government in August (PRWeek, 17 August).

Former head of strategy Stuart Dickenson has taken up the role of head of comms strategy and planning with responsibility for an eight-strong team.

Former head of public affairs and the public information unit Tina Haslam has become head of transformation and management.

Karen Smalley has taken up the role of head of marketing and channels.

Business and stakeholder relations manager Anna Brocklehurst has become head of corporate and internal comms, effectively taking over from Jayne Farrin, who is leaving in mid-November, PRWeek understands.

‘The [revamp] is designed to bring PR strategy closer to the policy teams and increase our capacity in terms of strategic advice.

‘Communications can offer solutions to policy problems in terms of changing behaviour, so needs to be considered at the start of the policy process,' Dickenson told PRWeek.

Four senior comms advisors are yet to be recruited into the strategy team. The DfES employs 270 comms staff.

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