Archive for May, 2022

2022: A move towards more integrated Health and Environment agendas?

Posted on: May 31st, 2022 by Tomas White

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in Global Health with the 75th World Health Assembly concluding at the weekend and the G7 Health Ministers’ meeting held on 19-20 May.

Looking at the recent Global Health and Environment fora, including COP26 in November 2021, one cannot help but notice how intertwined the climate and health agendas are becoming.

COP26 held the first ever Health Pavilion and launched the COP26 Health Programme aimed at shaping more sustainable healthcare systems within countries and incorporating health into climate actions measurements such as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) more systematically.

Earlier this year, World Health Day also highlighted the link between our health and that of our planet under the theme of “our planet, our health”.

And more recently the G7 Health Ministers mentioned the word “climate” no less than 39 times in their Communiqué.  The final statement also argued that climate actions can have valuable health co-benefits (e.g. through cleaner air, healthier diets and greater physical activity) – a concept that experts like Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have been advocating for, for over a decade.

The global community has now firmly recognised the intrinsic link between our health and that of our planet.  There is also greater recognition of the multi-faceted challenges that we are facing to ensure that our climate actions truly benefit our health and that our healthcare systems do not damage our planet further.

The narrative among global health circles seems to cement around a more holistic approach, most commonly known as “One Health” – an approach which considers the connection between people, animals, plants, and the environment, to help identify emerging health threats across these groups.

The One Health agenda seems to be gaining momentum globally.  The G7 Pact for Pandemic Readiness will see the UK, USA, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy work together alongside multilateral organisations like the World Health Organization by sharing the best of their COVID-19-inspired initiatives, including those on surveillance and rapid response.

In the UK last week, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) also signed the Public Engagement in Plant Health Accord with the Royal Horticultural Society, National Farmers Union, National Trust, Tree Council and Horticultural Trades Association.  The Accord aims to raise public awareness of plant health and biosecurity and “promotes the actions that the public can take to protect tree and plant health”.

The success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), of which health and climate are a key part, heavily relies on countries taking more integrated and collaborative approaches to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s ever more inter-connected challenges.

MHP Mischief is particularly involved in the Global Health space, and the continually evolving agendas and global health priorities are relevant to a number of our clients.  If you would like to find out more about our work, please contact Arabella Moore ([email protected]) or Julie Henri ([email protected]) or watch our creds video here.

Further reading:

The promise for women’s health in England

Posted on: May 26th, 2022 by Tomas White

2018 Public Health England (PHE) survey showed that 31% of women experience severe reproductive health problems during their lifetime, but less than half of those seek help.  These may be related to contraception, endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), periods, fertility, or a variety of other concerns which unless are investigated, go undiagnosed and untreated.  In another recent government survey, 74% thought that the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on women’s access to healthcare services.  However, now that the pandemic has seemingly come to an end here in England, the lack of funding, time, and political priority around women’s health must be addressed.

Some countries, such as Indonesia, Zambia and more recently Spain, have proposed menstrual leave for women at work.  But this is not the case in the UK, and the UK government does not consider other issues such as endometriosis, fertility and pregnancy loss or menopause as health issues which merit specific workplace guidance.  Many women here in the UK mask health issues related to their sexual and reproductive health, particularly in the workplace, despite making up 51% of the population and 47% of the workforce.  For example, women over 50 are now the fastest growing demographic in the workplace, but around 900,000 women have quit their jobs due to the menopausedespite often not officially citing this as the reason.

However, things might be beginning to change.  On 13 May the government announced that a grant fund is to be launched to support women’s reproductive health in the workplace.  This would mean women experiencing menstrual and gynaecological conditions, menopause, fertility issues, miscarriage or pregnancy loss will be supported at work by a multi-million-pound scheme to voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations.   The funding will support initiatives providing training for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are unlikely to already provide support internally by signposting to clinical services and helping them to address personal and workplace barriers to improve their wellbeing.  Applications can be submitted from May to August this year and will aim to reduce health inequalities both in the workplace and in society.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid also recently stated that he intended to sign the Menopause Workforce Pledge.  The Pledge by Wellbeing of Women, partnered with Hello! Magazine and supported by Bupa, calls on employers to sign-up and take action to ensure that people going through menopause are supported in the workplace.  Amazingly, the campaign and pledge have already received support from HRH Sophie Countess of Wessex, Ambassadors Baroness Karren Brady and Carol Vorderman, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Caroline Nokes MP and Carolyn Harris MP.

In addition, last year from March to June, the UK government launched a call for evidence to collect views on women’s health and women’s experiences of the healthcare system in England to inform the first-ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy.  In December 2021, Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England report was published which sets out the government’s vision for a new healthcare system ‘prioritising care on the basis of clinical need and not of gender’.  Nearly 100,000 people over the age of 16 in England responded to share their experiences as women; experiences of a female family member friend or partner; or their experiences as a health or care professional.  The top five issues that respondents called on the Department of Health to prioritise were gynaecological conditions (63%); fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and postnatal support (55%); menopause (48%); menstrual health (47%); and mental health (39%).

The highly anticipated Women’s Health Strategy promises to focus on women’s health throughout their lifetime instead of interventions for a single condition, often at a single life stage.  The strategy will aim to promote women’s voices; improve healthcare policies, services, research, and data; provide greater support for women’s health in the workplace; and increase information and education.

It is vitally important that women feel supported at work, in society and by the health care system, and that taboos are broken down through open conversation.  These recent initiatives by the government show that there have been numerous promises made in recent months, but this is not enough.  We must resist complacency and persist in continuing to demand action.

#ResistAndPersist

2018 Public Health England (PHE) survey showed that 31% of women experience severe reproductive health problems during their lifetime, but less than half of those seek help.  These may be related to contraception, endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), periods, fertility, or a variety of other concerns which unless are investigated, go undiagnosed and untreated.  In another recent government survey, 74% thought that the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on women’s access to healthcare services.  However, now that the pandemic has seemingly come to an end here in England, the lack of funding, time, and political priority around women’s health must be addressed.

Some countries, such as Indonesia, Zambia and more recently Spain, have proposed menstrual leave for women at work.  But this is not the case in the UK, and the UK government does not consider other issues such as endometriosis, fertility and pregnancy loss or menopause as health issues which merit specific workplace guidance.  Many women here in the UK mask health issues related to their sexual and reproductive health, particularly in the workplace, despite making up 51% of the population and 47% of the workforce.  For example, women over 50 are now the fastest growing demographic in the workplace, but around 900,000 women have quit their jobs due to the menopausedespite often not officially citing this as the reason.

However, things might be beginning to change.  On 13 May the government announced that a grant fund is to be launched to support women’s reproductive health in the workplace.  This would mean women experiencing menstrual and gynaecological conditions, menopause, fertility issues, miscarriage or pregnancy loss will be supported at work by a multi-million-pound scheme to voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations.   The funding will support initiatives providing training for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are unlikely to already provide support internally by signposting to clinical services and helping them to address personal and workplace barriers to improve their wellbeing.  Applications can be submitted from May to August this year and will aim to reduce health inequalities both in the workplace and in society.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid also recently stated that he intended to sign the Menopause Workforce Pledge.  The Pledge by Wellbeing of Women, partnered with Hello! Magazine and supported by Bupa, calls on employers to sign-up and take action to ensure that people going through menopause are supported in the workplace.  Amazingly, the campaign and pledge have already received support from HRH Sophie Countess of Wessex, Ambassadors Baroness Karren Brady and Carol Vorderman, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Caroline Nokes MP and Carolyn Harris MP.

In addition, last year from March to June, the UK government launched a call for evidence to collect views on women’s health and women’s experiences of the healthcare system in England to inform the first-ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy.  In December 2021, Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England report was published which sets out the government’s vision for a new healthcare system ‘prioritising care on the basis of clinical need and not of gender’.  Nearly 100,000 people over the age of 16 in England responded to share their experiences as women; experiences of a female family member friend or partner; or their experiences as a health or care professional.  The top five issues that respondents called on the Department of Health to prioritise were gynaecological conditions (63%); fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and postnatal support (55%); menopause (48%); menstrual health (47%); and mental health (39%).

The highly anticipated Women’s Health Strategy promises to focus on women’s health throughout their lifetime instead of interventions for a single condition, often at a single life stage.  The strategy will aim to promote women’s voices; improve healthcare policies, services, research, and data; provide greater support for women’s health in the workplace; and increase information and education.

It is vitally important that women feel supported at work, in society and by the health care system, and that taboos are broken down through open conversation.  These recent initiatives by the government show that there have been numerous promises made in recent months, but this is not enough.  We must resist complacency and persist in continuing to demand action.

#ResistAndPersist

Reputation and litigation: what the Wagatha Christie trial can teach us

Posted on: May 19th, 2022 by Tomas White

Whilst the tabloid-style content is entertaining for the casual observer, the darker side to having personal grievances played out in a public arena is currently being highlighted in the bitter and bloody Depp vs Heard trial. And with the court of public opinion still very much out in the Vardy case, there are some key principles that businesses can take from this affair.

1. It’s never only going to be about the issue in question

As Peter Andre learned to his detriment, legal teams will make best use of related issues from the past to demonstrate habitual practices or tendencies towards a certain behaviour, no matter how damaging or long forgotten they might be. Businesses and individuals involved in any litigation must get ready to respond to multiple lines of questioning and for their character or culture to be hauled under the spotlight. The Depp vs Heard trial has seen this play out in a painfully personal fashion, with every aspect of their mental health and the toxic relationship being broadcast in real-time to the world.

 

2. Keep your friends close

Wayne Rooney’s revelation that the FA reportedly asked that Rebekah Vardy “calm down” coming close on the heels of a former FA employee calling her evidence “simply untrue” in the press, shows the importance of having advocates to support your case. Credible friends who can vouch for your character in public (whether inside or outside the court) offer a valuable reputation boost.

 

3. Keep the media even closer

The court of public opinion matters almost as much as the actual litigation process. Here in the UK, court proceedings aren’t televised so those involved are reliant on the journalists in attendance to pick a side and tell their story to a captive public audience. It’s much easier to get someone on side when you know them or have taken the time to brief them with interesting content. In short, get to know the relevant media in advance of the trial, be helpful to them and keep them close throughout proceedings.

 

4. Preparation is the most important thing

Zara vs Prada had its media moment but for the individuals involved in litigation, the most important battle is in the mind. A legal fight can sometimes get ugly – the opposing sides and their legal teams have an interest in making the other’s life as hard as possible. It’s vital to be mentally prepared for this and to have rehearsed all possible lines of questioning and responses to them in advance. A calm, reasoned response will diminish the impact of even the toughest question.

 

5. The facts don’t always matter 

The media will tell the most attention grabbing and salacious story almost irrespective of the facts and, as we have seen with Depp Vs Heard, many of the technical and detailed facts of the case almost don’t matter. This is especially true of the Judge’s verdict, as there is not always a clear winner in these cases. You may feel you won on many counts, but one impactful finding against you can dramatically shift how the decision is portrayed in the media and throughout the court of public opinion.

 

While most litigation won’t be front page news for days on end, the long-term reputational impact of legal proceedings can have serious repercussions for the individuals involved, and even call into question a business’s licence to operate. Our specialist litigation communications team provide strategic support and counsel when legal disputes have the potential to impact reputation, working to minimise exposure, control the narrative and protect your reputation. To find out more contact our Head of Crisis and Risk, Barnaby Fry at [email protected] / +44 (0)7768 475 452.

30 To Watch Young Journalist Awards 2022

Posted on: May 16th, 2022 by Tomas White

Keith Gladdis, Senior Director, Media

Congratulations to all our MHP Mischief #30toWatch Young Journalist Awards winners.

This year’s awards have been bigger than ever. We’ve had a record 450 entries from journalists across Britain and around the world. But it’s not just the number of entries that makes the eleventh 30 To Watch Awards so exciting, it’s the quality.

We’ve seen world exclusives, agenda-setting interviews, fascinating features and hard-hitting investigations. We’ve seen innovation in the kind of stories being told and how they are being told, with advances in data journalism and ever more exciting ways of embracing social media.

It’s fair to say our panel of judges have agonised over picking our winners.

Congratulations again to our 30 winners. Now we’re looking forward to announcing our 30 Gold winners at our MHP Mischief 30ToWatch award ceremony on May 25th.

This year’s 30 To Watch

News Category

  • GOLD WINNER: Nathan Lee, ITV News
  • Nada Bashir, CNN International
  • Molly Clayton, Mail on Sunday
  • Estel Farell-Roig, BristolLive
  • Niamh Hughes, BBC News
  • Emma Yeomans, The Times

 

Culture, Entertainment, Lifestyle Category

  • GOLD WINNER: Maddy Mussen, JOE
  • Laoise Gallagher, KentOnline
  • Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times
  • Nikki Onafuye – BBC Three /The Nikki Diaries

International Affairs Category

  • GOLD WINNER: Charlie Mitchell – The Times
  • Jamie Johnson – The Telegraph
  • Jessie Williams  – Freelance

 

Financial & Consumer Affairs Category

  • GOLD WINNER: Imogen Tew – The Times/ Sunday Times
  • Olivia Konotey Ahulu – Bloomberg
  • Emily White – Money Saving Expert

 

Health Category

  • GOLD WINNER: Rosa Furneaux – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
  • Derek Healey – The Courier
  • Elisabeth Mahase – British Medical Journal

 

Politics Category

  • GOLD WINNER: Tony Diver, The Daily Telegraph
  • Harriet Line, Daily Mail
  • Ione Wells, BBC News

 

City & Business Category

  • GOLD WINNER: Simon Foy – The Telegraph
  • Luke Barr – Mail on Sunday
  • Louisa Clarence-Smith – The Times

 

Best Social / Content Activation Category

  • Nabihah Parkar, Vice News

 

Best Producer

  • Rachel Bradley – ITV News

 

Best Environmental Reporting

  • Steph Spyro – The Daily Express

 

Best Campaign / Investigation

  • Conor Matchett, The Scotsman

 

The Depolarisation Award

  • Gabriel Gavin – Freelance

 

The Judges

 

MHP Mischief’s 30 To Watch Awards are judged by leading journalists from across the industry – many of whom are former #30ToWatch winners.

 

Our 2022 judging panel is chaired by Richard Sambrook, Former Director of News at the BBC and now Professor of Journalism at Cardiff University School of Journalism, and includes:

  • Anne Alexander – Senior Political Producer, Good Morning Britain
  • Pete Clifton – Editor-in-Chief, Press Association
  • Sonia Sodha – Chief Leader Writer, The Observer
  • Harry Cole – Political Editor, The Sun
  • John Stevens – Deputy Political Editor, Daily Mail
  • Kat Lay – Health Editor, The Times
  • Oliver Shah – Associate Editor, The Sunday Times
  • Peter Campbell – Global Motor Industry Correspondent, Financial Times
  • Ed Cumming – Senior Feature Writer, The Telegraph
  • Scott Bryan – Broadcaster and Journalist
  • Katie Strick – Features Writer, London Evening Standard
  • Robert Guest – Foreign Editor, The Economist
  • Lauren Davidson – Editor, Telegraph.co.uk
  • James Ball – Global Editor, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
  • Isabella Silvers – Integrated Associate Editor, Hearst
  • Natalie Kenway – Global Head of ESG Insight, ESG Clarity
  • Sam Taylor – Managing Editor, BBC News

Get in touch 

 

If you have any questions about MHP Mischief’s 30 To Watch Young Journalist Awards please email [email protected].

On the frontline – in conversation with the BBC’s Kyiv correspondent

Posted on: May 16th, 2022 by Tomas White

Rugby taught me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” says James Waterhouse, a former professional sportsman who switched careers into journalism a decade ago and is now the BBC’s Kyiv correspondent.

Waterhouse is speaking to MHP Mischief director Alan Tovey about what he has seen since arriving in Ukraine’s capital in January.

 

The interview – part of MHP Mischief’s Media Network which offers insight into journalism – starts with sirens droning in the background warning of a Russian attack.

Waterhouse holds up the gas mask he was handed when he checked into the hotel the BBC is using as a base. “Not your normal room service,” he quips.

He arrived in the country as tensions with Russia grew. His first lesson was that locals had got used to having a belligerent neighbour in Russia, something which had faded from the West’s memory.

“Russia annexed Crimea eight years ago,” he says. “We can’t imagine that. It’s like someone taking over Norfolk.”

After months of tensions ratcheting up, Russia’s deployment of troops on February 24 sent Waterhouse into a frenetic schedule – and a strange mindset needed to deal with life on the frontline.

“We were constantly broadcasting, every 10 minutes,” he says. “The job got simple. Before the invasion it was geopolitical news, then it was reporting on life on the ground.”

Constant pressure changed his way of comprehension, he says: “I stopped thinking more than an hour into the future for the first few weeks.”

He developed an unusual way of coping with the sounds of war as the situation normalised: listening to hardcore dance music at high volumes on his earphones.

“Ironically, I got into heavy bass,” he says, with Ibiza Club Classics a particular favourite.

Waterhouse has been surprised at the reception Western journalists have had, with locals coming up to him to share often heart-rending stories.

“I’ve been to towns the Russians have just flattened,” he says. “There’s nothing, just craters. It’s like a film set.”

 

As the conflicts bogs down and global interest wanes, Waterhouse says the challenge is no longer just about reporting events but “bearing witness, and cutting through the jargon and war of words”.

He adds: “We’ve got to convey emotion and put Ukrainians at the heart of story. What we do today – through trust with our audience – will influence decisions in the future. What we report might make a world leader think twice in the future.”

For Waterhouse, who modestly adds he “wasn’t that great a rugby player”, that means “staying curious, and keeping people interested” in the stories he covers – no matter how uncomfortable they might be.

 

For the full interview, click below:

 

 

Levelling Up Mental Health

Posted on: May 16th, 2022 by Tomas White

We have seen the broadening of mental health strategies across Government in recent years. Mental health is now gaining in prominence within key Government policy thinking and NHS planning. Greater media commentary and public discussion of emotional welfare has been highlighted within this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, 9-15 May.

Mental health has become an integral part of Government’s strategic thinking, intersecting other non-health priorities. The announcement of the Government’s Levelling up agenda this year demonstrated the breadth of coverage, from housing to transport for instance. Specifically for health, it aims to reduce disparities and ensure that no matter where you live, you can access appropriate healthcare. However, the white paper says very little about mental health directly. Whilst one of the 12 ‘missions’ the document hopes to achieve by 2030 is an improvement in ‘wellbeing’ across every area in the UK, it provides no detail about the actions to be taken in addressing this. Crucially, little recognition was given to the influence of poverty and wealth inequality, with no policy pledges to improve social security.

Nonetheless, we know that achieving good mental health is directly linked to Government decisions. Decisions about the economy, education, the built environment and justice all have a substantial impact.

This drive to reduce variation and health disparity between local areas has been seen within recent policy strategies to improve health outcomes across England. The 2019 NHS Long Term Plan, which set out key commitments to tackle health inequalities, emphasised the inclusion and enabling of equal access to services for a wide range of health conditions. The commitment to extend access to mental health support for more children, young people and young adults up to age 25 is promising, especially for people with most serious and long-term conditions. However, the plan must invest in public health, social care, early years and youth services, since it is limited by its applicability to only the NHS.

Good mental health support relies on effective social care working in an equal partnership with the NHS in every local area in England. To improve mental health services alongside cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory and maternity, NHS England is driving the Core20PLUS5 initiative to level up healthcare for the poorest 20 per cent of the population. A consultation was opened in April to aid the delivery of the new cross-Government 10-year plan for mental health and wellbeing in England. It has been framed within its wider strategy to reduce health inequalities and level up services across the country.

March 2021 marked the initiation of the Mental Health Recovery Plan, backed by £500 million. This is part of the wider Government agenda to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic, ensuring patient access to care by accelerating the expansion of community mental health services. Its aim is to promote cohesion between primary and secondary care, including specialist mental health staff embedded in primary care, offering greater access to psychological therapies as well as disability diagnostics for example. £3 million was set to support the Mental Health Act Reform to increase capacity in the workforce and revise methods used to test the quality of care and provide appropriate advocacy. The Queen’s Speech last week referenced measures that will be introduced to facilitate changes to the mental health agenda of the nation. This builds on the White Paper, published in January, which was set to reform the Mental Health Act from 1983. The reworking of the Mental Health Act is an opportunity to input the significant research and more common understanding of mental health conditions, which has drastically changed over the last 40 years.

Whilst these moves to amend previous mental health policies and structures over recent decades shows the progress in acceptance and understanding of the breadth of mental health conditions, it still remains to be seen if a stretched NHS workforce is able to follow through the implementation of reforms. Public health funding to local councils having been cut by 24 per cent since 2013, facing below-inflation settlements for the coming three years, which will hinder actions taken at the scale necessary to increase life expectancy or reduce health inequalities. Only 61 per cent of urgent cases were treated within the one week target, and just 67 per cent of routine cases were treated within the four week target between April 2021 to March 2022. These are the lowest annual percentages since records began in 2016/17.

The patient pathway is impeded, diagnostics and specialist treatment have been cut across many conditions. But the question that still stands is, will the NHS have the ability to deliver on these ambitions in a capacity and resource constrained environment?

Climate Change: Turning a slow-motion global crisis into a news story

Posted on: May 12th, 2022 by Tomas White

COP26 has put climate change and wider environmental issues at the centre of the UK news agenda.

Keith Gladdis from Engine MHP’s Strategic Media team spoke with Ben Spencer, the Science Editor of the Sunday Times about how clients should navigate the issue.

 

Here are the six key takeaways:

 

Climate change isn’t about emissions, it’s about how it affects people.

Ben says: “Climate change is a very slow news story; it’s happening in slow motion and nothing really changes. That makes it very hard to present as a crisis.

“If I write a story about climate change it’s rarely about an increase in emissions it’s going to be about what it means for people. How we heat our homes, the kind of cars we drive the holidays we take or the food we eat. That’s what people want to read.

To prove the point the best performing story on the Sunday Times website on Sunday 18 April was one Ben penned about the future of gas-fired boilers

 

COP26 isn’t really the story

“This is undoubtedly a big year for climate change, it’s been described as make or break because we really need to see emissions dropping soon. However, COP26 is really a geopolitical story, a diplomatic story about persuading countries to come on board. It’s frankly not the most interesting of events, several thousand diplomats, activists and journalists talking about legal frameworks.

“I was talking to a former UN diplomat last week who said it’s less about there being a big moment at COP26, it’s more about ratcheting up the action, several big countries making pledges. It’s about the totality of what can be achieved rather than in previous summits where it’s been about whether a big agreement can be reached or not.”

 

Journalists are looking for substance.

“There’s a lot of talk about greenwashing and I think some claims companies make are laughable. If a company makes a bold statement on its environmental credentials that’s fine, but I want to know how they’re going to achieve that ambition and how quickly can it be done. There is a lot of scrutiny of these statements.

“It can be very positive if companies like Shell or Exxon Mobil seriously invest in renewables, that’s transformative but we will certainly scrutinise it.”

 

The issue of plastics will return

“The thing about climate change is that it’s very hard for people to actually grasp what it is. It is invisible, no-one can see it. It demands a leap of faith. That’s why an issue such as plastics will make a comeback.

“Plastics in the ocean are tangible, you can see the impact it has on nature.”

 

The political consensus is fragile

“The road to Net Zero have been relatively easy so far. We’ve built wind farms which most people wanted, and closed coal fired power stations which we wanted to do anyway. It’s when things start to affect the consumer that the political unity could fracture.

“It’s not long since Boris Johnson was considered a climate sceptic and David Cameron ordered his team to get rid of all the ‘green crap’. There’s huge potential for political friction, potential for a culture war.”

 

The Sunday Times is looking for ‘solutions based’ stories.

Ben said: “This year has been difficult for so many people and readers are looking for positivity. That’s why we’ve looking to deliver positive, solutions-based journalism.

“Readers know there’s a climate crisis and they want to know what can be done about it. We are looking at the great issues in our society and how science is going to solve them. Even when we are writing a critical story, we are looking for the constructive element.”

New consultancy Accord launches, uniting scientists and reputation experts to help leaders navigate growing divides

Posted on: May 11th, 2022 by Tomas White

Accord, launched today, is a specialist consultancy that brings together some of the world’s leading names in conflict resolution, persuasion science, employee engagement and reputation management. It will help leaders and organisations anticipate, manage and resolve the threat of polarization to their business.

​Discord and polarization are becoming the hallmarks of our age. From business to politics, as societies become more divided across a growing range of social issues, leaders are finding themselves dealing with rising levels of activism from employees, consumers, shareholders and influencers.

Headquartered in San Francisco and London, Accord helps leaders to navigate divisive scenarios, to improve business performance, support innovation and strengthen stakeholder relationships. Its clients include leading brands from the healthcare, technology and not-for-profit sectors.

Accord is led by Alison Goldsworthy, co-author of the acclaimed book “Poles Apart” and adviser to Stanford’s Conflict and Polarization Lab. Joining Accord’s leadership team is Royal Society nominated persuasion scientist and best-selling author Steve Martin, and Nick Barron from reputation management and communications firm MHP Mischief.

Accord’s advisory board is comprised of experts in depolarisation drawn from academia, business and international relations on both sides of the Atlantic. They include:

  • Sharath Jeevan OBE, Founder of Intrinsic Labs
  • Saumitra Jha, Associate Professor of Political Economy, Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Salma Mousa, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University
  • Ben Kohlmann, CEO, Former Chief of Naval operations Rapid Innovation Cell, Presidential Leadership Fellow
  • Alex Chesterfield, behavioural insights expert, financial services, Poles Apart co-author
  • Laura Osborne, MD, Corporate Affairs at a UK campaigning business group, Poles Apart co-author

Accord President, Ali Goldsworthy, explains:

“The world is becoming increasingly tribal, with our divides spreading from politics to the workplace and wider society. Difference can be harnessed for good, driving innovation and progress and improving scrutiny. But left unchecked, our tribalism can cause organisations to fray. Employees can feel ignored by management. Customers can be divided along political lines. And the media can reinforce and deepen these cracks. We have put together an expert, international team, to support leaders to chart a course and create solutions based on evidence and learning.”

Nick Barron, Deputy CEO of MHP Mischief and member of the Accord leadership team added:

“In The Networked Age, polarisation spreads rapidly, and in unexpected ways. This is increasingly a board-level issue. The right solutions require an interdisciplinary approach, which is why we came together to create something completely new and unique. We have already begun working with leaders from a wide range of industries, including tech, entertainment, education, health and the charity sector.”

Steve Martin, CEO of INFLUENCE AT WORK UK, Faculty Director at Columbia Business School and Accord leadership team member, said:

“Organisations are not only asked what they do, but who they are and what they stand for. The answer can polarize, as can silence. Leaders need to anticipate the perceptions and behaviours of employees, customers and shareholders and meet any discord with confidence.”

 

Click here to visit the Accord website.

How MHP Mischief Deliver Return on Influence with Every Campaign

Posted on: May 11th, 2022 by Tomas White

 

In the era of the Attention Rebellion, there is perhaps no place where our time is more contested than in the world of influencer marketing. In these hectic, ever changing social media spaces, brands are vying for a few seconds of time with their intended audiences.

But it’s hard to stand out, cut-through and get noticed.

There are 1.9bn daily active Instagram users in the world, TikTok is the world’s most downloaded app, the world watches 1bn hours of YouTube videos per day and – according to our own research – 71% of British people spend between one and five hours a day on social media platforms where influencers post content.

That’s where MHP Mischief steps in with solutions. Find out more about how we deliver return on influence with every campaign – click below to download.

 

MHP-Mischief-Influencer-Marketing

Political Insider: Local Elections

Posted on: May 9th, 2022 by Tomas White

A historic result in Northern Ireland

For the first time in Northern Ireland’s history, the largest party at Stormont is a nationalist and republican one. The turbulence being felt in the aftermath of Sinn Fein’s victory will continue for weeks and months to come; it seems unlikely that the DUP, the second largest party, will enter into the power-sharing Executive anytime soon.

Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, has said that his party’s re-entry into the Executive is contingent on changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol. While there are noises emerging from Government about pushing for changes to the arrangement, these are unlikely to happen immediately, meaning Northern Ireland will be without devolved government for some months.

Some unionists are clinging on to the fact that there are more unionist than nationalist MLAs as a crumb of comfort, yet the historic significance of this event cannot be downplayed. If Sinn Fein also becomes a party of government in the Republic of Ireland, expect the drumbeat for a referendum on Irish unity to grow even louder.

The key constituency then becomes those who voted for the constitutionally agnostic Alliance Party – they returned their best ever number of MLAs at this election, suggesting Northern Ireland has entered an era of three-party politics.

Groundhog Day in Scotland

The immovable electoral force that is the SNP continues to grind on in Scotland. The party’s 11th election win in a row has heralded predictable calls for another referendum on Scottish independence, with the nationalist administration in Edinburgh set to start rolling out its revised prospectus in the months ahead.

However, the timing of that referendum remains up in the air – Nicola Sturgeon’s public assertion that it can take place by the end of next year is met in private with eyerolling by even some of her own loyal lieutenants.

On the unionist side of the fence, Labour will be buoyed that they have returned to second place and won back seats in their former Glasgow and West of Scotland heartlands. For the Scottish Conservatives, this election was final, firm confirmation that the Ruth Davidson era has been consigned to history – the loss of 63 councillors has only increased the pressure on Douglas Ross, who blamed Partygate for the reversals.

With the figures showing that Scotland remains almost evenly split on independence, with the unionists still only slightly ahead, the national question will continue to be the defining issue in Scottish politics.

Red flag continues to fly in Wales

In Wales, Labour continues to be the dominant political force, gaining a council and winning 66 more seats. Mark Drakeford will no doubt be pleased that his party won seats across the country, with Wales continuing to be Labour’s sturdiest electoral redoubt across the UK.

While Plaid Cymru will be pleased to have won three more councils, it is clear that they still have a long way to travel to shift the focus of Welsh politics onto the constitution in a similar way to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In keeping with the national trend, the Conservatives had in their own words a “disastrous” election, losing control of Monmouthshire, meaning no Welsh councils are controlled by the party.