Peterborough’s mayoral body to increase communications staff as £35k job adverts go out

Mayor James Palmer
Mayor James Palmer
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Peterborough’s mayoral authority is looking to increase its number of communications staff, with new recruits offered salaries of around £35,000.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, which is responsible for housing, transport and infrastructure projects across the county, including the new University of Peterborough, is increasing its communications budget by £16,536, plus on costs.

The budget will be £170,689.

This will see the number of communications staff increase from four to five, with the separate teams working for the combined authority and in the mayor’s office merging.

Three of the team will do external communication and one will focus on marketing and internal communications.

Adverts went out this week to recruit two “dynamic, creative and motivated communicators who can source, develop and deliver outstanding content to a range of audiences”.

The salaries will range from £34,788 to £38,813.

There has previously been criticism of the combined authority’s budget.

Mayor James Palmer, leader of the authority, had initially promised it could be run for as little as £850,000, but this rose to £7.6 million, in part due to taking on the responsibilities of the former Local Enterprise Partnership and new responsibilities relating to the devolution of the adult education budget.

The budget has since reduced to £6.3 million and is on course to take another 29 per cent drop to £4.5 million following a proposed staffing restructure, which is currently being consulted on.

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office said: “Subject to the outcome of an ongoing consultation, the external communications function for the combined authority, Business Board and Mayor’s Office will combine to operate from the Mayor’s Office and will comprise three staff. There will be no additional communications roles within the Mayor’s Office.

“This forms part of the review of the combined authority carried out by its joint chief executives, which identified savings to the staffing budget of 29 per cent - a reduction from £6.3 million to £4.5 million.

“The combined authority has a large, transformational agenda and an ambition to double the size of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy.

“Key projects like the University of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire Metro, the dualling of the A47 and A10, new stations at Cambridge South and Soham, as well as a range of other housing and skills schemes, means there is a significant demand for effective communications.

“These are projects involving significant amounts of taxpayers’ money, covering significant investment into Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and making a real difference to people’s lives and the future of the area. That demand will increase as the schemes move to more advanced phases.

“The communications responsibilities go beyond the requirements of the elected mayor and will incorporate the significant demands placed on the combined authority and Business Board.

“The Business Board is the local enterprise partnership for the area and will be covered by the same external communications team. LEPs elsewhere in the country, for example, will have their own dedicated communications function.

“As with other combined authorities and local authorities, an external communications team is needed to cover a range of commitments including media enquiries both national and local, alongside effectively communicating to the public the work that is ongoing.”