A senior media relations professional with considerable experience in handling live incidents, Stuart has particular expertise in crisis and emergency communications.
He wrote NHS Scotland’s plans for communicating in an emergency, and has shaped media strategy for other high-profile organisations, including the police.
Stuart R Wilson FCMI, MCIPR, MPRCA
LEAD ASSOCIATE: CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS
Stuart started his career in journalism, working for weekly and evening newspapers across Scotland. He left his post as crime reporter for the Evening Times in Glasgow to become the first civilian manager in Strathclyde Police’s media and information services department. At the time, Strathclyde was the UK’s second biggest police force.
He helped oversee the transformation of the department into a corporate communications function embracing external, internal, and digital communications as well as print, design and marketing. Stuart left Strathclyde to become the first head of communications for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland – the body representing Scotland’s then-eight regional forces.
Since then, he has worked at the most strategic level of communications and public affairs in local government, the Church of Scotland, the NHS, and the private sector, reporting directly to chief executives and chairpersons, and liaising with politicians at government level across the UK.
Stuart has particular expertise in crisis and emergency communications, having coordinated many incidents in his time with the police. They include the national communications effort around the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in 2005 as well as the Scottish response to the London bombings which took place during G8.
He also wrote communications strategies for dealing with major incidents during his time at the police, including CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) incidents, and the hijack strategy for Prestwick Airport.
In his career Stuart has been involved in a number of high-profile cases such as the Glasgow Airport terror attack; a care-home fire that killed 13 residents; the first case of swine flu in the UK; and an outbreak of the killer legionnaires’ disease in Edinburgh.
He wrote NHS Scotland’s plans for how to communicate in an emergency; and has represented the public sector in Scotland at UK level on counter-terrorism communications. He often attended meetings with the Metropolitan Police and Home Office around crisis communications.
He is a veteran of high-profile press conferences and has played and umpired in countless emergency exercises across the country.
Stuart has lectured extensively at the Scottish Police College on how officers of every rank should handle communications during an emergency or crisis. He is often called on to speak about emergency and resilience communications, the use of social media, and media training issues around the UK.
He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and of the Public Relations Consultants Association, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.