The former Wirral Grammar School pupil started his career across the water as a journalist for Channel One Liverpool, the now defunct local TV station owned by Trinity Mirror. He established himself in PR for the NHS before taking on his present role at Lancashire – the UK’s fourth biggest council and the biggest in the North by population served (1.2m) – in 2010.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the timing of his start, his first job was one of radical restructuring: indeed, he led a downsizing of the council’s comms staff by more than 50%, with multiple teams replaced by one central service. The team now amounts to 35 in total, but the issue of cuts continues – the council must slash £547m from its spending by 2018, and there’s an ongoing external and internal communications programme to support that plan.
Also high on the council’s comms agenda at the moment is the incendiary issue of fracking, and over 60 media descended on County Hall two weeks ago as councillors met to decide on the planning applications while a large protest assembled outside.