Committee

Peter Duncan

ASPA Convener & Founder Director of Message Matters
convener@aspa.scot

Peter is founder-director of the strategic communications agency, Message Matters, providing support to a diverse range of clients, mostly in Scotland but also across the UK & Ireland. A former MP, he knows the lobbying industry inside out, and has supported ASPA through its recent work to uphold the highest ethical standards. He has done that through the adoption of a new code of conduct for all members as well as working with the Scottish Parliament's Lobbying Registrar to inform and implement recent industry regulations.

John Macgill

ASPA Treasurer & Director, Ettrickburn
treasurer@aspa.scot

John joined the BBC as a trainee journalist in 1985 and worked in broadcast news for 16 years before moving to become editor of Holyrood magazine and later the magazine for the European Parliament. Since moving into consultancy, first with a larger agency and running with his own companies, he has increasingly specialised in public affairs and media relations for the health, social care and life sciences sectors. John runs the healthandcare.scot news website and has previously served a term as chair of ASPA.

Susannah Lane

ASPA Secretary & Head of Public Affairs, Universities Scotland
secretary@aspa.scot

Susannah has more than twenty years’ experience in advocacy and communications in Scotland, specialising in higher education. Her career has focused on advising membership organisations in the public and third sectors. Currently the Head of Public Affairs and Communications at Universities Scotland, Susannah works on behalf of university Principals, leading the higher education sector’s strategic influence and is closely involved in policy development. The breath of contribution made by universities offers the opportunity to engage on a wide range of policy issues from access, research and development and internationalisation.

Adam McInnes

Senior Public Policy Manager, Royal Bank of Scotland
Adam is an experienced public affairs and policy professional, and currently leads on political engagement in Scotland for NatWest Group, where the bank operates under the historic Royal Bank of Scotland brand. Although Adam’s primary focus is Scotland, he also works across the UK to provide counsel and support for NatWest Group’s senior leaders to influence and engage on UK-wide policy issues that are of strategic importance both to the organisation and to the millions of customers NatWest Group serves. Prior to joining the bank, Adam spent time working for a Glasgow MSP and for the John Smith Centre at the University of Glasgow.

Sam McMillan

Director, McMillan Consultancy
Sam is the Director of McMillan Consultancy, an independent Scottish public affairs agency based in Edinburgh. He has over 20 years of parliamentary and public affairs experience – having worked in the Scottish Parliament and for a public affairs agency in Scotland before setting up McMillan Consultancy in 2015. Sam has helped develop and lead public relations and public affairs campaigns for a number of companies and organisations – ranging from small-budget charity campaigns to large multi-billion pound developments - with projects and campaigns focused in Scotland.

Sheghley Ogilvie

Policy & Public Affairs Officer, SCVO
Sheghley has 10 years of policy and public affairs experience in the voluntary sector and an in-depth knowledge of the sector’s contribution to society and the economy in Scotland. Currently a Policy and Public Affairs Officer at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), Sheghley leads on Fair Work, Fair Funding, funding transparency, and the impact of rising costs on voluntary organisations, their staff and volunteers, and the communities they work with. Sheghley is also responsible for SCVO’s engagement with the Scottish Budget process and the UK Budget and has extensive experience of working with civil society to progress policy priorities. She previously worked at BHF Scotland.

Peter Smyth

Public Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement Director at Aspect
Peter has two decades of experience working in public affairs, political intelligence and media relations, advising chief executives and senior leadership teams to bring innovative solutions to complex strategic situations. Formerly Director of Public Affairs at independent communications company Indigo, Peter has shaped a range of high-profile public affairs, community engagement and media relations campaigns in multiple sectors from global technology and international life sciences to commercial real estate, higher education, conservation and the natural economy. He has previously worked as public affairs and policy lead for the Federation of Master Builders in Scotland and prior to that at Newsdirect. He is a trustee of children’s hospice charity CHAS, a graduate of the University of St Andrews and holds an MSc in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics.

Scott Wright

Scottish Affairs & Devolved Policy Lead, Pinsent Masons
Scott has almost a decade of experience in public affairs and strategic communications. Heading up the Scottish Affairs and Devolved Nations offering at Pinsent Masons LLP, Scott advises clients on their engagement with political institutions in Scotland and across the devolved nations, helping them to build influence and ensure their interests are represented in policy development. With a keen interest in parliamentary process, Scott has developed significant expertise in preparing clients for appearances before Parliamentary Committees. Before joining Pinsent Masons, Scott worked for an MSP having graduated with an MA in Politics from the University of Edinburgh. He has been a Member of the ASPA Committee since December 2022.

Helen Reilly

Head of External Affairs, Queen's Nursing Institute Scotland
Helen has over 20 years’ experience of working in communications and public affairs. She has had a number of roles within the health sector, starting at BMA Scotland, where she worked on several areas including minimum unit pricing, the Scottish GP contract, and the campaign to introduce an opt-out system of organ donation in Scotland. She has also worked for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. She is currently the Head of External Affairs at the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland, a charity that supports community nurses and midwives, and has a focus on health inequalities.e

Michael Adamson

Senior Manager Public Affairs, Weber Shandwick
Michael joined Weber Shandwick, a global strategic communications and consultancy business, in May 2022 and currently works as a senior manager in their Public Affairs team. His work to date has covered a number of key areas including retail, manufacturing, and health policy. Previously he worked as a campaigns and communications officer (2016-22) for Daniel Johnson MSP. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh with an MSc on the Second World War in Europe.

Paul Murphie

Senior Account Manager, The Big Partnership
Paul joined The Big Partnership in January 2024, having previously worked in the public affairs team at Pagoda Public Relations. He is an experienced political operator and has brought his policy knowledge, political awareness and trusted counsel to manage campaigns across the UK for large multinationals, members' associations and third sector groups. He is well versed in supporting planning applications in renewable energy development and has directed political and stakeholder engagement across a variety of sectors including renewable energy, healthcare, education, and retail. Prior to working in consultancy, Paul was the Deputy Head of Monitoring at Newsdirect, where he developed a formidable knowledge of the key players at both local and central government.

Nick Cook

Deputy Head of UK Public Affairs with the People’s Postcode Lottery
Nick joined the People’s Postcode Lottery in December 2020. He is non-executive Director of industry body the Lotteries Council, for which he is also Chair of Public Affairs. Prior to joining the People’s Postcode Lottery, Nick worked for the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party for over a decade, in which time he served as a Political Advisor to Baroness Ruth Davidson of Lundin Links during her leadership tenure. Alongside this, Nick served in Local Government in Edinburgh for ten years and was the lead on Transport and Environment policy. He is also a former member of the Edinburgh Licensing Board.