Former media executive to head SPA
Ex-SMG chief hired to oversee crisis-hit police authority
Mr Flanagan, who led SMG – now STV – for a decade until 2006, will manage an organisation overseeing a £1 billion budget at a difficult time for the crisis-hit Police Scotland.
It is about to lose chief constable Stephen House who is stepping down following a number of high profile incidents, including its failure to respond to a road accident which ultimately left two people dead.
Mr Flanagan said: “The Scottish Police Authority has a unique role at the heart of policing and I’m delighted to be taking on such a demanding and exciting role.
“While I recognise the challenges we face, I believe there is much to build on in Scottish policing – not least the excellent work undertaken every day by the thousands of dedicated officers and staff. I look forward to working with them – and everyone with an interest in this crucially important public service – to ensure policing delivers for local communities.”
Commenting on Mr Flanagan’s appointment, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Policing has never been under greater scrutiny – and, with a wealth of experience in the public and private sector, I am confident he will prove to be an excellent chair for the SPA.
“As we embark on this next phase of police reform, I look forward to working with Mr Flanagan as we work towards a genuinely integrated single service and all the benefits that will bring.
“Recent incidents have knocked confidence in policing and it is vital we address that. I have therefore asked him to ensure the community focus is at the heart of everything the SPA and Police Scotland do, and to undertake a rapid review of governance. It will ensure that policing commands its resources effectively to meet community needs, and commands the confidence of communities in how it carried out those duties.
“This work will shape policing and lay the foundations for the years ahead, against a backdrop of continuing financial pressures.
“I would also like to thank his predecessor, Vic Emery, for his diligence and dedication during the first phase of reform, particularly helping overseeing the transition to our new policing arrangements.”
Mr Flanagan is a civil service commissioner and is chairman of the audit and risk committee of the NHS Business Services Authority.
He holds a number of other non-executive appointments which include the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and CIPFA Business Services. Until March, 2013, he was chief executive of the NSPCC, the children’s charity.
He spent 10 years as chief executive of Scottish Media Group, later SMG and now STV, at a time when it grew into a mini-conglomerate spanning broadcast, print and outdoor advertising. It embarked on a major spending spree, acquiring Chris Evans’ Ginger Media, including Virgin Radio, as well Heart of Midlothian Football Club and the radio company Scottish Radio Holdings which owned Radio Forth and Radio Clyde. He left in a boardroom shake-up with a £500,000 pay-off.
His appointment to the SPA is for four years and will run from 7 September to 6 September 2019.
The appointment is part time and attracts a fee of £450 per day, with a time commitment of up to 12 days per month until September 2016, after which the time commitment will be up to 10 days per month. That gives him an annual payment of up to £64,800 for the first year.
This appointment is regulated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.