Verve's Langham lands top Ofsted corporate job

Lorraine Langham is to quit Verve Communications to take a board-level role at the Government's schools inspectorate.

Langham, Verve's MD and co-founder, will join Ofsted in the role of director of corporate services, which has a remit for PR, the contact centre, research, procurement and policy.

She is following in the footsteps of former client Christine Gilbert, the previous chief executive of Tower Hamlets Council who is now HM chief inspector at Of­sted. Langham will report in to Gilbert in her new role, which she will take up at the end of June.

Langham has batted away media accusations of cronyism. ‘Having been through a rigorous national recruitment process, which included interviews with head-hunters, a full day at an assessment centre and a final panel interview including a civil service commissioner and the chair of Ofsted, I hope people realise that I achieved this role on merit.'

The announcement follows negative publicity around one of Verve's contracts (PRWeek, 20 April). However, Langham told PRWeek that this was not connected to her move. ‘It is nothing to do with the investigation [into the contract] with our agency - this is a broader role and it is a big national job and a fantastic opportunity.'

Control of Verve Com­munications, which boasts ­clients from local government, the third sector and the private sector, will be passed to recently appointed ­director Tim Walker (PRWeek, 17 August 2006) and director and co-founder Tony O'Regan.

Langham will sell her shares in the company, she told PRWeek. The agency recently won a brief with the Thames Gateway London Partnership (PRWeek, 18 April).

Ofsted has merged with the Adult Learning Inspectorate, part of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, and the legal advisory body Cafcass.

Langham will be responsible for 450 staff in her new role.

Ofsted is responsible for inspecting the standard of independent and state schools, local education ­authorities, child daycare and childminding in England.

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