New spin doctor heading to county

SUFFOLK is to get a new chief spin doctor on a salary of between �55 and �64k, it has been confirmed.

The county council is to advertise nationally for a new head of strategic communications – and hopes to make an appointment during the autumn to take over the job at the end of the year.

The salary is considerably less than that of the last person in that role, although by the time he or she takes over the department will have been slimmed down considerably.

Under the new structure the new head will be responsible for a department of 15 – at present there are 18 people directly employed in the communications department and another 15 across the council doing communications work within individual departments.

The salary of the new appointee will be less – former head of communications Carryl Jackson, who left at the start of the year, was paid about �83,000 a year.

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And it will be considerably less than the cost of interim communications head Jill Rawlins whose six months with the authority will cost �104,000 in fees to herself and the agency that found her.

However Liberal Democrat John Field who was on the committee that decided to go ahead with the appointment said he still felt too much was being spent on communications.

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He said: “That will still be quite a big department. I don’t know what all 15 people will do. I can understand the need for the head of communications and two press officers, but I don’t know what the other 12 communications officers will be doing.

“When the LibDems were in coalition with Labour here the party was attacked for having 10 people in the communications team – there will still be half as many as there were then once this is all completed.

“If you had a smaller team you would not need to have a head on anywhere near this amount of money. I know it is less than before – but most people in Suffolk will find it odd to be paying what is a substantial salary for a job like this when the county is facing tough times,” he said.

Cabinet member Colin Noble said it was necessary to have someone running the department which would be leaner and fitter than it had been in the past.

He said: “The department is smaller than it has been and the salary reflects that – but it is necessary to have someone in that important post.”

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