The Consumers’ Association is believed to be in the process of
restructuring its PR function in a bid to strengthen its campaigning
role and is understood to have asked six of the seven-strong media
relations team to leave the organisation.
They are expected to be replaced with a new set of staff, all reporting
to current head of PR Nicola Holgate. These include: two media relations
managers, two officers devoted to promoting the association’s campaigns
and two to Which? magazine, the association’s flagship title, and its
The association’s communications department is split into three
divisions: PR, public affairs and the policy unit. Until last November,
the department was headed by Steve Harris, who left to become the
director of communications for the UK Offshore Operators’ Association.
Harris’ post has not been filled.
Holgate confirmed: ’We are changing things and are in the middle of
confidential consultation with our unions.’ However, she declined to
comment any further.
Sheila McKechnie, director of the association since 1995, has made no
secret of her desire to make the association as powerful to consumers as
the Confederation of British Industry is to industrialists. She aims to
promote the association as a more aggressive campaigning organisation
tackling specific consumer issues at a Government level and contributing
to national debates in the media.