Partnerships for Schools to fill void with Leonard

The Government agency overseeing the £45bn school rebuild programme, and the delivery of city academies, has snared the Financial Services Authority's Amy Leonard.

Partnerships for Schools – a non-departmental government body – has hired Leonard as director of comms after six months of being without a senior PRO.

She replaces Caroline Wright who joined the Dep­artment for Education and Skills as director of comms last spring. She was PfS’s inaugural PR chief for just three months (PRWeek, 30 March 2006).

At the FSA, Leonard is ins­urance sector manager – a role that has a PR remit. When she joins, she will report to chief executive Tim Byles and oversee a team of three people.

Leonard’s appointment comes amid warnings that local authorities, which help deliver the programme at a local level, are struggling with the budget. In some cases, councils involved with the Building Schools for the Future programme have seen their annual turnover double.

The programme – which aims to rebuild all 3,500 secondary schools in England within the next 15 years – is suffering from a lack of commitment from the private sector. Launched in 2004, the first contractor did not sign up until last year.

However, PfS has pointed to the scale of the project as a reason for delays.

Before joining the insurance sector team, Leonard was communications officer for the FSA’s Insurance Firms Division. Before this, she worked in the public affairs team at the FSA.

She is also a former government press officer, having worked for Mo Mowlam in the Cabinet Office and Jack Straw in the Home Office.

PfS retains Kinross & Render and Geronimo Communications (PRWeek, 14 January 2005).

Leonard was unavailable for comment.

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