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Political Insider – Friday 28 June 2019

Political Insider – Friday 28 June 2019

Tory leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are at loggerheads over how the UK should leave the EU. Both contenders claim they can renegotiate a Brexit deal that the EU says is closed. Mr Johnson said the UK must leave on 31 October “deal or no deal” but Mr Hunt called this a “fake deadline” that could trigger a general election if Parliament rejects a no-deal Brexit.

The winner of the contest will take over from Theresa May on 24 July, who has refused to promise unconditional support for her successor’s Brexit plan. Asked this week if she would back whichever Brexit outcome the next prime minister achieves, including a no-deal Brexit, she said that amounted to agreeing to “whatever happens in future”.

Both candidates in the Conservative leadership battle have set out their opposition to a second independence referendum at a digital hustings held this week. Boris Johnson has claimed Brexit “done right” could “cement and intensify” the union between the UK nations. Jeremy Hunt said his party had been complacent about the union and vowed never to allow the break up the UK.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has switched her support to Jeremy Hunt in the race to become PM. The foreign secretary is the third candidate to have been endorsed by Ms Davidson, who has previously supported Sajid Javid and Michael Gove. Ms Davidson tweeted that Mr Hunt has “always put the Union first” and would therefore get her vote.

At Holyrood this week, the Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, has told MSPs he is “cautiously optimistic” the BiFab fabrication yard in Fife will secure vital contracts.  With BiFab’s yards in Methil and Burntisland currently mothballed, unions are campaigning to secure work on a £2bn offshore wind farm off Fife. It is feared the contract could go to Indonesia. Giving evidence to Holyrood’s economy and energy committee, Derek Mackay said the Scottish government was now exploring legal routes that would compel companies to invest in Scotland.

And finally … Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott, one of the longest serving at Holyrood and a regular tour guide/fantastic dinner host for the annual visit to Holyrood as part of our Perceptive Directors’ is to quit Holyrood. The former Scottish Lib Dem leader, who was elected in the first Scottish Parliament election in 1999, will step down as the MSP for Shetland in July to take up a new job with Scottish Rugby. Everyone here at Perceptive wishes him the very best of luck!If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk

Political Insider – Friday 5 July 2019

Political Insider – Friday 5 July 2019

The Queen was at Holyrood last weekend to address MSPs as part of celebrations to mark 20 years of the Scottish Parliament. Her Majesty said that in the last two decades it has been a pleasure to watch the Scottish Parliament “grow and prosper”.

Writing in The Scotsman this week, Perceptive’s political expert, Devin Scobie explained that since 1999, the country has had six First Ministers – including Jim Wallace, who covered twice for Donald Dewar whilst he was incapacitated. Some 330 people have sat as MSPs, and 16 or 17 have been there since the very start. A few lasted barely a few weeks; Labour’s Lesley Brennan was a North-east list MSP for just ten weeks in early 2016.

People are often still quick to criticise Holyrood but is has achieved much in 20 years. Scotland has had genuine economic growth over the years and the highest level of employment in the UK. Free personal care for our elderly and zero tuition fees are looked upon enviously by English MPs.

Perhaps the last words on Holyrood should go to Her Majesty herself, who concluded on Saturday that for most of this period this striking chamber has provided “a place to talk”. But of-course it must also be a place to listen – a place to hear views that inevitably may differ quite considerably, one from another – and a place to honour those views. Roll on July 2039!

Theresa May was in Scotland yesterday on her final visit as PM. She announced a review of UK government departments to make sure they work in the best interests of devolution, but Nicola Sturgeon predictably said that the review was “too little, too late” and would do nothing to prevent Scottish independence. In her speech, Mrs May told the two candidates vying to replace her as Prime Minister (in Scotland tonight for a members’ only hustings) that they must make strengthening the Union one of their top priorities. Mrs May also urged her successor to “think creatively” about how to ensure the UK stays together.

The final inquiry report of the Economy, Energy and Fair Work committee into the Construction Industry and the Scottish Economy was published this week. Several Perceptive clients including Construction Scotland and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) submitted written evidence and three were invited to give oral evidence which formed a substantive part of the final report. The report concluded “A thriving construction sector is vital to our built environment and economy … The Scottish Government must continue to work together with industry to ensure that improvement is made in these key areas. Only with leadership, collaboration and cultural change, will the construction sector be able to realise its full potential contribution to Scotland’s economy.”

A link to the full report is available here: https://sp-bpr-en-prod-cdnep.azureedge.net/published/EEFW/2019/7/2/Under-Construction–Building-the-future-of-the-sector-in-Scotland/EJFWS052019R08.pdf

And finally … we were delighted to provide Parliamentary training this week with industry body, Homes for Scotland which recently unveiled its new branding, putting its aim of delivering more homes for Scotland front and centre. There is much backlash in public opinion about the development of new homes but the fact remains that Scotland remains in the grip of a desperate housing shortage.

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk

POLITICAL INSIDER – FRIDAY 21 JUNE 2019

POLITICAL INSIDER – FRIDAY 21 JUNE 2019

After nine days and three rounds, it’s almost decision time.

Conservative MPs have chosen the two men who will contest the final stage of the party’s leadership race next week: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.

Boris Johnson said he was “honoured” to get the backing of 160 MPs in the final ballot of the party’s MPs yesterday evening – more than half of the total. Jeremy Hunt got 77 votes – two more votes than the next candidate Michael Gove.

Mr Johnson is almost certain to be the number one choice across the 160,000 or so Conservative members who will elect the next Tory leader – and Prime Minister – in a postal ballot, starting next week.

Unsurprisingly, Boris Johnson as Prime Minister isn’t being well received across some parts of the political world – the politician who has come back from the political brink faced some choice words from SNP’s Ian Blackford during Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday. The SNP’s leader at Westminster branded Boris Johnson a “racist” who is unfit to lead the country. He refused to withdraw his allegation of racism despite being urged to do so by Speaker John Bercow.

Closer to home and at Holyrood this week, MSPs backed plans to give councils the power to levy a tax on workplace car parking spaces. The measure could see councils charge businesses an annual fee for every parking space they provide for workers. Opposition parties said the move was a “regressive tax on workers”, but the rural economy committee ultimately backed it by a vote of six to five. The powers have been added into the Transport (Scotland) Bill, which will still have to be signed off in a vote of all MSPs.

The latest statistics from the UK House Price Index (HPI) show that the average price of a property in Scotland in April 2019 was £150,825 – an increase of 1.6 per cent on April in the previous year. Comparing with the previous month, house prices in Scotland rose by 0.7 per cent between March 2019 and April 2019.    

And finally … One of the most UK’s most experienced and skilled communicators, Dominic Fry addressed our Perceptive Directors’ Club in Glasgow last night.  With experience as Communications Director at the Channel Tunnel, ScottishPower and Sainsbury’s, Dominic has recently left Marks & Spencer after a decade as Director of Corporate Communications, Investor & Government Relations.   

Dominic shared some compelling, honest and humorous examples on managing a corporate reputation that is so engrained in the British psyche.  From managing supermodels at London Fashion week to advising on the reputational implications of executive remuneration, Dominic emphasised the importance of understanding and listening to your audience so understanding the mood of public opinion, the responsibility to hold a mirror to the organisation and exec team, especially when anticipating reputational implications and when it goes wrong, not being afraid to take responsibility and this could be done with self-deprecating humour. And Percy Pig who now has over 200,000 followers on Facebook!If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk

Political Insider – Friday 24 May 2019

Political Insider – Friday 24 May 2019

Brexit is back on the agenda this week in politics as the Prime Minister has been facing calls to resign amid a backlash against her current Brexit plan from Conservative MPs. Her Commons leader Andrea Leadsome resigned on Wednesday night, becoming (unbelievably) the 36th minister to resign under Mrs May’s premiership.

Several cabinet ministers have strongly suggested that she just cannot stay, with one saying it is “the end of the line”. Theresa May has pledged to set a timetable for a new leader to take over after MPs vote on the plan in the week beginning 3 June. However, some Tory MPs are again seeking to change party rules, so they can vote to oust her sooner.  Some in the Perceptive office think she will be gone as soon as next week.  Watch this space…

The polls opened yesterday for the five-yearly European Elections, in what one senior politician termed ‘the strangest election ever’.

The UK results will not be known until early on Monday as all EU countries vote around but not exactly at the same time, so no country’s early results can be revealed. France doesn’t vote until Sunday, for example.   The feeling in the UK is that Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will win most seats with Labour and the Conservatives (especially) being punished by the electorate. The Lib Dems are expecting to win 9/10 seats (up from just the one they retained in 2014).

Closer to home and six Scotland-wide MEPs will be elected, with only three incumbents standing for re-election. The Lib Dems are optimistic about getting feisty Aberdeen lawyer Sheila Ritchie elected. The Conservatives are nervous about losing their one Scottish seat to the Brexit Party. Ex MSP and French citizen Christian Allard is likely to be elected for the SNP.  And the Greens, as always, are hopeful of getting former Co-convener Maggie Chapman elected but will probably fall short again.

In Holyrood and the Scottish Government has published the New Housing and Future Construction Skills Short Life Working Group’s report. The group made 40 recommendations to the Scottish Government to address housing construction skills gaps, including investment in apprenticeships, upskilling current workers and encouraging more people to work in the sector.

report on stakeholder views on challenges for housing up to 2040 has also been published. It calls for improvements to existing housing stock, more recognition of the challenges facing rural areas and greater community involvement in planning decisions.

Speaking at last week’s Homes for Scotland Awards event, Aileen Campbell MSP affirmed the Scottish Government was “working collaboratively” with skills bodies and local authorities to improve the workforce. She added that this would lead to a “dynamic” skills base which would be equipped for future challenges.

Female council workers affected by the equal pay dispute at Glasgow City Council are to receive equal pay offer letters in the coming days. The long-running dispute centred on women who were paid up to £3 an hour less than male colleagues, despite being in the same pay grade. The women affected will receive an average of £35,000 each under a settlement scheme announced in January. The council said “individual offers” would be made to “thousands” of women.

And finally… A radical feminist invited to speak to MSPs at Holyrood has defended her controversial views on transgender rights. Meghan Murphy was invited to the Scottish Parliament by SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, both women have voiced concerns that new gender identity laws in Scotland could infringe women’s rights. Her trip to Scotland comes as the Scottish government plans reforms to the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to “self-declare” their legally recognised gender.

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk    

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 17 May 2019

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 17 May 2019

As another busy week draws to a close, a rare chink in the SNP armour appeared as Joanna Cherry, a senior SNP MP has hit out at party “infighting” after claims of “back-stabbing” and “politically motivated smears”. 

The current row stems from complaints from several former members of staff. One former caseworker complained of bullying by the Edinburgh South West MP and her office manager. Another former employee said that “almost all her staff” had written letters of complaint to Commons authorities over their treatment.

Ms Cherry, of course, rejects these accusations, describing them as “lies” and “spurious”, saying that “I am not and never have been a bully”.

Ruth Davidson has returned from maternity leave and has urged Scots to “move on” from constitutional debates as she launched the Scottish Conservative campaign for the European elections. The Tories had hoped to avoid going to the polls on 23 May but have conceded they will take place with the Brexit deadlock at Westminster still unbroken. The party has not produced a manifesto but held a campaign launch event at a distillery near Stirling.   Current polls suggest they may struggle to retain their one Scottish seat.

Theresa May has promised to set a timetable for the election of her successor after the next Brexit vote in the first week of June. The agreement follows a meeting between the Prime Minister and senior Tory MPs who are demanding a date for her departure from Downing Street. In other Westminster news, Boris Johnson is the only MP who has said he will run for leader once Mrs May resigns. Dominic Raab and Michael Gove are emerging as favourites.

Glasgow and Edinburgh are going head-to-head to try to become the UK’s first “net zero” city. Both cities have now unveiled ambitious plans to cut greenhouse emissions to a neutral level. Glasgow wants to reach the target “well before” 2045, while Edinburgh has set its target to 2030. Both bids exceed the Scotland-wide 2045 ambition announced by the Scottish government earlier this month.

Perceptive client Wavegarden Scotland hosted neighbouring MP Hannah Bardell (SNP) and MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton (LD) on a site tour and progress update.   Both are keen surfers and have been promised early ‘test’ opportunities when the site is up and running.

And finally… good luck to all the finalists in the Homes for Scotland Awards today.  Client Mactaggart & Mickel has been shortlisted for Medium Private Development of the Year and for Company Innovation and Best Practice as a result of its pioneering Employer of Choice initiative.  Perceptive is also finalist in the Best Supporting Organisation category.

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk    

Digital & Social Media Manager

Digital & Social Media Manager

Permanent, full time Digital & Social Media Manager

Do you thrive on driving results online? Are you on top of the latest social media trends?

We’re looking for an enthusiastic, motivated and experienced digital and social media manager to join our growing and multi-award winning team.

This role would ideally suit someone with digital and social media expertise, skills and experience. Our ideal person would also have experience of and a desire to be actively involved in driving client results through effective digital and social media campaigns.  An ability to deliver results in a fast paced environment with a can-do attitude is key.

Our shared values are focusing on results, being straightforward, trustworthy, caring for clients and colleagues with a great energy and attention to detail.

The role
As a Digital & Social Media Manager you will be responsible for the delivery of several client campaigns from the development of the digital and social media strategy to implementation for our clients in construction, health, biotechnology and technology.  Your activities will include:

  • Working with the Perceptive team to develop and implement successful communications strategies for our clients that deliver results
  • Developing and implementing organic and paid for multi-channel campaigns that have delivered proven results including across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram
  • Developing and executing a full digital marketing strategy and developing, implementing, tracking and optimizing SEO focused digital marketing campaigns across all digital channels
  • Identifying, generating and delivering compelling content & materials to engage target audiences and drive desired results
  • Tracking current news, trends and memes  to identify content source streams
  • Creating and designing images/graphics and video content for marketing campaigns
  • Planning, scheduling and overseeing social media activity to drive desired results
  • Connecting with social media influencers to build productive relationships
  • Coaching others on the effective use of social media
  • Using website analytics tools (e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook insights, LinkedIn Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Mention) to monitor, report and make recommendations
  • Presenting and explaining detailed social reporting to clients
  • Setting up and optimising Google AdWords’ campaigns
  • Identifying potential new business opportunities
  • Attending networking events on behalf of Perceptive Communicators, including external and internal events e.g. Perceptive Communicators and Perceptive Directors Clubs
  • Contributing to new business activities e.g. tenders

Essential skills

  • At least 3 years’ digital and social media experience
  • Proven track record of implementing successful digital and social media campaigns across main social media channels
  • Expertise in using content management systems to deliver and update websites effectively and efficiently
  • Experience of using tools like InDesign and Canvas
  • Proven track record of developing and delivering high quality effective written, image and video content for online and social media channels that deliver desired results
  • An ability to deliver agreed goals and work to tight deadlines to ensure clients’ targets and expectations are met
  • Good project management and time management skills
  • Strong writing and creative skills, so able to create compelling content from complex information
  • Proactive and proven ability to thrive in a fast paced environment
  • Organised work processes and project management with ability to prioritise tasks and manage time effectively
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Flexible can do attitude and a willingness to learn
  • Ability to work on own and as part of a team
  • Driving licence and access to a car for work

Our values are:

  • Focussed on results
  • Trusted experts
  • Straightforward and reliable
  • Great energy and team spirit which extends to our clients

If you think you fit the bill, do get in touch.

Work experience
Candidates will at have least three years’ work experience in a digital and social media communications role.  Experience of working in an agency and delivering successful results on behalf of clients is desired but not essential. 

Why join us?

Perceptive Communicators is a multi-award winning communications consultancy, established in 2006 and on a very strong growth path which benefits all employees. We work on exciting projects in construction, health, biotechnology and technology which help our clients achieve their goals.

We offer flexible working hours and up to two days a week working from home. Our team enjoy excellent holidays and benefits, including private healthcare, discounted flights and hotels, free Amazon Prime, Starbucks coffees and cinema tickets.

In addition to 33 days’ holiday, we give all of our employees an extra day’s holiday to have their birthday off.  We also encourage our employees to give back through the company donating a day of their time to our jointly agreed charities.  This year we have supported Action for Children and the Simon Community. 

Our core values are focus on results, straightforward, trustworthy, care and being reliable with a great energy and team spirit for colleagues and clients. If you fancy being a key lynchpin and working with this fast-paced team, please get in touch.

Please apply by sharing your CV, current salary, salary expectations and notice period. 

To apply
If you are interested in this opportunity, please send a CV and covering letter to info@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk detailing why you would be good for this role, with details of your current salary and salary expectations.

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 10 May 2019

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 10 May 2019

In Holyrood this week, Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced more detailed plans on their proposed Deposit Return Scheme. The Deposit Return Scheme will include aluminium and steel cans as well as drinks containers made of glass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic with a 20p deposit as part of plans to combat climate change. 

The scheme is based on what Ms Cunningham termed successful international equivalents and will be widely accessible, with all shops which sell drinks offering deposit refunds to customers. The Deposit Return Scheme Implementation Advisory Group is providing industry input and guidance on the scheme’s interaction with consumers, producers, retailers and the hospitality industry, which will be key to its success. More details can be found here:https://news.gov.scot/news/deposit-return-scheme

At Westminster, further pressure is being piled onto the PM and her position, Theresa May met Sir Graham Brady this week, amid calls for her to set a firm resignation date. No 10 insisted the meeting was routine, but pressure is mounting on the PM, with local Tory associations confirming they will hold a vote of confidence in her leadership on 15 June.

The Scottish government is likely to postpone plans for its budget to be assigned a share of VAT revenues, the finance secretary has indicated. Half of the VAT receipts raised in Scotland had been due to be assigned to the Scottish government’s budget from next year.

However, it has been difficult to calculate what the figure should be. Derek Mackay said there was a danger this could short-change his budget by millions of pounds.

Scrapping the current benefits system and replacing it with a basic income could eradicate destitution, according to a new report. The report supporting the idea of a universal basic income has been compiled by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). The RSA charity wants to see every adult in Scotland given a basic annual income of £2,400, rising to £4,800. Children would be paid £1,500.

The Scottish government supports proposed trials of the system by councils in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife and North Ayrshire.

And finally… Wavegarden Scotland, a client of Perceptive, held a public consultation at Ratho Library on Wednesday of this week. The purpose of the consultation was to update residents on the accommodation design proposals at what will be Scotland’s first artificial surf pack, located at the old Craigpark Quarry in Ratho. Over 150 residents engaged with the Wavegarden Scotland team. Feedback was very encouraging towards Scotland’s first purpose-built surfing lake and newest leisure destination.

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk    

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 3 May 2019

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 3 May 2019

Nicola Sturgeon has hit back at Theresa May after the Prime Minister said that the SNP had to “get on with the day job” during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday. Addressing the House of Commons, the PM said: “Under the SNP and government in Scotland, what we are seeing is public services getting worse because the SNP are focussing on holding another independence referendum.”

The First Minister accused Theresa May of a “complete lack of self-awareness” and said it was the Tory leader who was struggling to get on with her administration’s duties.

The Scottish Government announced this week that they will legislate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045 after receiving fresh advice from an expert panel.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) urged that Scotland set the target five years ahead of the UK as a whole. The panel says Scotland has more potential sites for carbon capture and a greater landmass for tree planting. It came after a report to the UN last year urged the world to go “further and faster” in tackling climate change. And on Sunday last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” in her speech to the SNP party conference.

The Scottish Greens will launch their manifesto for the upcoming European elections next week (Tues 7th May) in Glasgow. The launch will take place at West Brewery, Glasgow Green, which was set up by German national Petra Wetzel, and brews under German purity laws. Media will be invited to ask questions of lead candidate Maggie Chapman and party co-convenor, Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie.

Scottish Greens Parliamentary Co-Leader Alison Johnstone MSP has  called on the Scottish Government to take urgent action in the face of the climate emergency. Last year climate scientists warned that we have just a decade to deliver the change needed to avoid a climate catastrophe, and today new guidance was issued to the Scottish Government by the Committee on Climate Change, its statutory advisor.  Ms Johnstone asked the First Minister what action the Scottish Government plan to take in the next year given the urgent nature of the emergency.

And finally SNP MP Pete Wishart has announced his candidacy to replace John Bercow as the Speaker of the House of Commons. There is speculation Mr Bercow will announce his retirement this summer, although he has not yet confirmed this. Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh and Labour’s Chris Bryant have both voiced an interest in the job. Mr Wishart wrote on Twitter that he would release a manifesto on Wednesday to become “the first post-war Speaker from beyond the two main parties”

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk    

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 26 April 2019

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 26 April 2019

Scottish politics returns to the top of the agenda after the Easter recess that nearly wasn’t as the First Minister made an emergency statement to Holyrood on what she terms Scotland’s constitutional future. In the end, news that she wants a second referendum on Scottish independence by 2021 if the country is taken out of the EU was no great surprise, but there is a determination in the SNP that hasn’t been seen since the giddy days of 2014.

Downing Street has re-iterated that it said previously that it will not grant a new Section 30 order, which made the 2014 referendum legal, however Ms Sturgeon said this position was “unsustainable” and challenged her party to increase support and demand for independence.

Before the Easter break, Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee launched an inquiry into Scotland’s empty homes and how these can be brought back into use. They will examine the scale of the issue, the effectiveness of current legislation and what more can be done to prevent properties remaining empty for extended periods of time. The remit of the inquiry is as follows:

·       The extent of, and reasons for, empty homes in Scotland;

·       How effective existing legislation and policy is at addressing the problem of empty homes;

·       What more can be done to prevent homes remaining empty and to encourage owners to bring them back into use.

2019 marks 20 years since devolution and, in a speech hosted by Reform Scotland, former Labour First Minister Lord (Jack) McConnell reflected on the anniversary including his time as First Minister. Applying three tests to whether devolution had been successful, he assessed that the quality of legislation and the ability of both Parliament and Government to “speak for Scotland” had been overwhelmingly positive. On the third test, Parliament’s record in holding the Executive to account, he was less positive, suggesting several improvements including elected committee conveners, a time-limit on list MSPs and further changes at a UK level. 

On Wednesday, entrepreneurial icons flocked to Scotland as the second edition of CAN DO Fest, Scotland’s festival of impactful entrepreneurship, kicked off with EIE 2019 – one of the UK’s leading events for tech entrepreneurs and investors. Almost 4,500 entrepreneurial leaders, change makers and innovators are expected to attend the new-look festival to help them spark ideas, collaborate and grow. 

And finally… Perceptive client Scotframe, part of the global Saint-Gobain group, hosted Housing, Planning and Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart MSP on Wednesday as he formally opened their new Dundee office and showroom. The visit was organised by Perceptive and, staying longer than expected, the Minister had an extended discussion with senior management. As he left, he said he found their approach to timber frame construction ‘most enlightening.’

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk     

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 12 April 2019

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 12 April 2019

Trick or treat? It has the potential to be both and you couldn’t quite make it up! A dream for the headline writers of this world, the new 31 October Halloween deadline (also our political guru Devin’s birthday but we’re saying nothing….) was announced this week and the prime minister’s acceptance that leaving the EU without a formal arrangement in place could be a disaster won out.

European Union leaders granted the UK a six-month extension to Brexit, after late-night talks in Brussels on Wednesday. European Council President Donald Tusk said his “message to British friends” was “please do not waste this time”. This message was replicated by Nicola Sturgeon who also said the UK must not waste time now a flexible extension to Brexit has been agreed until 31 October. In a tweet, Ms Sturgeon said it was “a relief” that the UK would not be “crashing out” of the EU on Friday. She added that allowing people to decide if they still wanted to leave was now imperative, and that Scotland’s interests must be protected.

The First Minister said it is essential now that this time is used constructively and not wasted, and she has called for ongoing talks over EU exit to include the devolved administrations, and for any deal agreed by the UK Parliament to be put to a second referendum. She has copied the letter to the First Minister of Wales. Details: https://news.gov.scot/news/letter-to-the-prime-minister-1

Holyrood, on Easter recess this week, will not be recalled now that the extension has been agreed.

Also, at Holyrood this week it was announced that the Scottish Parliament is calling for public feedback on business rates reforms which could see independent schools lose their charitable status. The proposals, many of which are based on the recommendations of the Barclay Review, include reducing the current five-year valuation cycle to three years and measures aimed at improving the administration of the system. Ministers also want to tackle known tax avoidance, including tactics involving unoccupied or under-used properties.

And finally…As well as supporting the homeless charity, Social Bite in Scotland, this week Homes for Scotland has led a team with charity, Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for vulnerable people in Homa Bay, Kenya. 

The dedicated team of volunteers spans the housebuilding sector, including employees of Cruden, Buccleuch Property, Mactaggart & Mickel and Homes for Scotland.  Homes for Scotland Chief Executive Nicola Barclay, who is on the build this week says: “Regardless of where in the world you live, the right to a home is one of life’s most basic needs, and I look forward to making a real difference to someone’s life.”

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.mousdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk    

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 5 April 2019

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 5 April 2019

Talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to break the Brexit deadlock have been called “constructive”. Take that with a very large print of salt!

The two leaders met on Wednesday afternoon and agreed a “programme of work” to try to find a way forward to put to MPs for a vote.It is understood that each party has appointed a negotiating teamA spokesman for No 10 said both sides were “showing flexibility”.On Thursday MPs voted by a majority of one to force the prime minister to ask for an extension to the Brexit process, in a bid to avoid a no-deal scenario.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned against accepting a “bad compromise” after holding Brexit talks with Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. Ms Sturgeon was in London this week along with other political leaders in a bid to break the logjam over the UK’s exit from the EU.

At Holyrood, the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee met with client, Construction Scotland as part of the final phase of evidence gathering for their Construction inquiry. Construction Scotland Chair Ken Gillespie, Executive Director Ron Fraser and Industry Leadership Group Member, Ann Allen MBE gave evidence in a lengthy solo session in which MSPs participated enthusiastically.

On Wednesday in Holyrood, MSPs unanimously backed the general principles of the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill. The Scottish Government confirmed it will make amendments to the bill after fresh independent advice on targets has been published. A coalition of charities has called on Scottish ministers to strengthen the bill by setting a net-zero emissions target in the legislation. New advice from the Committee on Climate Change is due on 2 May.

In the business world, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) has appointed Sara Thiam, a member of the Scottish Government’s newly-formed Infrastructure Commission, as its new chief executive.  Ms Thiam, who is currently the Scotland director of the Institution of Civil Engineers, is expected to focus the think tank around skills, technology and tackling climate change.  Ms Thiam said: “In common with other countries around the world Scotland faces unprecedented environmental, demographic, mobility, educational and technological challenges.”

Next week is meant to be the start of the two week Easter recess but at the time of writing, it looks likely thatHolyrood will meet if the UK is forced out of the European Union with no deal in place, MSPs have been told. Relations Secretary Michael Russell MSP said a no-deal Brexit would be a “moment of crisis” and MSPs would need to be made aware of the arrangements that would be put in place. 

And finally, the judging and interviews for the prestigious Homes for Scotland awards took place this week.  Perceptive is shortlisted in the Best Supporting Organisation category. Perceptive client, Mactaggart & Mickel is also shorlisted for Private Developer of the Year (Medium) for its development at Greenan Views, Ayr and in the Company Innovation and Best Practice category for its game changing Employer of Choice programme.  

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale 

on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk    

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 29 March 2019

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 29 March 2019

Well today should have been a landmark date in recent political history as we left the EU after 46 years of often fractious membership.  But of course even that didn’t go to plan, although we are a tad closer to getting a new Prime Minister.

The Brexit process remains in deadlock as MPs struggle to find a consensus on the next steps. The Commons failed to find a majority for a way forward after voting for eight different options on Wednesday. They couldn’t even agree on what system to use to vote as an archaic paper system was proposed by Mr Speaker, much to the confusion of just about every MP apart from Jacob Rees-Mogg. And while some senior Brexiteers have moved towards supporting Theresa May’s deal, the DUP MPs she relies on for her wafer thin majority have refused to alter their stance.

The PM won some support by saying she would resign ahead of the next round of EU negotiations if her deal passes. This means she still may bring her plan back to the Commons this week for another vote – the so-called “meaningful vote three” – despite it already being defeated twice by large margins.

The Prime Minister’s pledge to stand down if her Brexit deal is approved risks making “an already bad project even worse”, Scotland’s First Minister has claimed.  PM Boris is looking scarily likely….

Nicola Sturgeon said it could see Scotland “shackled to a disastrous Brexit driven by a Tory party lurching even further to the right”. She predicted that this would “further reinforce” the case for independence.

But true to form, Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray criticised the SNP for abstaining during a vote on whether there should be a customs union with the EU. The proposal would have passed if SNP MPs had voted for it. Mr Murray said: “Nationalist MPs sat on their hands rather than deliver a parliamentary majority for a minimum of a permanent customs union to be written into law to protect the British economy and jobs – making a mockery of Nicola Sturgeon’s pledge to support a ‘common sense solution’.”

Whilst the action was unfolding at Westminster on Wednesday evening, attendees at the first Perceptive Directors’ Club of the year were treated to what has become an annual tour of Holyrood from MSP Tavish Scott, the former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and a Cabinet Minister prior to 2007. Our clients got an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Parliament building and afterwards sat down for dinner and a fascinating Q&A with Tavish, no subject was off the table, including Brexit!  This article reflects many of the Brexit points raised in our discussion.  As public affairs is an increasing part of Perceptive’s client workload, we hope to repeat the tour and any Insider readers interested should simply reply to this email.

We were pleased to welcome Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar, to client, Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC).  Chief Executive Roger Kilburn hosted the visit, sharing an overview of IBioIC which aims to stimulate growth across health, industrial, marine and agriculture biotechnology to £900m by 2025.


Next week the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee meets with client, Construction Scotland as part of the final phase of evidence gathering for the Construction Inquiry.  Ken Gillespie, Chair, Ann Allen MBE and Member and Ron Fraser, Executive Director of Construction Scotland Industry Leadership Group will provide evidence on behalf of Construction Scotland.  

One of the SNP’s most unpopular budget proposals, a new workplace parking tax, has been attacked again as the Scottish Police Federation are saying it could expose police officers to a greater risk of terrorism. The Federation said if officers stopped driving to work it could endanger them as they made their way to and from shifts on foot or public transport. Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf MSP, who was given the warning at the SPF conference in Turnberry on Thursday, said he would look at a police exemption from the levy.

And finally… in what why may be his last speech to the European Parliament, SNP MEP Alyn Smith was holding back tears of emotion as he said: “cheers colleagues, I’m not asking you to solve our domestic discussions. But I am asking you to leave a light on so we can find our way home (to the EU).”

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 22 March 2019

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 22 March 2019

The UK is likely to be offered to delay Brexit until 12 May, subject to MPs approving the withdrawal deal negotiated with the EU next week.  If not the EU will back a shorter delay until 12 April, giving the UK time to get the deal through or “indicate a way forward”.

In the meantime an online petition calling for Theresa May to revoke Article 50 has attracted over 2 million signatures. Revoke Article 50 has been trending on Twitter as people were urged to sign it. According to the Petitions Committee, the site struggled to cope with the demand, crashing at some points.  Once up and running again signatures were arriving at a rate of up to 2000 per minute.   

In Scottish politics, the government has pledged to roll back changes MSPs made to its reforms of the planning system. Ministers introduced legislation at Holyrood with the aim of streamlining planning and “empowering communities” but the process has not been as seamless as the Scottish Government had anticipated.

MSPs on the local government committee have made more than 230 amendments to the bill adding in extra powers and responsibilities for planning boards. The government has warned these could “create millions of pounds of new costs” and undermine the legislation.Local Government and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said he was now working on fresh changes to “rescue” the bill and “remove unnecessary burdens” before MSPs vote on it for the final time,

There was a little good news for the Scottish economy as new figures showed that it grew by 0.3% in the final three months of 2018, according to official figures. The increase in the country’s GDP compared to a figure of 0.2% for the UK. The news comes as Scotland’s unemployment rate hit a record low. Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP said it was the eighth consecutive quarter of growth and that the country’s economy “continues to go from strength to strength”.

Mental health is back on the agenda with an independent review of Scotland’s mental health legislation is to be carried out, mental health care in Scotland is currently underpinned by laws which date back to 2003, and MSPs have faced calls for an update.Linked to this and as mentioned last week, a petition had been lodged at Holyrood urging ministers to “conduct a wide review” of legislation, in light of developments both in care and treatment and international human rights law. Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey MSP told MSPs that “the time is right” to review the law, to make sure that rules “fully reflect our ambitions and the needs of those our laws are intended to support”.

In a rather worrying development, a leading MSP has told how she fears for her safety after online threats and abuse. Glasgow Conservative Annie Wells said she has contacted Police Scotland over the social media posts. She told media representatives that in the three years since she was elected she had muted more than 1100 abusive Twitter accounts due to the violent and foul nature of the posts. Ms Wells said the majority ofthe abuse on Twitter was aimed at her simply for a being a woman. Sadly her experience is by no means unique.

And finally… One of Perceptive’s newest clients, the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) in Glasgow, welcomes senior Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar this morning.  A former dentist and MP, Mr Sarwar has considerable interest in IBioIC’s role, as a specialist in the Industrial Biotechnology (IB) sector, is to stimulate the growth of the IB sector in Scotland to £900 million by 2025. IBioIC is one of eight Innovation Centres funded by the Scottish Funding Council and supported by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Mousdale on 07734 932578 or julie.mousdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk    

Account Director

Account Director

Do you thrive on leading and working with a team to deliver great communications results that make a big difference? Are you keen to work with amazing clients and an exclusively expert team in a great working environment?

We’re looking for an enthusiastic, motivated and experienced communicator to join our growing and multi-award winning team based in our lovely office in Glasgow city centre.

Our ideal person would be a strong project manager with a proven track record of helping achieve business and organisational goals through effective PR and social media campaigns.  An ability to deliver results in a fast paced environment with a can-do attitude is key.

Key responsibilities

  • Developing, leading and implementing proactive PR and social media strategies for clients to help them achieve their organisational goals
  • Leading and working with a team to deliver key activities and KPIs that have been agreed with client within agreed timescales, demonstrating effective project management where there are often competing priorities in a fast moving environment
  • Lead role in building and maintaining positive relationships with clients and influencers which results in strong client retention levels and referrals
  • Developing positive relationships with key stakeholders and influencers  
  • Writing and editing publications, brochures, news releases, opinion pieces, award submissions, speeches, newsletters, websites and social media within agreed timescales to a high standard
  • Being a strong positive ambassador for Perceptive amongst clients, potential clients, influencers and stakeholders in person and online eg social media eg LinkedIn
  • Identifying appropriate contacts and then developing and maintaining good working relationships with the media, key stakeholders eg community leaders and clients
  • Contributing to the direction of Perceptive Communicators’ strategy and attending six monthly meetings to deliver the vision for the company
  • Identifying potential new business opportunities with existing and new clients
  • Contributing to new business activities eg tenders
  • Developing and managing PR & Social Media managers and other relevant team members

Living Perceptive values

  • Focussed on results
  • Trusted experts, so reassurance for clients
  • Straightforward
  • Great energy and proactive with positive team spirit that extends to client teams
  • We care

Essential skills

  • Proven track record of leading a team in successful PR and social media campaigns to deliver desired results
  • An ability to deliver agreed goals and work to tight deadlines to ensure clients’ targets and expectations are met
  • Good project management and time management skills
  • Strong writing and creative skills, so able to create compelling content from complex information
  • Proactive and proven ability to thrive in a fast paced environment
  • Organised work processes and project management with ability to prioritise tasks and manage time effectively
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Flexible can do attitude and a willingness to learn
  • Ability to work on own and as part of a team
  • Driving licence and access to a car for work

    If you think you fit the bill, do get in touch.

Work experience
Candidates will at have least ten years’ communications work experience in PR and social media.  Experience of working in an agency and delivering successful results on behalf of clients is desired but not essential. 

Why join us?

Perceptive Communicators is a multi-award winning communications consultancy, established in 2006 and on a very strong growth path which benefits all employees. We work on exciting projects in construction, health, biotechnology and technology which help our clients achieve their goals.

We offer flexible working hours and up to two days a week working from home. Our team enjoy excellent holidays and benefits, including private healthcare, discounted flights and hotels, free Amazon Prime, Starbucks coffees and cinema tickets.

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 15 March 2019

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 15 March 2019

Just like buses… you wait for one and three come along at once, Theresa May will make a third attempt, with a third vote put to MPs, to get her EU withdrawal deal through Parliament in the next week. She told MPs that if her deal fails again to get their backing, a lengthy delay to Brexit may be needed.

No date has yet been set for the third so-called “meaningful vote” but the Commons voted by a whisker – just two votes – last night to allow her to maintain control of Brexit.  For now.

European Council President Donald Tusk has said he will appeal to EU leaders “to be open to a long extension” of the Brexit deadline, his intervention came this week as MPs voted on Thursday to try and seek to postpone the 29 March deadline to 30 June. EU leaders will meet in Brussels on 21 March where they will have the final say on the matter.

Nicola Sturgeon commented this week that the Brexit deadline should be put back long enough for a new referendum. The First Minister said the failure of the Commons to agree on a deal meant the issue should now be put back to the public in a fresh referendum.

Back to Holyrood, and MSPs have called for research to be carried out on the impact of social media on young people’s mental health. Holyrood’s public audit committee has been studying a “significant increase” in the number of children and teens experiencing mental health problems. Members wanted to find out if social media use could be a factor in rising demand for services but were told that this was “not yet understood”.

The Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee’s major inquiry into the Construction industry is continuing and this week we were pleased to support client CSIC (Construction Scotland Innovation Centre).  Chief Executive Stephen Good was questioned for an hour by MSPs on how innovation is transforming this vital industry which contributes £21bn every year to Scotland’s economy. Client Construction Scotland will also give evidence on 2 April.

A must visit for anyone interested in the construction industry is Scotland Build 2019 which starts next week (20 – 21 March at the SEC Glasgow). Now in its fourth year, the conference is Scotland’s leading and largest construction show dedicated entirely to opportunities in building, construction, architecture and design across Scotland. Three members of Perceptive’s team will be leading workshops on political influence, LinkedIn and crisis communications at the Skills Hub on the Wednesday – tickets are free and there’s still time to register to come along: https://oliverkinross.circdata-solutions.co.uk/RFG/publish/SBUILD19/

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk    

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