NEWS: Langham takes on Hackney job

Hackney Council has found a willing candidate to take on ‘the toughest PR job imaginable’ - assistant chief executive (PR and communications) for the beleaguered borough.

Hackney Council has found a willing candidate to take on ‘the toughest

PR job imaginable’ - assistant chief executive (PR and communications)

for the beleaguered borough.



Lorraine Langham, currently the London Borough of Camden’s head of

communications, beat an initial list of 100 to land the pounds 60,000

salary job, which is one of the highest paid local authority public

relations posts in the UK.



In preparation for Langham’s arrival in three months, Hackney Council is

restructuring its communications division - part of an effort to repair

its scandal-ridden image.



Two new jobs; a head of internal and a head of external communications

will be created within the 29-strong department which will report to

Langham.



The communications unit which consists of five press officers, plus

Hackney’s Information Bureau and the Translation and Interpretation

unit, will merge with the council’s Corporate Complaints unit.



Hackney’s chief press officer Nick Goslin has been fielding media

enquiries since the departure of head of press and publicity Grainne

Morby last July.



Langham, whose CV includes stints at Harrow, Hammersmith and Fulham and

Hounslow borough councils, will report to and work alongside Hackney

Council’s new chief executive Tony Elliston on a council-wide change

programme called ‘Transforming Hackney.’



‘This is not just a public relations job,’ said Price Waterhouse which

dispatched specially produced glossy brochures on the post to 500

interested callers. ‘There are very few PR roles at this kind of level’.



Elliston said ‘Lorraine will play a crucial role in raising the

expectations that local people have of the council and delivering the

quantum leap in the quality of service they deserve.’



January’s advertisement for the position read: ‘PR jobs don’t come much

tougher than this one. Our relations with the media could hardly be

worse, what with scandals and accusations of inefficiency to contend

with.’



Langham, who is in her early 30s, faces the challenge of transforming

‘what could be the worst PR job in London into the best.’



Focus, p11



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