The sexual health charities Brook and FPA perform two distinct roles: Brook provides confidential advice for under-25s, mainly through its drop-in centres and phone lines; FPA runs sexual health-awareness campaigns and provides advice for all age groups.
Earlier this year, Brook moved into FPA's head office near Old Street, east London, as part of an agreement to work more closely, and they now share a communications team. The line management is divided between Jules Hillier, executive director of communications at Brook, and Natika Halil, director of information services at FPA. For press statements, they'll usually put forward one spokesperson between them.
"We've had to make sure that each organisation has people who fully understood the other one," says Hillier. But there are still occasions when they think it's best for both charities to comment or campaign separately, she says.
Hillier says no job losses have occurred; in fact, the main reason for merging was to help expand the work. "The plan was to pool what we had so that we can do more with it," she says. But is there a danger that having only one organisation commenting on sexual health issues could weaken the message? Hillier doesn't think so. "I don't think it weakens us, but it does mean that we're not doubling our effort and spending money on resources twice."
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