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