The Cabinet Office is setting up a crack squad of PR officers to
tackle issues surrounding the millennium bug.
Department of Trade and Industry head of news Mike Ricketts has been
seconded for a 15-month period to head the ten-strong team. His official
title is year 2000 media co-ordinator. In the newly-created role, based
at the Cabinet Office, Ricketts reports to Mike Granatt, head of the
Government Information and Communication Service.
Starting on 11 January, Ricketts will be the media’s point of contact
for year 2000 issues, specifically those surrounding the millennium bug
and its effect on Government departments and public sector
As well as creating public information materials, Ricketts will put
together an advertising campaign to promote awareness of the issue.
’The role here is to provide reassurance, where possible. The issue is
whether people are being unnecessarily alarmed or are totally
overlooking the problem. I’ll be a pan-Whitehall centre of information,
a kind of source of sources to all media,’ he said.
While Ricketts will defend the Government over the bug, the role is
mostly a proactive one and specific bug problems will be fielded by the
relevant departmental PR officers.
Ricketts has been head of news at the DTI for almost four years,
managing over 30 people. He oversees the press office, long-term
strategy development and the in-house magazine there.