Public Service Magazine (PSM) is a quarterly news and features title published by the FDA, the union for the UK’s top civil servants. I launched PSM in 1998, when I was head of communications at the FDA, and was editor for several years before going freelance . I’ve continued to work with the FDA on PSM and other projects ever since. In 2017-18, the union invited me back to the editor’s chair while the current editor took maternity leave.
Back in the nineties, we wanted PSM to be a radically different trade union magazine. We felt conventional union journals, like the FDA’s existing newsletter, were aimed too much at activists rather than ordinary members, and tended to treat readers solely as trade unionists rather than professionals. Our guiding principle at the time, much chewed over in the pubs around Whitehall, was that we were ‘moving from Pravda to The Times’.
We produced content that focused on careers, professional and policy debates, advice and guidance as well as bread and butter employment issues. We sometimes published articles that challenged the union’s official line or which tried to stir up debate. We introduced colour photographs and graphics for the first time, and far higher standards of editorial and design. And we published a lot – eleven issues a year in those pre-digital days! Although the look and feel of PSM has changed much over the last two decades, the magazine remains true to the same ethos today.
Over the years, I’ve contributed hundreds of articles to PSM, including features, news reports, interviews, book reviews and analysis pieces. You can read some of them in my cuttings section, or see some of the issues I edited recently below. Through my company Lexographic, I’ve continued to work with the FDA on projects large and small, most notably on the union’s centenary project, Our Story, in 2019.
I have been editor of Healthcare Manager since 2016, and have worked on the title as a consultant editor since it was launched in 2009. The magazine is published by Managers in Partnership (MiP), the union set up by Unison and the FDA to represent senior managers in the NHS and social care. We (usually) publish four issues a year, offering a range of news reports, features and advice on professional, employment and trade union issues.
As editor, I plan and commission content for each issue (as well as the MiP website), research issues that might interest our readers and sub-edit all copy, as well as contributing news reports and features myself. I work with MiP staff to make sure the union’s priorities are covered and help staff to produce content themselves. I also manage the work of our freelance contributors and photographers, and control expenditure on the magazine within the overall budget set by my bosses at MiP.
Design, layout and production is handled by my colleague James Sparling through our company, Lexographic. I work closely with James to finalise the covers and inside pages of the magazine, including writing headlines and captions, selecting images and signing-off of the pages for print. We also liaise with the printers and distributors to ensure everything runs smoothly and the magazine gets published on time and on budget.
During the Covid-19 emergency, we have suspended publication of the printed magazine and moved to publish content directly online. But Healthcare Manager will return in autumn 2020, with issue 45 due to be published in late September.
If you would like to know more about Healthcare Manager magazine or work with us on a story, please drop me a line.