PRWeek.com revealed last week (8 August) that a new role of chief press officer had been created at Downing Street and that candidates were being sought.
Interim head of news Tom Hoskin explained the new role was an amalgamation of a number of existing roles that had recently been vacated by press officers. He added the position ‘involves helping to run the press office day to day and ensuring that we have all we need to carry out the daily lobby briefings’.
This week, a senior Whitehall source claimed three departmental heads of press had already turned down the job. ‘What they are not able to do is recruit a CPO. They’ve approached three departmental heads of press and had three nos. It’s not a place you want to go to,’ he said.
But Downing Street insiders denied anyone had been ‘formally approached’ about the role and said it was an open competition. The job is expected to be filled by a senior departmental press officer rather than a private sector candidate. The decision to create the new role was made by Downing Street director of comms Mike Ellam.
Photo: Ian Bottle