Southampton has appointed Westminster City Council to provide a review of its communications facility.
According to the report, Southampton's communications performance is currently weak and 'operating at a level below that of council services'.
The report states the department is operating at 40 per cent of its possible effectiveness and meets a 'bronze standard' based on assessment against criteria, such as the Local Government Association reputation campaign, a residents' survey and discussions with employees.
One of Westminster's key recommendations has been for Southampton to appoint a director of communications, reporting directly to the chief executive. A search for this director is currently under way.
The report also states the department is too focused on being reactive to coverage in the Southern Daily Echo, and there is a lack of 'meaningful evaluation' of communications activities.