GCS chief Simon Baugh’s former deputy takes over Home Office comms

Robert Hall has been appointed as interim director of communications at the Home Office, stepping into the shoes of his former boss Simon Baugh, PRWeek has learned.

Robert Hall, interim director of comms, Home Office
Robert Hall, interim director of comms, Home Office

Robert Hall has spent the past six months as deputy to Simon Baugh, who recently left the Home Office and starts his new role as chief executive of the Government Communication Service next week. Baugh paid tribute to his former deputy in a post on social media in which he congratulated Hall for taking over from him and said: “You’ll be brilliant.”

In his new role Hall is the comms lead in the department and has overall responsibility for campaigns in support of public safety, immigration reform and national security.

According to official figures, the Home Office comms team decreased from 190 people in 2020 to 180 in 2021 but it is still one of the biggest in Whitehall.

Commenting on his temporary promotion, Hall said: “Effective communications plays such an important part in the government’s work to tackle crime, support victims, reform the immigration system and keep the country safe.

“It’s a privilege to lead this outstanding team doing vital work. I look forward to building on Simon’s achievements and working with partners across the UK to deliver campaigns that make a difference.”

Hall is the third director of comms at the Home Office in less than two years.

Andy Tighe left in February 2020 amid media reports that Home Secretary Priti Patel had attempted to have him fired on Christmas Eve 2019.

Tighe was replaced by Baugh, who stayed in the role for barely 18 months before moving to the top job at GCS.

The Home Office will look to recruit a permanent director of comms in due course, according to Whitehall officials.

Hall has spent the past decade in government comms, and started out at the Department for Transport, before moving to the Home Office where he spent almost three years as assistant director in the press office.

This was followed by a short stint as head of internal comms at UK Border Force before Hall left to work in the Northern Ireland Office, where he spent two years as head of comms.

In 2017 he returned to the Home Office, spending almost four years as deputy director, EU exit comms. He became the Home Office’s deputy director, comms, in April this year.

Hall describes himself as leading teams that “deliver great communications in government” and claims to have developed “rich relationships” as a result of his “varied career”.

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