Exploring the importance of internal comms

cb922f501e5ef4fb7efc681e2addeeb0Internal comms can often feel like the poor relation to PR in the public sector, but with the current workforce challenges facing the NHS it’s becoming more important than ever before.

The always excellent NHS provider comms network focused on internal communications this time around and it’s clear that this is something at the top of the agenda for colleagues right across the country. Continue reading


The Art of perception: A leaf from Bob’s PR book

The cover of Bob Leaf’s book on a life in PR will come as a blessing to all fans of the seminal TV show Mad Men, with the author silhouetted against the cover in true Don Draper style.

I was fortunate enough to meet Bob and get a copy of his book – The Art of Perception, memoirs of a life in PR – at the CIPR Northern conference earlier this summer as part of a session with President Sarah Hall.

Dubbed ‘the father of public relations’ with a 50 year career in the industry, the Mad Men comparisons proved irresistible to this diehard fan (with even the title of this blog based on a quote from the show). Continue reading

CIPR visits friends in the north

“How do you prepare for the unexpected and are you really ready if the very worst happens?”

England had just gone out of the World Cup, the Prime Minister was under extreme pressure, two leading cabinet ministers had just resigned, Donald Trump was visiting the UK and it was Friday the 13th. The perfect day for the CIPR Northern Conference which started with a striking question posed by Laurie Bell, who has been working at the heart of the Salisbury poisoning incident. Continue reading

Some comms rules of the road

I’ve been travelling around a bit recently which has inspired me to rewatch what is probably one of the best films ever made – Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Released before Christmas in 1987 it stars John Candy and the legendary Steve Martin (whose autobiography is also a fantastic read) trying desperately to get back to Chicago for thanksgiving, against the odds and all the various gods of public transport. Continue reading

10 comms tips from an NHS Chief exec

hipstamaticphoto-538589198.326329As a communications professional what is it your chief executive really wants from you?

That’s exactly the question posed at the latest NHS Provider comms network and luckily there was a senior leader on hand to offer some advice.

David Bradley, chef executive of South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust offered a detailed insight into what those in the top job are looking for from their senior communicators. Continue reading

Nine comms lessons from the #UnAwards masterclass


Last year more than 400 public sector comms teams applied to win an award for their work supporting organisations to connect with their publics and achieve their objectives.

Only a handful would be successful and win an UnAward which are designed as a no-fluff, anti-corporate recognition scheme for the best work and to act as something of an antidote to the unusual glittering, mainstream ceremonies.

Some of the winners met in Birmingham to look through the anatomy of a successful communications team and share some of the campaigns and pieces of work that had been celebrated. Continue reading

Lessons from the stoics


“As I glide down toward that little town on my short parachute ride, I’m just about to learn how negligible is my control over my station in life.

“It’s not all up to me. I’m going right now from being the leader of a hundred-plus pilots and a thousand men to being the object of contempt.

“I can hear shouting and pistol shots and whining bullets ripping my parachute canopy and see the fists waving in the street below as my chute hooks a tree but deposits me on the ground in good shape. With two quick-release fastener flips I’m free of the parachute and immediately gang tackled by ten or fifteen town roughnecks I had seen in my peripheral vision, pounding up the road from my right”

It’s 9 September 1965 and seconds earlier Commander James B Stockdale’s A-4 Skyhawk jet had been shot down over North Vietnam. He would spend the next seven and a half years as a prisoner of war at the infamous Hanoi Hilton suffering torture and solitary confinement in appalling conditions. Continue reading