Public First pounces for Whitehall comms chief Milland
Gabriel Milland is re-uniting with his old boss James Frayne
New consultancy Public First has signalled its intention to be a major player in UK public affairs by hiring "the best media relations operative in Whitehall".
The agency set up by former Portland and Westbourne lobbyist James Frayne has brought in Gabriel Milland in as a partner.
Milland is a former political correspondent for the Daily Express and head of communications at Policy Exchange. He went on to be head of communications at the Department for Education when Frayne was director of communications.
Most recently, Milland was head of external communications at Ministry of Justice and then deputy director in the Government Communication Service where he rewrote the standard operating model for all Whitehall media relations staff.
Public First was set up last summer by Frayne and Rachel Wolf, founder of the New Schools Network and a former adviser to David Cameron at Number 10.
Frayne said: “Gabriel is the best media relations operative in Whitehall and we're lucky to get him. He understands how to navigate Britain's aggressive national media climate and come out on top."
He added: "Our senior staff are insiders that behave and think like outsiders. We know that traditional lobbying - where people rely on their contact book - is thankfully dead. These days, those organisations that win are those that understand how to apply pressure on decision-makers and influencers."
Frayne also said that Public First would be hiring additional staff in the summer and that it was looking for “people with a deep understanding of the political process and that understand how to apply pressure on politicians and advisers from outside”
Milland said: “I'm thrilled to be joining a firm that understands how politics and Government really works. Having worked in Government, I know that hearing a coalition of public voices in the media is worth a million times more than a quiet word in a Minister's ear. I'm looking forward to putting this belief into practice."