New comms unit reportedly being set up by the Scottish Government

THE Scottish Government is reportedly setting up a new department, with the existing press office merging with a ministerial support unit to comprise 230 press officers and civil servants.

Writes The Herald’s political editor, Magnus Gardham, today, the unit will provide both communications and ministerial support functions.

But Gardham – under an ‘exclusive’ banner – also reports the “move has sparked fresh claims that ministers were politicising the civil service”.

Says Gardham: “Under the plan, press officers and close ministerial aides will all report to a high-powered new communications chief, expected to be recruited in the next few months. The £87,500 post has just been advertised in the public relations and marketing trade press.

“Moves to reorganise the Government’s press office operation emerged a day after the ministers hired three new political advisers, taking the total 13, the highest since devolution.”

Elsewhere, in The Herald today, it is reported that Argyll and Bute Council hired two ‘media professionals’, on £250 a day each, to cover for three suspended communications staff.