Sam Smethers starts next week with the newly created title of director of policy and external affairs. The appointment signals the agency’s intention to branch into public affairs by strengthening its political advice arm.
Smethers said: ‘My job is to really develop the company’s operations, so that its work on influencing policy and debate is as much about public affairs as it is about media and campaigns.’
Smethers’ last employer, the Equal Opportunities Commission, merged with the Commission for
Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission on 1 October to form the new Equality and Human Rights Commission.
A spokeswoman for the new body said it had yet to appoint a director of public affairs, but it has appointed former Tony Blair aide Patrick Diamond as director of policy and strategy.
Smethers spent four years as director of public affairs at the Equal Opportunities Commission.
Before that she was based in Parliament, working as a researcher for Labour MPs Bernie Grant and Andy Love.
DHA Communications was set up in 2000 by Daniel Harris, previously a special adviser to former international development secretary Clare Short. The agency’s clients include Arts Council England, Demos, Fathers Direct, Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority and Scope.