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by H/Advisors Cicero

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Health has moved to the very top of the European Commission’s agenda and to the epicentre of policymaking over the last three years, as the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the urgent imperative to build a resilient and strong European Health Union.

We have seen the strengthening of agencies (ECDC, EMA), the creation of a new authority (HERA), and a range of new actions and goals for digital transformation and global health security. However, with medicines accounting for roughly one-fifth of Europe’s health spend, the major channel through which the EU shapes health systems is invariably via pharmaceutical legislation. The Commission’s November 2020 Pharmaceutical Strategy is a response not only to internal market issues, but also to global competition pressure in the sector.

A key pillar of the Strategy – the highly anticipated legislative proposals overhauling the EU’s pharmaceutical legislation – is finally expected to be published in March. The Commission says it is trying to balance a range of interests: equitable access for patients to therapies and cures, the success and
competitiveness of industry, the sustainability of national health systems and incentives that encourage research into AMR.

Industry is hoping that the revision of the decades-old legislation will seek to fix long-standing problems, create a first-class, 21stcentury regulatory framework that will help reduce regulatory burden, speed up access and ensure Europe is a globally competitive region for medical innovation. Patient advocates are hopeful the legislation will help bring down prices by allowing greater competition across the bloc and by introducing more transparency to the cost of medicines.

Once published, the stage is set for at least two years of very intensive discussions between the institutions and stakeholders. With high aims, high stakes, strong competing positions, and a European populace more engaged in health than ever before, this re-evaluation of many of the basic concepts of pharmaceutical law will have widely felt economic and social consequences.

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With a General Election expected in 2024, politics has never felt so tumultuous. With Keir Starmer’s Labour Party 20 points ahead in the polls, the next election seems like a foregone conclusion – or does it? Could the ‘comeback kid’ Rishi Sunak defy all polls and lead the Conservative Party to an unexpected victory? His recent departmental reshuffle shows he’s serious about policy delivery but will it work?

Cicero’s Associate Directors, Alice Perry and Sonia Khan explore the state of the current Labour and Conservative parties, how this reflects on their chances for electoral victory and what it will mean for business.

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H/Advisors Cicero is the retained public affairs agency for L&G and has been tasked with providing policy and regulatory support, engagement and insight across both the UK and EU.

In addition, with infrastructure being of strategic importance to government both in terms of the Covid-19 recovery and in the Levelling-Up agenda, our Campaigns and Corporate Communications teams were briefed to develop a campaign to reinforce L&G as the leading institutional investor in the UK built environment sector, and in doing so support their overall brand awareness.

Strategy & Execution

Our strategy was to create a distinctive quarterly index that drives regular content to engage with key audiences across web, social media, print / broadcast media and direct engagement. The index also sought to offer a platform for L&G to showcase the impact of their UK investment portfolio.

We designed the L&G Rebuilding Britain Index (RBI) to provide a key benchmark of the UK’s success in ‘levelling up’ the economy across the left behind communities and households in the wake of the global pandemic, identifying the  UK’s investment priorities, regional investment gaps and barriers to increasing investment.

In addition, our team provides day-to-day arms and legs to support to L&G – including stakeholder mapping across Government, Parliament, Whitehall and regulators, providing support on a range of select committee inquiries, engagement briefings and logistics and analysis on key set-piece political events.

The Rebuilding Britain Index campaign really highlights our ability to use the entire H/Advisors Cicero toolkit in order to deliver strong client outcomes across all disciplines – including media, brand and policy

Andrew Roberts – Chief Creative Officer


Across social channels, the first three waves of the index alone achieved in excess of 1,000,000 impressions across Twitter and LinkedIn, with engagement (i.e. likes, shares and comments) of over 40,000 and more than 30,000 video content views. Compared against L&G’s press email benchmarks, all emails concerning the RBI exceeded the click rate.

The dwell time on the RBI hub was six times higher than the website’s average. Equally, the articles published in conjunction with the 2021 waves of the RBI are in the top 10% of L&Gs most viewed articles.

The campaign was covered by major press outlets, including BBC, Sky, Telegraph, Times, Daily Mail, CNBC, Bloomberg, and reached over 1.5 million people. It has also driven enquiries from around 150 central and local government officials. Furthermore, L&G CEO Nigel Wilson often uses RBI data to inform his work on the Prime Minister’s Build Back Better Business Council (BBBBC).

The campaign has also been a success in public affairs channels – using the quarterly reports to drive an MP meeting programme and using the campaign to host a Parliamentary receptions in the House of Commons – including handling all logistics.

If you wish to discuss any of the issues mentioned in this article, please contact Andrew in H/Advisors Cicero’s campaigns team on

As part of the Climate Action Policy in Ireland, each year the Department for Environment, Climate and Conversation is required to go out and speak with members of the public from all walks of life to understand their views on climate change.

H/Advisors Cicero were appointed to support in the end-to-end delivery of the project across a nine month period. Ultimately, the Climate Conversations are designed to act as a feedback loop between the public and the Government to inform better, targeted policy that will drive climate action. Key to our commitment in achieving this was speaking to as many varied voices on climate change from across all populations in Ireland.

Strategy & Execution

Delivering the Climate Conversations is a multifaceted project, which involved designing a research approach that could pull together the multiple strands of both qualitative and quantitative research to produce one summary report with clear policy recommendations. As such, H/Advisors Cicero were responsible for producing a literature review, to summarise the current best practice on driving behaviour change around climate change.

Based on the findings of the literature review, we drafted an online public consultation, recruited and moderated 10 focus groups with hard to reach audiences from across Ireland (including farmers, remote island communities and the travelling community) and engaged with all PPN groups from across Ireland. We also conducted a series of in-depth interviews with expert stakeholders to identify areas of best practice and community-based learnings.

The Climate Conversations were an opportunity to show how H/Advisors Cicero can work with public sector clients to deliver national campaigns and research initiatives. The scope of the research encouraged us to engage with members of the public from across Ireland, to make sure all voices and viewpoints were heard and represented. Being able to present the recommendations to the Minister in Ireland to inform strategy is a fantastic way we’ve been able to deliver meaningful change to drive forward the sustainability agenda in Ireland

Aideen Ginnell, Eu Director


Following four months of active outreach and engagement with members of the public across Ireland, we wrote up the key findings into the 2022 Climate Conversations Report.

In particular, we developed thinking further on the importance of climate literacy as a topic that influences drivers of behaviour change around taking climate action. We also identified where and who the public saw as responsible for delivering on climate action and at what level across individuals, communities and the government.

A summary of the key findings from the Climate Conversations were presented in working groups to over 100 members of the Civil Service, to actively inform the drafting of the Climate Action Plan 2023.

If you wish to discuss any of the issues mentioned in this article, please contact Aideen in H/Advisors Cicero’s Dublin team on

H/Advisors Cicero was tasked with updating the Novartis external facing lobbying guidelines and internal handbook. The brief involved a root and branch review of the lobbying landscape globally, to mitigate any reputational risk to Novartis and establish a principles-based approach to external stakeholder engagement.

Strategy & Execution

Detailed desk research of legislation surrounding lobbying was conducted and a review of institutions’ best practice guidelines, this included standalone reports of key markets including UK, US, EU and China. A further comparative report was delivered that compared the external lobbying guidelines published by other global pharmaceutical companies, to demonstrate the key attributes required for best practice.

Following the research phase, H/Advisors Cicero delivered a series of workshops with country leads across the Novartis global network to review their understanding of lobbying best practice and help align messaging for the new guidelines. For example, exploring whether the word “lobbying” was appropriate, or if an alternative term should be used instead. 

New guidelines were drafted utilizing the workshop insights. Previous Novartis policy documentation was cross-referenced to ensure consistency in language and length. Ongoing working sessions with the client were used to ensure a collaborative approach to delivering the new guidelines. 

As all companies face increasing scrutiny around practicing good governance, establishing clear and robust guidelines around how to lobby appropriately is an essential for global corporations to protect themselves reputationally. Delivering this project for Novartis involved understanding all the lobbying regulations globally, and identifying where the grey areas of risk lie in how companies engage. Our approach was to ensure Novartis not only met the requirements, but sought to be best in class, through empowering all their colleagues globally to follow the revised Guideline.

Sarah Bosworth, Account Director


We successfully delivered the new guideline draft for Novartis, which redefined its scope to include public policy and stakeholder engagement. The revised guideline adopted a principles-based approach, designed to increase the accountability and responsibility of all colleagues to make informed and responsible decisions.

We also helped to promote the guidelines internally with an animated explainer video and are currently working on developing the internal handbook. 

If you wish to discuss any of the issues mentioned in this article, please contact Sarah in H/Advisors Cicero’s Research team on