GIS faces prospect of Government shake-up

The Government Information Service (GIS) could face a wide-ranging shake-up as Labour ministers get to grips with the Whitehall machinery.

The Government Information Service (GIS) could face a wide-ranging

shake-up as Labour ministers get to grips with the Whitehall

machinery.



Government sources denied reports of a ’purge’ of senior government

information officers, but indicated that the differing requirements of

the new administration could lead to changes of personnel among the

1,100 GIS staff.



’When you have new ministers coming into departments, some are going to

want to build their own teams,’ said a Government source.



’In the relationship between a secretary of state and his or her head of

information, the chemistry has to be right. The Government Information

Service works for the government of the day, and the last administration

clearly demanded different skills from the current administration.’



Mike Granatt, head of the GIS and director of information at the Home

Office, said the GIS is currently looking at different methods of

managing resources, but said that decisions over staffing of government

information offices was made by individual departments.



’I think ministers find Whitehall different from the way they thought.

If ministers want us to change our way of working it is up to us to

respond,’ he said.



Granatt denied reports that Gill Samuels, director of information at the

Ministry of Defence for the last five years, is to be replaced. Samuels

has been moved to a new role overseeing an internal communications

project involving the MOD’s 350,000 staff.



Her former role will be split between Oona Muirhead, command secretary

at Northwood, Middlesex who will head up the press office and Samuel’s

deputy Tony Boardman is likely to head up a new publicity

department.



Other recent moves include Liz Drummond, director of information at the

Scottish Office who has taken early retirement, and Andy Wood, director

of information at the Northern Ireland office who is on paid leave.



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