HSE media chief takes deputy comms director role in government department

Jason Green, head of strategy, media and campaigns at the Health and Safety Executive, has been appointed interim deputy director of comms at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) amid a restructure of the comms team, PRWeek has learned.

Jason Green, interim deputy director of communications at MHCLG

Jason Green started his new role as deputy director, news, digital and corporate comms this week. The six-month secondment is a major step up the government comms ladder for Green, who has become a senior civil servant after more than a decade in various comms roles at HSE.

Reporting directly to Priya Brahmbhatt-Patel, director of comms, he will oversee a team of about 30 comms professionals.

Priorities over the coming months will include comms on issues such as Covid-19, housing and planning reforms, and the Building Safety Regulator. Green said he is looking forward to the “new challenge” and “supporting the work of the department”.

Shuffling the deck

Green is joining the department during a restructure of its comms team in the wake of the abrupt departure of Kirsty Buchanan as director of comms earlier this year, amid allegations of bullying

In his new role, he will support the director of comms “through a period of restructure and change for the communications team”, according to the candidate pack for the deputy director post.

It adds: “Emotional intelligence whilst getting the job done will serve you well, as you will be supporting the Director of Communications to lead a change programme within the communications directorate.”

Bullying culture?

The bullying allegations that prompted Buchanan’s exit are part of a wider issue within the department. One in 10 staff claims to have been bullied or harassed in the past 12 months, up from eight per cent the previous year, according to the latest Civil Service Survey.

Being humiliated in front of other staff and “negative micromanagement” where people are “made to feel incompetent” are the most common complants cited.

In addition, there have been multiple allegations of sexual harassment as well as cases of “intimidation or verbal aggression.”

One in five (21 per cent) of staff claims to have witnessed bullying or unfair treatment, while one in three (33 per cent) wants to leave MHCLG as soon as possible or within the next year.

Green would not be drawn on the bullying issue, but commented: “My modus operandi, wherever I go, is to take the team with me on the journey and increase morale, engagement, and appreciation and development of people’s talents and skills.”

Career path

Green graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a degree in journalism in 2005. He had already worked on the Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post, and went on to spend two years working for news outlets including the  The Times, The Sun, and the Mercury Press Agency, before switching to a career in comms. 

He spent almost two years as an account manager at Liverpool PR agency Paver Smith & Co before leaving in Dec 2008 to take up a role as senior press officer at Riverside Housing Association.

Green went on to join HSE as a senior press officer in July 2009. In 2013 he was seconded to Rochdale Borough Council as an interim PR manager to handle the fallout from the independent review into child sexual exploitation cases in the town.

He was promoted to head of media at HSE in 2016, and became head of strategy, media and campaigns earlier this year.

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