awards, public relations, public sector

Murder case police team honoured

A POLICE force’s handling of the media during the trial of convicted murderer Nat Fraser has earned them a top award.

Grampian Police picked up the honour at the Scottish PR Awards in Glasgow tonight (Friday). The event was organised by the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) in conjunction with the media magazine, The Drum.

The force won the top prize in the crisis management category for the way it handled intense media interest up to and during the trial of Fraser.

The Elgin businessman was sentenced to life after being found guilty of murdering his wife Arlene. The mum-of-two had gone missing five years ago; her body has never been found.

The hunt for her killer and the subsequent trial was the biggest criminal inquiry in Scotland since the Lockerbie bombing.

IPR Scotland chair Jane Cumming said: “When Nat Fraser was found guilty of the murder of his wife Arlene, it marked the end of the most expensive, longest running and high profile criminal enquiry in Grampian Police’s history.

“Media interest was been intense and Grampian Police developed a strategy to ensure they received a positive and supportive image, irrespective of the verdict.

“Thorough preparation and planning, brilliant implementation, and a commitment to openness, which was unusual for a police force, guaranteed this project a place on the shortlist.”

As well as building up strong links with Arlene’s family, the force worked with the Crown Office to set up a website to brief journalists covering the story.

After the verdict, Detective Superintendent Jim Stephen said the “enormous” media coverage had been of “great help” to the police during their investigation.

“I thank the many news organisations for the extensive publicity they have given the case throughout the last five years,” he said.

Other award winners in the annual contest included Perthshire water company Highland Spring and its PR advisers 3×1, which won the “best consumer campaign” category. 3×1, based in Glasgow, also won the overall award – the Grand Prix.

PR giant Weber Shandwick, which has an office in Aberdeen, won best large consultancy. It also carried off top honours for its work for the Seafish Industry Authority and a bronze award for its work to promote NESTRANS (the North East Scotland Transport Partnership).

Meanwhile, NHS Grampian won a bronze award for its campaign to tackle the stigma of mental health. The consultancy hatch-group also won a bronze the crisis communications management for BEAR Scotland – the company responsible for trunk road maintenance in the north of Scotland.

The winners and runners-up covered every part of the PR industry, with nominees ranging from in-house communications teams and public bodies, to freelancers and consultancies.

Judges looked for communicators who planned and researched successful PR campaigns – measuring their effectiveness with proven evaluation techniques.

Ms Cumming, who runs her own consultancy in Beauly, near Inverness, said: “PR in Scotland is not an industry of spin doctors or press agents – or even people like Max Clifford. It’s a mature profession, made up of expert communicators, who day in and day out demonstrate their worth to their employers and their clients.

“The IPR is determined to ensure that standards in the industry remain high. Part of that process is to recognise and reward excellence in the field. That’s what the awards are all about.

“The IPR would like to congratulate all the winners on their hard work – and their success in the awards.”

The full list of winners is as follows:

Grand Prix

Hamp Hamilton Young Communicator Award
WINNER: Linda McIntyre, Network Rail, Glasgow
SILVER: Sarah Forbes, Citigate Smarts
BRONZE: Hannah Sanderson, Countrywide Porter Novelli
BRONZE: Katy Windsor, Firefly

Best In-House Team
WINNER: HBOS, Edinburgh
BRONZE: Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley Tourist Board
BRONZE: Scottish Power plc
BRONZE: Scottish Qualifications Authority

Best Large Consultancy
WINNER: Weber Shandwick, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh
SILVER: Citigate Smarts
BRONZE: Pagoda Public Relations

Best Small Consultancy
WINNER: 3×1, Glasgow
SILVER: Artisan PR
BRONZE: Great Circle Communications Ltd

Best Independent Practitioner
WINNER: Maggie Wright Associates, Edinburgh
SILVER: Hot Tin Roof

Best Public Sector Team
WINNER: Scottish Qualifications Authority
SILVER: Glasgow City Council
BRONZE: The City of Edinburgh Council

Best Business-to-Business Campaign
WINNER: Seafish Industry Authority – Seafood Week 2002 (Weber Shandwick)
SILVER: SGM Group – From the Leading Edge to the Cutting Edge (Budge PR)
BRONZE: Baker Tilly – Adding Up to Success (Countrywide Porter Novelli)
BRONZE: UNIPASS – Beating the Log On Blues (Firefly)

Best Consumer Campaign
WINNER: A Spoonful of Sugar? – Highland Spring (3×1)
SILVER: How Much Is Too Much? – Scottish Executive (Budge PR)
SILVER: Bank of Scotland Commonwealth Games Team (Carnegie Worldwide)
BRONZE: Whyte and Mackay/West End Festival (Harrison Cowley)
BRONZE: The Falkirk Wheel (Wave PR)

Best Charity Campaign
WINNER: See Me Campaign Launch (Citigate Smarts)
SILVER: Self Monitoring Anti-coagulation Strips (Pagoda PR)

Best Community Campaign
JOINT-WINNER: We wait and we wait – fostering campaign (City of Edinburgh Council)
JOINT-WINNER: Bank of Scotland Community Banking (HBOS)
SILVER: GO4IT (City of Edinburgh Council)
BRONZE: Mental Health Month Campaign (Grampian NHS)
BRONZE: Art in Partnership/Scottish Parliament (MEA Public Relations)

Public Affairs Campaign
WINNER: Self Monitoring Anti-coagulation Strips (Pagoda Public Relations, Edinburgh)
BRONZE: Bridging the Cultural Divide (Countrywide Porter Novelli)
BRONZE: NESTRANS (Weber Shandwick Scotland)

Corporate Social Responsibility
WINNER: Bank of Scotland Community Banking (HBOS)

Best Financial Communications Campaign
WINNER: Selling the Merger (HBOS)

Best Crisis Management Campaign.
WINNER: Nat Fraser Trial (Grampian Police)
SILVER: Operation Fresco in Scotland (A Joint Armed Forces/MOD PR Team)
SILVER: Cowgate Fire (Edinburgh Council)
BRONZE: Maintaining Scotland’s Trunk Roads (hatch-group working for BEAR Scotland)

Best New Start.
WINNER: 3×1, Glasgow
BRONZE: hatch-group, Glasgow and Edinburgh


Judges comments on all the shortlisted entries are available on this website. Click here to view the page

The winners were announced at a ceremony in the Radisson SAS Hotel in Glasgow on Friday, June 13.

The judges were:
•Gidon Freeman, deputy editor, PR Week
•Lindsay McGarvie, political editor, Sunday Mail
•Paul Geoghan, chief press officer, Scottish Executive
•Jane Cumming, chair, IPR Scotland
•Richard Draycott, editor, The Drum
•Julia Newton, co-founder, Shine Communications
•Atholl Duncan, then managing editor, News & Current Affairs, BBC Scotland

The Institute of Public Relations has over 7,000 members, involved in all aspects of the public relations industry. It is the largest professional body of its type in Europe, with rigorous qualifications for membership (based on educational qualifications and/or multi-disciplinary experience) ensuring that standards are high and maintained. Further information on the IPR can be obtained from the IPR website at or by calling 020 7253 5151.

The Drum is Scotland’s media and marketing magazine – covering the latest developments in Scottish above and below-the-line advertising, design, PR, media and new media. For more information, log onto

Issued by THEPRSTORE on behalf of the Institute of Public Relations in Scotland. Please note that because of The PR Store’s involvement in the awards, it did not enter this year’s contest.

For more information, please contact:

Jane Cumming, Chair, IPR Scotland,
T: 01463 783018
M: 07900 917142

Adrian Mahoney, The PR Store
T: 07967 150560 E: