Monitor hires Jon Hibbs from Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse

A health watchdog set to be given sharper teeth under NHS reforms has brought in a senior PR figure to help deal with the changes.

Monitor: will regulate all providers of NHS-funded services in England
Monitor: will regulate all providers of NHS-funded services in England

Monitor has poached Jon Hibbs from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse to be head of media and stakeholder relations.

Hibbs, formerly a director of comms in his previous role, will report to director of public affairs and comms Sue Meeson. He replaces Nick Samuels, who has held the job on an interim basis.

The news comes as PRWeek can reveal as part of its 'State of the Public Sector' reports that Monitor plans to grow its in-house team by four ahead of it being given a raft of new responsibilities brought in by the Health & Social Care Act 2012.

Hibbs said: ‘Monitor is in a process of expanding in the light of the new role it has got and part of that is to develop its media and stakeholder coverage. That’s what I’ve been asked to do.

‘Monitor wants to establish a good understanding among the media and parliamentarians what its new role is and the responsibility it has to exercise, and that will be one of the key challenges.’

Monitor regulates Foundation Trusts, but under proposed reforms it will regulate all providers of NHS-funded services in England.

However, a report by the Nuffield Trust and King’s Fund think tanks has suggested that there are a number of potential conflicts between Monitor’s new responsibilities to enable integrated healthcare and to prevent anti-competitive behaviour.

Comms and marketing spend in Monitor dropped from more than £1m in 2009-10 to £692,000 in 2011-12. However, spending on media and stakeholder relations salaries have risen from £108,000 to £162,000 during the same period, and is set to rocket to £293,000 during this financial year (see below for a table of comms spending).

Monitor has engaged the services of Weber Shandwick in 2011-12, and previously used Hanover between 2008 and 2011.

The most senior comms professional at Monitor is Meeson, who earns between £90,000 and £95,000 per year.

Click here for more on PRWeek's 'State of the Public Sector' series

How Monitor's comms spending has changed

Year Overall marcoms spend Media relations salaries
Comms staff
2007-08 £928,000 £74,000 12
2008-09 £1.05m £75,000 11
2009-10 £1m £108,000 11
2010-11 £724,000 £176,000 10
2011-12 £692,000 £162,000 10
2012-13 ? £293,000 14


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