DfT hires Heathrow PR director Simon Baugh – to start briefing ministers etc on runways after 30th September

Simon Baugh, who is currently director of PR at Heathrow Airport, is moving to the DfT to take up the role of group director of comms. He takes up the new job on 30th March.  Baugh said: “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be joining the team or to be promoting the role that transport plays in driving UK economic growth.” He has been overseeing PR at Heathrow, which included the launch in late 2013 of Back Heathrow, a ‘grassroots’ (astoturfing – deeply controversial) campaign.  On 20th February Zac Goldsmith put a written question in Parliament: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recruitment process was used when hiring Simon Baugh, Group Director of Communications for his Department; and what role Mr Baugh will have in his Department after the Airports Commission has made its recommendation on airport expansion in the South East.”   Reply by DfT spokesperson:  “As Mr Baugh was previously employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd, he will not be involved in advising Ministers on issues relating to the work of the Airports Commission for the 6 months following his appointment, which starts on 30 March 2015.” ie. the Commission may report at the end of June, and Simon Baugh can start briefing etc by 30th September.

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Department for Transport hires Heathrow PR director Simon Baugh

3.2.2015 (PR Week)

by Anna Reynolds
Simon Baugh, director of PR at Heathrow Airport, is moving to the Department for Transport to take up the role of group director of comms.

Simon Baugh: Director of media and PR at Heathrow Airport is moving to DfT
Baugh, who has been at Heathrow for four years, will start in his new role on 30 March.

He is replacing Vickie Sheriff, who moved to Diageo last year to become global comms director. Scot Marchbank has been covering the position on an interim basis.

Baugh was previously director of airport comms at BAA.

Baugh said: “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be joining the team or to be promoting the role that transport plays in driving UK economic growth.”

He has been overseeing PR at Heathrow as the debate on expansion and capacity has intensified. This has included the launch in late 2013 of Back Heathrow, a ‘grassroots’ campaign aimed at garnering more support for expanding the airport.

http://www.prweek.com/article/1332084/department-transport-hires-heathrow-pr-director-simon-baugh

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More on Revolving Door below


 

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Simon Baugh: Written question – 224679

Q   Asked by Zac Goldsmith  (MP for Richmond Park)

Asked on: 20 February 2015
Department for Transport    Simon Baugh  224679

“To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recruitment process was used when hiring Simon Baugh, Group Director of Communications for his Department; and what role Mr Baugh will have in his Department after the Airports Commission has made its recommendation on airport expansion in the South East.”

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A   Answered by: Claire Perry

Answered on: 26 February 2015

“The recruitment process for this role followed the legal principle that a person’s selection must be on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The process was overseen at all stages by a Civil Service Commissioner and managed by executive search firm Odgers Berndston. The role was advertised nationally in September 2014, and the process that then followed comprised longlisting, shortlisting, psychometric testing and final interviews by a panel. The panel was chaired by the Civil Service Commissioner and otherwise comprised Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Transport; Alex Aitken, Executive Director of Government Communications, Cabinet Office; David Prout, Director General, High Speed Rail, Department for Transport; and Alison Rumsey, Group HR Director, Department for Transport. Prior to final panel interviews the shortlisted candidates met the Permanent Secretary and the Secretary of State for conversations in which the candidates had the opportunity to ask questions about the Department. The meetings with the Secretary of State were observed by representatives from the Civil Service Commissioner’s office in line with Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles. As Mr Baugh was previously employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd, he will not be involved in advising Ministers on issues relating to the work of the Airports Commission for the 6 months following his appointment, which starts on 30 March 2015.”   [AW highlighting]

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2015-02-20/224679/

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Revolving door:

Wikipedia says:

“In politics, the “revolving door” is a movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and the industries affected by the legislation and regulation.[note 1]

“In some cases the roles are performed in sequence but in certain circumstances may be performed at the same time. Political analysts claim that an unhealthy relationship can develop between the private sector and government, based on the granting of reciprocated privileges to the detriment of the nation and can lead to regulatory capture.

“The “revolving door” between the DfT and the aviation industry is well known, and the movement of staff between the two has been going on for years.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolving_door_(politics)

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The quote below is from  Wikipedia:

“The aviation sector has close links with political decision makers which many players moving between roles through the controversial ‘revolving door‘. For example: Joe Irvin was advisor to John Prescott from 1996 and 2001 (Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions as well as Deputy Prime Minister) before working for various element of the aviation lobby and becoming head of corporate affairs at BAA in 2006 before he became ‘Special Advisor’ to Gordon Brown in 2007 when he became prime minister.[28][29] He was succeeded at BAA by Tom Kelly who took the title ‘group director of corporate and public affairs’; Kelly had previously been the official spokesman for Tony Blair when he was prime minister.[28]

Freedom to Fly was formed during the preparation phase of the “Future of Aviation white paper 2003” by BAA and others[30] It was ‘fronted’ by Joe Irvin, a former political adviser to John Prescott[31] who subsequently became Director of Public Affairs at BAA Limited[32] Their director, Dan Hodges, is the son of Glenda Jackson, Labour MP and former Aviation Minister.[33]

“In March 2009 senior MPs demanded a Commons investigation into evidence of a “revolving door” policy between Downing Street, Whitehall and BAA Limited

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expansion_of_London_Heathrow_Airport

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Maria Eagle (Labour’s then Shadow Transport Secretary) said of the DfT in 2011:

“….I am sorry that the government has not learnt from our own mistake – and I do believe it was a big mistake – to see the Department for Transport as a revolving door department. It’s bad for the sector. It’s bad for good governance.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2011/10/full-text-of-maria-eagles-speech-on-labours-ideas-on-future-aviation-policy/

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