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
Tim Borrett MCIPR, Accredited PR Practitioner
Tim is Service Manager for Public Relations at Bristol City Council. He previously managed the communications teams at Teignbridge District Council and East Devon District Council. He is committed to professional development and is a CIPR Accredited 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 led communications for the multiple award-winning safer driving partnership campaign, The Honest Truth.
Now leading a team of nine PR practitioners in Bristol, his responsibilities include overseeing the city council’s media relations, publications and digital news channels, along with being the organisation’s lead advisor on PR and reputation management.
A casual cyclist, 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 has been involved with developing an e-newsletter.
Lucie Culkin MCIPR
Lucie as Communications Manager leads a team at Stevenage Borough Council, in Hertfordshire. For the last eight years, with the communications team, she manages 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 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 MCIPR
Peter was previously 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. In more 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. He is a member of the CIPR LPS committee and has previously been its Deputy Chair.
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.
Mandy Pearse MCIPR, MCIM
Mandy is Chair of the CIPR’s Local Public Service Committee 2017-2018, had been its Vice-Chair since 2014 and has volunteered on the committee for a number of years. She has spent more than 20 years working in public sector communications before becoming strategic communications consultant and trainer at Seashell Communications Ltd. She is now Head of Public and Partner Relations Plymouth City Council. She has worked with many public sector organisations conducting communications reviews and advising on strategy as well as training officers and members. Engagement is one of her key specialisms, from engaging employees and stakeholders to members of the public.
Supporting public sector practitioners in their continuing professional development (CPD) through national and regional events is also a key activity for Mandy.
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.”
Claire Melia-Tompkins MCIPR
Claire is the outgoing Chair of the CIPR’s LPS group (2016-2017) and has previously served as its Honorary Secretary of CIPR’s Local Public services group. 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 12 years ago.
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 joined 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 co-opted committee member of the CIPR Marketing Communications group.
Wendy Moran MCIPR
Wendy 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.
Steve Park MCIPR
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
A 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 his new role on the CIPR LPS committee.
He currently works with organisations to help them develop their external and internal communications strategies and campaigns. In particular, Dominic 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, Dominic 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
With 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
Kerry 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 was a journalist and news editor at News International (now called News Corporation) and at the 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 said: “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 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. 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.
Polly Cziok MCIPR
Polly is the Head of Communications and Consultation 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.”
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
Rob 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.
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.
© 2017 CIPR Local Public Services