Ricketts to head millennium crack squad

The Cabinet Office is setting up a crack squad of PR officers to tackle issues surrounding the millennium bug.

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

utilities.



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.



Analysis, p7.



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