We would like to thank all of our judges for being involved in the UK Public Sector Communications Awards. To see more details about each judge, view their profile below.
Bridget Aherne MCIPR
Bridget began her career as a journalist in the 90s, working in radio and print, before making considered move to Greater Manchester Police’s press office. There she led communications plans for murders, international manhunts and for operations to disrupt organised crime gangs.
Bridget then joined Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and helped the service transform the way in which the service engages with staff and its communities.
Taking up post as Head of Communications and Administration at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2013, Bridget quickly delivered a number of essential changes to move communications from a tactical footing to a more strategic function. She was awarded the title of CIPR & IoD PR Director of the Year for this work in 2015.
During 2016, Bridget headed up communications for Greater Manchester Combined Authority and helped establish the function as the authority’s first dedicated communications lead, following the Authority’s ground-breaking devolution deal with central government.
Bridget made a return to the fire and rescue service in 2017, joining Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service to lead its newly restructured communications and engagement team.
Amanda has more than 20 years’ experience both as a journalist and in communication roles. For the past 16 years she has worked in senior communication roles within the police service and is currently responsible for Corporate Communications at Greater Manchester Police.
Initially, Amanda worked on local newspapers throughout the North West of England before moving into public relations working for a number of public sector organisations.
She has led the communication team at Greater Manchester Police during some challenging times including the murder of two police officers, August 2011 riots, death of the former Chief Constable and numerous counter terrorism investigations.
Amanda has been chair of the national Association of Police Communicators (APComm) since January 2013.
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
Samantha L Fay
Sam is responsible for Guinness World Records’ global brand strategy, new product development, strategic partnerships and also heads up the innovation division, The Records Lab. She develops creative campaigns with top agencies and brands all over the world to take the world’s best known brands to new, record-breaking heights!
Her favourite moments over the years have included presenting Michael Jackson with his certificates, meeting the Queen and sharing the lawn at the White House with Michelle Obama.
Sam is an experienced keynote speaker and in the last 12 months has delivered sessions at various prestigious industry events including Cannes Lions, Spikes Asia, Festival of Marketing, Chief Marketing Officer Europe Summit, Chief Strategy Officer Summit New York, and the China International Advertising Festival.
She is also a regular on judging panels and sits on the jury for the European Sponsorship Awards, UK Public Service Sector Awards, PR Moment Awards, Creativepool Awards and the Brand Film Festival.
Celia Glynn-Williams is Head of Marketing and Communications at Medway Council and has extensive experience in senior roles both in the public and private sector. Prior to joining Medway Council led the Communications Team at Canterbury City Council. Before moving to Kent in 2004, Celia spent nearly 20 years working in senior marketing and business development roles in the city where she was involved in setting up the successful growth market AIM (Alternative Investment Market )and managing the London Stock Exchange’s relationship management with stock brokers and listed companies.
Celia has also worked with a number of charities and is a non- executive director of g Porchlight, Kent’s leading charity working with vulnerable and homeless people, the Canterbury Festival, and Northbourne Park School and she has also worked with the Canterbury Cathedral Appeal and Trident Trust (now part of the Pearson Group).
Andy Green helps people and organisations fulfil their potential and make the most of their situations by making creativity, innovation and brand story-telling easy and fun to use. He is an author, international conference speaker, trainer, facilitator, university lecturer and Brand PR consultant.
Andy’s books on brand communications and creativity include ‘Creativity in Public Relations’, and ‘Effective Personal Communications Skills for Public Relations’ and have been translated into eight languages. His latest book, due out next year is ‘Tubespiration! – how to get your next brilliant ideas on the London Underground’. He works with major blue chip brands around the globe. He is the inspiration and author behind the new CIPR Innovation & Creativity Toolkit - a free downloadable resource offering the equivalent of a virtual creativity director to your team.
Erin has worked in the PR and communications industry for more than twelve years, formerly in consultancy working on a range of consumer, B2B and community clients, but for the past six years in the NHS.
She is currently Head of Communications and Engagement for two NHS clinical commissioning groups in Lancashire, where she also has portfolio responsibility customer care, patient experience, organisational development and equality and diversity.
An award-winning and CIPR Chartered Practitioner, she has served on the CIPR North West Group Committee for ten years, holding all posts including a three year term as Chair.
Ian Ratcliffe has 25 years’ experience in advising on and delivering communications and engagement strategies. He has led the Communications and Engagement function on a number of multi-million pound strategic projects to ensure successful project delivery, and heads Ratcliffe Knight Limited, the strategic communications consultancy.
Ian has led public sector teams winning over 50 national, regional and industry awards for effective communications, and has previously received the award of National Public Sector Communicator of the Year. He is currently the National Chair of the Public Relations and Communications’ (PRCA) Business Transformation Group.
Kara Rose has worked in the PR industry for over 17 years. Having worked in-house with Airtours Holidays at the start of her career followed by a spell as a Director of a leading Manchester agency, Kara is now the owner and MD of an award-winning, full service public relations agency based in Lancashire, KRPR.
Having launched in 2007, Kara heads up the firmly established business within the North West consultancy scene, working with clients in both the B2B and B2C sectors from across the UK. Well-versed in working with the Public Sector, KRPR has in recent years scooped both Golden Hedgehog and CIPR PRide awards for its on-going work with Lancashire County Council and its many district councils.
Dr Martina Topić
Martina Topić holds a PhD in Sociology (University of Zagreb, 2013), Postgraduate diploma in Media and Globalization (City University London, 2007), Master’s degree in Journalism (University of Zagreb, 2003) and Master’s degree in Political science (University of Zagreb, 2003). She has worked as a journalist for print media in Croatia, Slovenia and Italy (2003-2009), research fellow at the University of Zagreb (2007-2013), and as a researcher on two large international projects ‘UNESCO Media development Indicators’ (2007-2008) and ‘FP7 Identities and Modernities in Europe’ (2009-2012). Currently, she works as a Lecturer in Public Relations at the Leeds Beckett University where she is teaching Research Methods; Integrated Marketing Communications; Communication, Ethics and Regulation; Reporting 2 (Features), PR Skills, Writing for Communications, Public Relations, and Business Journalism.
Ross currently runs communications for NHS Hospitals in Gateshead and before this he was head of comms at Northumberland County Council, one of the largest local authorities in England.
In 2012 he was named ‘Public sector communicator of the year’ at the UK Public Sector Communications Awards and ‘Professional Communicator of the year’ at the Golden Hedgehogs.
Ross is also a multiple CIPR PRide award winner and judge, who won many plaudits for using social media to communicate with residents during his time at Northumberland. He has worked on some of the biggest public sector campaigns in the North East and spoken extensively about how local public services can use social media and PR to engage more effectively with local people.
He is also an experienced journalist and blogger, having spent a decade in London working for top trade publications as well as producing content for firms such as Sony, HSBC and Business Link.
In 2015 QE Gateshead won Best Small Communications team at the Comms2point0 awards in Birmingham and was highly commended by the Association for Healthcare Communications and Marketing (AHCM) at their national awards ceremony.
A former journalist, Shelley has worked in the public sector as a strategic communicator for the past 15 years, first as Head of Communications, Marketing and Tourism at Lancashire’s flagship local authority Chorley Council and secondly as Director of Communications and Engagement in the only functional board level position in any Fire and Rescue Service in the UK.
Following the ground-breaking Devolution deal in Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service will transfer into the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in May, 2017. Following this, Shelley will pick up a leading role in one of the first truly place-based communications and engagement teams in the country.
Shelley’s expertise cuts across the full range of marcomms functions including 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 work within the public sector