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BAe director of communications has ‘functional accountability’ for 80 comms staff

BAe director of communications has ‘functional accountability’ for 80 comms staff

British Aerospace

When British Aerospace’s director of communications Locksley Ryan joined

the firm 15 months ago part of his remit was to integrate the

communications functions across the group - a process which is ongoing.

Ryan has overall strategic responsibility and what he describes as

‘functional accountability’ for the group’s 80 communications staff.

At the individual business level, communications staff deal with

localised media relations and exhibitions support. The central

department’s role is to provide direction and ensure consistency of

messages across the group.

Ryan’s department also co-ordinates some above-the-line activity,

investor relations PR and government affairs. It uses external agencies

on an ad-hoc basis in areas such as internal communications and video

production, while Cardew and Co is retained for financial relations.

‘Our communications budget can be measured in millions of pounds and

it’s increasing,’ says Ryan. ‘This funds a broad range of activities,

including winning press support for new contracts, dealing with pressure

groups opposed to overseas sales and some challenging financial issues.’

County Durham Health Authority

The health authority’s communications department has been up and running

for just four months, coinciding with the merger of the North and South

Durham Health Authorities and the Family Health Service Authority on 1

April this year. The department has a budget of pounds 41,500 and an

additional pounds 5,000 is spent on external suppliers.

Communications manager Michelle Handley gives communications advice to

the authority’s board on the full range of health issues. Day to day

work also covers media relations, internal communications for the

authority’s 120 employees, community relations, the production of a

community newsletter, advertising, direct mail and market research. It

also gets involved in hospital service reviews and, more recently,

managed the campaign to reduce unnecessary night visits by GPs, and a

drive to encourage people to take aspirin as a means of reducing the

likelihood of heart disease.

Michelle Handley joined the authority in November 1994. Aided by one

assistant, Handley reports to the authority’s director of performance

management Margaret Stewart who takes overall responsibility for

communications, human resources, IT systems and complaints. Senior

managers in each of the authority’s six regions also have an important

PR function. Because of their role in supervising GPs’ services, the

managers also maintain strong links with district councils, social

services, patients, carers and voluntary organisations.

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