Head of Communications and Marketing (shared role with East Sussex County Council)
February 2013 to April 2014

In late 2012 I initiated an innovative communications partnership between the two councils securing high level political and officer backing. Under this partnership I took on the role of joint Head of Communications in early 2013. My achievements to date in this role include:

  • Leading two communications teams comprising approximately 55 people across two geographically distant operating locations, including responsibility for combined annual budgets of around £2.4m.
  • Implementing a new operating model for the East Sussex team, including skills development for team members to ensure successful implementation of the new model
  • Delivering strategic communications campaigns for external and internal audiences at the two councils, including frontline services reputation campaigns and change communications
  • Establishing a risk-based approach to reputation management to ensure resources are focussed on managing issues that present the greatest reputational risk to the two councils
  • Developing the business case for a shared regional communications agency for local government by merging the two council teams and providing traded communications services

Head of Communications, Marketing and Transformation Programme
January 2012 to February 2013

As well as my existing responsibilities for communications and marketing, I took on a secondment role to be responsible for the council’s transformation programme. As programme manager I oversaw three main projects that form part of the transformation programme and ensured that the programme’s aims to reduce cost and provide improved services are met.

Head of Communications and Marketing
November 2009 to February 2013

In late 2009 I took on a broader role leading the council’s communications and marketing service. I have developed the council’s first integrated communications and marketing strategy and have introduced quarterly tracker research to understand the council’s reputation among key target audiences and provide empirical evidence for the impact of the team’s actvities. My key achievements to date in this role include:

  • developing the business case for a significant investment in a relaunched council website – based on the needs of an increasingly online audience and the opportunities to save money through increasing the number of customer transactions online. I subsequently led the project to relaunch the website successfully in November 2010. This led to a significant increase in usage of the website and online transactions.
  • leading the internal and external communications for the council’s radical transformation programme – which is delivering customer service improvements and efficiency savings over a four year period.
  • managing the council’s communications and marketing activities to support Medway’s bid for city status in 2012. I was also responsible for the overall bid document that was submitted to government in May 2011, as well as the supporting campaign work.
  • introducing a more focussed approach to campaigns that is delivering demonstrable improvements in desired outcomes while reducing the council’s expenditure on communications and marketing.
  • working closely with the council’s management team and political leadership to ensure that the council’s strategic priorities are the focus for improving the council’s reputation among key target audiences.
  • developing the council’s response to the government consultation on local government publicity and working with the CIPR and LGA to ensure Medway’s voice was heard in responses to the government consultation.
  • overseeing the council’s continuing national campaign against an airport in the Thames Estuary.
  • managing an annual budget of £1.6m and a team of 22, including restructuring the team in late 2010 to generate savings while minimising the impact on the team’s communications and marketing responsibilities.

Head of Marketing
November 2007 to November 2009

During 2007 I led a comprehensive review of all council marketing activities. This review was intended to ensure that the council’s marketing was as strategic and effective as possible. The recommendations of this review were adopted in full by the council and in November 2007 I took on the role of Head of Marketing.

In this role I was responsible for all council marketing, web and graphic design activity. As part of this role I managed a transition of the marketing team, merging the existing team with marketing staff from throughout the council. I thene led the restructure of the team to ensure it was well placed to deliver the council’s marketing needs in the ever-evolving marketing environment.

I put in place new planning techniques to ensure that marketing activity was joined-up throughout the team and supports the council’s strategic objectives as well as business targets for individual services within the council.

This approach to planned communications ensured that the council’s marketing and communications address the requirements of the then Corporate Area Assessments and Local Area Agreements, as well as delivered objectives for individual council services.

I led the development of the council’s direct and digital marketing capability, taking advantage of the customer information already held in customer management systems and improving our marketing data analysis capabilities. This represented a significant step forward for our direct marketing activities which had previously been limited in scope.

In this role I also worked closely with managers in service areas throughout the council and in partner organisations. Effective relationship management was vital to ensure the new structure for marketing delivery worked effectively and delivered benefits to the council and its customers.

Marketing and PR Manager
September 2004 to November 2007

Medway Council is a unitary local authority in south-east England. It provides all local government services for a quarter of a million people. I joined the council’s Corporate Communications team in September 2004 as Marketing and PR Manager.

The council looks after education, environment, social care, housing, planning, business and much more – everything from frontline services such as rubbish collection to work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that services in Medway run smoothly and cost effectively.

I managed a twelve-strong team and am responsible for the council’s marketing, public relations, graphic design and the council’s website.

I developed a wide range marketing and PR strategies, and have managed internal teams and external agencies to deliver successful campaigns. I have also developed the small in-house graphic design team into an income-generating design business, trebling the size of the team and winning new client business from other local public sector organisations.

In December 2006 I managed the development of the UK’s first local authority podcast – the Mixit podcast. This was the first time a UK local authority has used podcasting, a new social media tool, to communicate audiences that can’t be reached with more traditional communications tools. More information about the Mixit podcast is available here.

In 2005 I also led the relaunch of the council’s newspaper, Medway Matters, as an A4 colour magazine. This is delivered to 113,000 households in Medway bi-monthly and is a key communications channel for the council. Since the relaunch readership and reader response has increased dramatically, and the magazine now generates significantly more advertising revenue.

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