Meet some of the communicators and public relations teams involved in supporting PR and communications professionals through the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Local Public Services group

The 2018-2019 CIPR LPS commitee

Tim Borrett MCIPR, Chartered PR Practitioner

Portrait picture of Tim wearing a grey suit and white shirtTim is Director of Policy, Strategy and Partnerships at Bristol City Council. He previously managed the communications teams at BCC, aTeignbridge District Council and East Devon District Council. He is committed to professional development and is a CIPR Chartered PR Practitioner and has completed the CIPR Diploma.

He is a previous winner of both the CIPR South West PRide and CIPR Local Public Services Outstanding Young Communicator awards, and has built award winning communications teams in several organisations.

Now leading a wide-ranging directorate responsible for corporate strategy, communications, public affairs, international affairs, equalities, performance and insight, he works at the heart of the city council bringing the PR profession to the board room.

A casual cyclist, film-buff, regular gym-goer and adrenaline junkie, Tim is also enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for local public sector communications with others. He has been a member of the CIPR LPS committee since 2014 and is its Secretary for 2018-2019. He became Chartered in 2018.

Holly Bremner MCIPR, Chartered PR Practitioner

HB_450x640Holly has a wealth of experience leading and delivering internal communications and external relations for national and local organisations across the private, not-for-profit and public sectors.

Developing strong communication approaches to help partnerships in achieving their goals is a common theme across Holly’s career, having worked on behalf of drug and alcohol teams, physical and economic regeneration projects, youth development and transformation programmes.

Holly is a member of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations and in 2018 became a Chartered PR Practitioner. She was the Vice Chair of the CIPR’s Local Public Services Group for 2017-2018. She became Chartered in 2018.

Angie Burton MCIPR

She joined the LPS committee in 2018-19, bringing experience and knowledge from her work at Bristol City Council.

Lucie Culkin MCIPR, Chartered PR Practitioner

Lucie portraitLucie has extensive experience in Communications and PR in the public sector. She led the communications team at Stevenage Borough Council, in Hertfordshire, where she managed the profile and reputation of the Council and the town – familiar to many as the UK’s first post-war New Town – and in engaging with local residents, businesses, visitors, staff and elected members.

Previously, Lucie’s background was in corporate communications in the construction industry for more than 12 years. She originally trained as a journalist and worked on trade magazines and corporate publications. She then moved into a wider public relations role and joined the CIPR in 2001, completing the diploma the following year. She is currently studying for an MA in Strategic Communications.

The work of “shaping Stevenage’s strategic communications activity into an engaging customer-focused approach” was featured as a case study in the ‘PR and Communication in Local Government and Public Services’ book. Lucie is invited to talk to colleagues in other local authorities about this strategy and to share good practice and ideas.

She joined the LPS Committee in 2017-2018 to be able to promote further knowledge sharing among colleagues and believes ‘we all have a lot to offer’.

Lynda Forthergill MCIPR

Lynda picLynda served on the CIPR LPS committee from 2014 to 2016 and has been active in supporting members in this sector for many years. She was a previous Communications Manager, Resources and Strategic Commissioning for Warrington Borough Council.

She started her career in local government public relations as a press officer with Newcastle City Council in 1996. Since then she has headed up the communications teams in four North East councils and has been actively engaged with the CIPR Local Public Service group (LPS), including working with colleagues to deliver a successful IPR local government conference in Newcastle Gateshead in 2002. She was heavily involved in the CIPR LPS group’s research and report ‘Influence for Impact’ research report findings‘ in 2015 and is a keen advocate for helping staff build personal resilience for the workplace.

She has been involved in a number of projects to support good practice across the sector, including showcasing the, “We asked, you said, we did”, campaign launched while she was Head of Communications at South Tyneside Council, and widening her skills to include leadership and performance coaching.

In 2010, Lynda set up her communications and coaching consultancy providing support to a number of individuals and organisations. Her recent interim management roles took her to the North West of England.

Peter Holt FCIPR, Chartered PR Practitioner 

phPeter is Assistant Chief Executive at South Northants Council.

In recent years he has been the interim head of communications at a number of local authorities including Cornwall and Oxford. As a consultant, his areas of work are communications, marketing, public affairs and crisis management.

Prior to that he was Communication and Marketing Director at Bristol City Council, heading a team covering communications, marketing, consultation, design, festivals, events and community arts specialists. Before moving to Bristol, Peter held the same job at Newcastle City Council.

He is a long-term member of the CIPR LPS committee and has previously been its Chair and Deputy Chair. He is on the CIPR Council for 2019.

Earlier in his career, Peter held the lead communications jobs at the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the City of London Police, and an East London NHS Primary Care Trust, after starting his career as an MP’s researcher. Before giving up his own political career for an honest job in media relations, Peter was the youngest elected Council Leader in the UK, leading the London Borough of Merton from the age of 31.

He was made a Fellow of the CIPR and elected to the CIPR Council in 2019. He became Chartered in 2018.

Mandy Pearse FCIPR, Chartered PR Practitioner, MCIM

Mandy Pearse

Mandy is Chair of the CIPR’s Local Public Service Committee 2017-2019, was previously its Vice-Chair from 2014. She has volunteered on the committee for a number of years. She is a member of the CIPR Council and was re-appointed  to represent local public services in 2019. She is also a member of the CIPR Board.

She has spent more than 20 years working in public sector communications before becoming strategic communications consultant and trainer at Seashell Communications Ltd. She was the Head of Public and Partner Relations at Plymouth City Council from 2017-2019, and continues to work in the sector. Engagement is one of her key specialisms, from engaging employees and stakeholders to members of the public.

She said: “The Local Public Services committee works to serve the 400 plus PR practitioners working in local public services. We are the oldest sectoral group in the CIPR and our members produce outstanding work which we celebrate annually as part of a conference dedicated to developing and supporting communications professionals in this sector.”

Mandy added: “Despite more than 20 years in the business, I still find it essential to keep learning and developing new skills. Focusing on my CPD is the best way to make sure I have an annual personal development plan and stick to it. The CIPR online system is easy to use and attending CIPR LPS and regional events keeps me bang up to date. I am keen to encourage as many of our members as possible to sign up for CPD.” She became Chartered in 2019.

Claire Porter MCIPR

Claire joined the New Local Government Network (NLGN) in October 2016 as the Head of External Affairs, overseeing the communications strategy, network and events.

This followed a year at the TCPA, where she publicised the organisation’s research and led on their digital strategy. Prior to this, Claire spent several years in the civil service, where she worked as a press officer for the Minister for Women and Equalities at the Department for Education – leading on national announcements on issues ranging from the gender pay gap to revenge porn. Prior to this, Claire worked at HM Treasury as both the press officer to the Financial Secretary – working on budget announcements and ministerial visits, and as a policy official in financial services.

Claire has also worked in the District of Columbia and as a researcher in the US.

Claire was a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and was on the Local Public Services Committee from 2016 to 2018.

Claire Melia-Tompkins MCIPR

Claire portraitClaire served as Chair of the CIPR’s Local Public Services group (2016-2017) and has previously served as its Honorary Secretary. She has been a member of the committee since 2012 and a member of the CIPR and the group since starting her career as a communications assistant.

She currently works on the senior leadership team for Action for Children, a national charity, heading up stakeholder communications. She has worked as the Strategic Lead for internal and change communications at Camden Council and has had previous roles at Brent Council, Ofsted, Haringey Council, Lambeth Council and Harrow Council. Claire’s professional public sector communications career has covered a variety of disciplines including media relations, marketing, change communications, events management, campaign development and management, crisis communications and strategy.

Claire has a real passion for ensuring that communications professionals in the public sector have a voice and wants to highlight the hard work and dedication of the sector and achievements celebrated. She said: “I joined the LPS group to network and learn from others in the sector. As time has gone on I have realised how important it is for communications professionals in the public sector to have a voice, to be represented and their hard work celebrated, which is why I finally joined the committee. We work in constantly challenging times and it is fantastic that there is a CIPR group that understands this and supports its members.”

Claire is also a member of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) and  a committee member of the CIPR Marketing Communications group.

Her vast contribution to the institute and membership was recognised in her nomination and selection for the CIPR’s 70 of 70 list, published in November 2018.

Wendy Moran FCIPR

Wendy portraitWendy Moran is a Senior Lecturer in Public Relations at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. Her background is in local government communication and is a co-opted member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ Local Public Services Committee. She has been a member of the CIPR for more than 10 years and is an advocate of its Continuous Professional Development (CPD) scheme.

She has been a judge of the national CIPR LPS Awards, which recognise the best communications in the sector. Wendy is a co-author of ‘PR and Communication in Local Government and Public Services’, part of the CIPR PR in Practice Series, published by Kogan Page in July 2013. In 2009 Wendy launched ‘Second Steps’, the first accredited post graduate programme for local government PR practitioners in the UK, in partnership with the CIPR LPSG.

She was Chair of the CIPR LPS group from 2015-2016, leading the LPS committee’s 2015 Research Project into the new challenges for the communications in public services. The ‘Influence for Impact’ research report findings‘ report. She was given Fellow status in 2017 and was on the CIPR’s 70 of 70 list announced in 2018 for her work for the industry.

Steve Park MCIPR

Image of Steve Park

Steve has been a senior communicator for more than 25 years and a member of the CIPR for much of that time. He was a member of the CIPR’s Local Public Services committee for 2014-2015. He has worked in a wide range of roles including senior communications roles at Newcastle City Council, as a press officer at Scotland Yard, Head of Strategic Communications at the Ministry of Agriculture and Head of Marketing at the Home Office. More recently, he has been leading communication teams in local authorities. He said: “Being a Member of the CIPR has helped me to constantly update my skills so that I have been able to adapt to new and challenging roles and to keep pace with the latest communication trends. It has also helped me to network and learn from my colleagues and peers.”

He added: “Experience counts for a lot, and I have reached a stage in my career where I want to give something back to the profession – but I also know that I can’t stand still. Our status as communication professionals is earned through our ability to learn and develop our knowledge and skills – not through job titles or letters after our name. That’s why I recently renewed my commitment to Continuous Professional Development – and why I am also encouraging everyone in my team to do the same.”

Steve’s commitment to improving communications led to his close involvement in the 2015 Research Project into the new challenges for the communications in public services ‘Influence for Impact’ research‘ and to follow-up events on the findings.

Dominic Ridley-Moy MCIPR

Portrait pic of Dominic wearing a blue shirtA communications consultant, with more than 17 years’ experience in the local authority, social housing, charity and education sectors, Dominic is enthusiastic about championing professional development through joining the CIPR LPS committee in 2017. He is also one of the leaders of the CIPR’s Independent Practitioners Network.

Dominic works with organisations to help them develop their external and internal communications strategies and campaigns. In particular, he specialises in the use of nudge-style, behaviour change techniques: how small changes to communications and processes can make a huge difference to the choices that residents and customers make.

Prior to setting up Ridley Moy Communications, he worked as the Campaigns and Marketing Manager at the London Borough of Havering for more than seven years. Most recently he was a Communications Business Partner at the housing association, the Hyde Group.

Ashley Scott-Wilcox FCIPR

Ashley portraitWith a career spanning public sector organisations for more than 15 years, Ashley is committed to promoting continuous professional development for PR and communications professionals across the country. He has recently the Head of Communications and Marketing at Medway Council. He has previously headed up corporate communications at the London Borough of Camden, worked with Thurrock Council’s marketing team, and provides consultancy to the public sector through Scott Wilcox Communications. His recent projects include integrating a strategic approach to using social media, developing a new internal communications approach, and managing change communications and engagement projects. While he was at Camden, his team won 14 national communications awards and he was voted one of the top 100 corporate communicators by CorpComms Magazine.

Ashley is an advocate of sharing best practice and helping professionals develop their skills. Chair of the Local Public Services Committee for 2014-2015, Ashley has continued his interest in promoting best practice. He was previously chairman of the group from 2008 to 2011. In 2014, he was selected to become a Fellow of the CIPR.

Kerry Sheehan MCIPR, Chartered PR Practitioner

Kerry portraitKerry is a senior strategic communications, marketing and engagement professional who has worked in a number of challenging communications environments. She has won journalistic awards and worked as a journalist and news editor at News International (now News Corporation) and at St Kitts and Nevis Observer. She later moved into PR and marketing working for PR agencies where she worked on increasing coverage and consumer engagement for some high profile national brands. She has also worked in communications and PR within the public sector, including local authorities, and most recently as head of communications within the NHS.

She is a member of the CIPR’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Panel and joins the CIPR Council for 2019. She became the Deputy Chair of the AI Panel in 2019 and also Chartered.

“I’m a keen advocate for professionalising communications/PR within the public sector. I am committed to CPD and really value the roles of mentors and coaches, having mentored communications and PR junior and mid-level colleagues and also benefiting from coaching myself,” she said. She is currently completing a post-graduate certificate in communications at Bucks New Uni.

Abha Thakor MCIPR, Founding Chartered PR Practitioner

Abha has been on the CIPR’s LPS committee since 2012 and is the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) lead for the group. As a Chartered PR Practitioner and Accredited PR Practitioner, she is committed to developing and sharing best practice and knowledge management, as well as improving access to training on digital communications. With a background and research interest in government communications and emergency response, as well as experience in developing solutions, project management and integrating IT within communications, Abha is keen that the CIPR and the LPS committee work with members to signpost and provide opportunities to support them in often fast-moving environments.

Starting her professional career as a journalist and a researcher, she has put her skills to use for public and private sector organisations and clients spanning the last 20 years. She also is committed to supporting CPD through the professional institutes. She is a Chartered Manager and has led and been involved in management development and training in communications and worked as a communications director, adviser and champion. Abha has won and been shortlisted for a number of awards in both journalism and communications including CIPR award for a local authority PR campaign she led in 2012. She has also served as a judge for the national CIPR Excellence Awards through her professional support of others in the sector and an advocate for professional development.

She said: “There are many ways that CIPR members can benefit from their membership as individuals and for their organisation. We often hear from members who are unsure where to start or want to discuss ideas and potential solutions with other professionals in the sector. We are keen to support members and those looking to join the CIPR. The LPS is committed to helping professionals make more use of the opportunities within their institute.”

Abha is a contributing author to the digital communications book ‘PR Stack 2‘, published in October 2015 and contributed to the materials brought together by the CIPR’s AI Panel. She was involved in the 2015 Research Project into the new challenges for the communications in public services, ‘Influence for Impact’ research report‘ and producing video and CPD pieces linked to the research and its findings. She is CPD and Digital lead for the LPS.

She was nominated and assessed by an independent panel in 2018 to be on the CIPR’s 70 of 70 list celebrating outstanding practitioners and contribution to the industry.

Polly Cziok MCIPR

Polly portraitPolly is the Head of Communications, Culture and Engagement at the London Borough of Hackney and a previous Chair of the LPS group. She is an advocate for training in the sector. She said: “In local public service, we are facing continued tough economic times, coupled with a rising tide of expectation about the role communications must play to support our organisations.

“The theme of our events acknowledge the new pressures and challenges that communications professionals are facing, and they work to equip delegates with the skills and knowledge they need to meet those challenges. LPS events also look at how we can share best practice and harness the legacies from previous years to energise and invigorate our communications.”

Polly on developing a place brand (interview on Hackney, 2018)

Giuseppina Valenza, MCIPR, Chartered PR Practitioner

Giuseppina portrait, black and white pictureAn experienced public sector communicator, she joined the CIPR Local Public Services committee after years of supporting of the group and fellow practitioners.

Giuseppina Valenza is Head of Communications and Customer Experience at Tandridge District Council in Surrey. She said: “My aim is to lead a proactive, co-ordinated and professional approach to corporate communications and make better use of customer insight to enhance services and deliver a better experience for the customer.”

In her local authority work, she manages the communications team and matrix manages a team of case officers to deliver communications activities including website and social media management, publications, campaigns, consultation, media relations, events, crisis management and internal communications. She is also a member of the Senior Leadership Team. She is the communications lead for the Council’s transformation programme, which is aimed at radically changing the Council’s operating model and its relationships with customers, as well as ensuring the Council is financially self-sufficient and sustainable.

Giuseppina is Chair of the Surrey Communications Group, a Surrey wide public sector networking group of about 100 communications professionals from councils, health, emergency services, universities and related charities, which encourages partnership working and facilitates cross-sector discussions and activities. She became Chartered in 2019.

Sophia Waite-King MCIPR

Sophia leads on communications for local government policy and finance at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

This central government role follows 11 years experience in local government where she led on communications for key areas including devolution, waste and recycling, planning, transport, community development, environmental health and policy making.

With her experience in media relations, campaign development, crisis and digital communications she also has a background in providing strategic communications and PR support to organisations within the education, consumer goods and arts and culture sectors.

Sophia joined the CIPR’s LPS committee in 2017 with a passion for encouraging communications professionals in the public sector have an opportunity to celebrate their success as well as developing their continuing professional development and pushing digital engagement.

Robert Webb MCIPR

Image of Robert WebbRob is an experienced communicator specialising in public services. He has previously worked as the Assistant Director of Communications, Public Health Wales, and Communications Manager at Monmouthshire County Council, and Public Relations Officer at Cardiff Council.

He has been a long standing member and supporter of the LPS group and championed regional events.

Get involved

Are you interested in developing and sharing best practice in local public service communications, being involved in professional development for those in the sector or supporting the group representing you and your colleagues? For further information, email us.

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