Public Sector: The Public Sector Week

South Oxfordshire opposes plans for new homes, CIPR launches excellence awards.

South Oxfordshire District Council is launching a campaign to fight government plans to allow Oxford City Council to build 4,000 homes on green belt land. The media relations activity follows the council taking the Government to court over the plans.

The Department for Transport has appointed Edward Funnell as acting head of strategic communications. Funnell quit as director of commns at the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) in March. He replaces Nick Court, who is covering for Jeremy Mooney. Mooney left in May to go on secondment to the Territorial Army comms team. At ATOC, Funnell will be replaced by Local Government Association media director Edward Welsh.

Dacorum Borough Council is launching a rent recovery campaign, using the current debt crisis as a platform. Tenants in Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring who have fallen behind in paying their rent will receive a campaign flier, and calling cards will be left at properties visited by rent account officers when no-one is at home. Posters will also be distributed.

The CIPR has opened its CIPR Local Public Services Excellence in Communications Awards 2009 and is calling for public sector PROs to enter at The awards are open to those working in local government and those working for any local public services including health, education, the police, probation and emergency services. A presentation and gala dinner will be held on the final evening of the CIPR local public services group annual conference in Edinburgh.

PPS Group director Richard Evans has called on local councils to deliver 'minimum standards of service' and clear guidance on what activities should be given priority. 'The place to start must be a series of basic standards that can be easily transferred, no matter the size of the council or comms team,' writes Evans in an article for

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