Bosses agree versatility and digital comms are key

Views from the BBC, Big Lottery Fund and Oxfordshire council's comms directors.

Public sector comms chiefs have agreed greater versatility and more digital communications offer ways of managing cash through the recession.

BBC head of press Donald Steel echoed Matt Tee's comments (see story above) by advising the public sector to train employees to handle a wider range of PR duties.

'We're trying to make sure you have an organisation where people can move and do different things, so you don't have an expensive hiring and firing situation,' said Steel.

Big Lottery Fund director of communications Linda Quinn added that her body was now looking at structuring its comms work around specific themes, rather than practice areas.

Both Quinn and Steel said digital would be a focus, because it was more cost-effective than traditional media.

Oxfordshire County Council director of comms James Clark supported the concept of a move towards centralised local public service comms, but suggested it could be difficult to achieve.

'On paper you would think it would save money because you probably have fewer comms people,' he said. 'But there are some technical problems - can you have a press officer who is equally clued up about the PCT, the police and the county council's policy agenda?'

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