See below for our confirmed UK Public Sector Communications Conference speakers. The full agenda will be announced shortly.
Head of Communications, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
Alicia Custis is a multi-award winning communications specialist, with extensive experience working in the NHS. She is head of communications at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital and community health services in Stockport.
Alicia was asked to work at the Trust immediately following the saline poisoning murders at Stepping Hill Hospital in 2011. This was in order to lead on communications around the incident and develop and implement an overall communications strategy for the organisation. The communications team subsequently won three national awards for its reputation handling approach.
Alicia was previously head of communications at The Christie cancer centre for 10 years. She has 20 years’ experience in communications, which includes six years working at PR agencies on a wide range of accounts.
Head of Campaigns and Corporate Communications, The Electoral Commission
Emma has more than 12 years of experience primarily in the public sector. She has worked across event, tourism and cause-related marketing. As Head of Campaigns and Corporate Communications at the Electoral Commission, Emma leads a team of eight people who plan, deliver and evaluate national multi-media campaigns to encourage people to register to vote ahead of elections and referendums. This includes campaigns for the 2015 general election which won Effie and Marketing Society awards for its effectiveness, as well as the EU referendum and most recently the 2017 general election, which contributed to a record high electorate.
Communications & Engagement, GMFRS, Mayor of Greater Manchester & Combined Authority
A former journalist, Shelley is recognised as one of the leading strategic communicators in the public sector in the UK. Her previous roles of note including leading comms, marketing and tourism at Lancashire’s flagship local authority Chorley Council before a board level position at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service in comms and engagement. Following the ground-breaking Devolution deal, Shelley retained her role at the fire and rescue service whilst picking up the role of Assistant Director at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority - led by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and representing a truly integrated, place-based communications and engagement teams across fire, health, the combined authority, metro mayor and police and crime commissioner's remit.
Shelley’s expertise includes the full range of marcomms functions including crisis, media and reputation management, marketing, branding, digital/social, events, internal communications and consultation/engagement. An experienced and proven leader operating successfully within challenging and complex organisations – Shelley was nominated as a ‘Northern Power Woman’ in 2016 for her influence in this field.
Head of Campaigns, the Prime Minister’s office
Pinky Badhan is a CSR professional with over 10 years experience working within CSR in the private sector. As the Head of Campaigns for the Co-op she delivered campaigns with charity partners ranging from climate change and global poverty to women’s rights and community empowerment.
Pinky launched the Co-op's Global Poverty Ambassador campaign securing Bill Gates to launch the campaign at the London School of Economics. She also led a campaign to protect community energy projects which led to a change in the law with an amendment to the Energy Bill.
Pinky recently moved to the public sector and is currently the Head of Campaigns for the Prime Minister’s office, having spent 18 months with the Dept of Communities delivering the Government's priority behaviour change campaigns: Home Ownership, Northern Powerhouse & Devolution.
Interim Head of Communications, Oxford City Council
Peter Holt is a career communicator, having held senior roles across the NHS, policing, and local government, and worked around the UK from London to Glasgow, Bristol to Newcastle, Cornwall to Chester, and Dorset to Belfast. After 20 years in in-house roles, Peter has spent the last four years as a consultant, focusing in particular in change management, campaign development and crisis management. A graduate in law, Peter is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, and is a Member of the CIPR, PRCA and CIM. Before focusing exclusively on his professional career in politically-restricted roles, Peter was elected as a local councillor in a London borough, and at the age of 31 became the youngest council leader in the country.