Consumer regulator hires a new PR head

The National Consumer Council has appointed a public affairs head as the watchdog gears up for a number of Government initiatives.

The National Consumer Council has appointed a public affairs head

as the watchdog gears up for a number of Government initiatives.



Andrew Barnett, 31, joins the organisation from HSBC, where, as media

relations manager, he handled PR for the bank’s small and medium-sized

business.



In his new post, Barnett will oversee media and Government relations,

publications and liaison with other consumer groups.



He previously worked for the Arts Council as deputy to press and public

affairs head Sue Rose. In 1992, he stood as a prospective Conservative

MP for Glasgow Springburn.



Barnett’s predecessor, Diana Whitworth, left earlier this month to

become chief executive of the Carers’ National Association.



Barnett will oversee a team of ten at the NCC. He said: ’Consumer issues

are very high on the agenda at the moment, something which came through

again last week in the Budget, so there is a lot of work to do.’



The appointment follows the arrival of a new NCC director, Anna Bradley,

last month. Bradley said there were two priorities for Barnett

internally: to establish public affairs procedures to ensure all policy

is followed through, maximising the benefit to consumers; and to

generate best practice literature for a range of areas such as consumer

representation.



The areas of Government activity Barnett and his team will address

include two initiatives already underway. One is a White Paper due on

the development of a consumer strategy within the DTI, and the other a

Cabinet Office White Paper due on delivering public services.



Draft legislation the NCC is lobbying on includes the Freedom of

Information Bill, the Financial Services and Markets Bill about the

regulation of financial affairs, and the Bill to create a Food Standards

Agency.



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