Focus: Communications - Three minutes with ... David Barker, head of communications, BHF

What award did the British Heart Foundation win last week?

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations' best not-for-profit in-house PR team award. I'm delighted because we were up against some stiff competition, such as the NSPCC and Greenwich Council, which handled the PR for Jamie's School Dinners.

It's particularly nice to beat the NSPCC - I've known John Grounds a long time and there's a bit of friendly rivalry there.

Why did you win?

Three reasons, I think. We run a few big, high-profile campaigns, we have a very sophisticated evaluation programme and we've been building our reactive ability.

We ran two major campaigns last year - the 'dripping fat' cigarette campaign and the 'well fit' campaign aimed at 11-year-olds. The smoking campaign has won a lot of awards and increased the numbers of people giving up.

The 'well fit' campaign attracted a lot of celebrity endorsement and our post-campaign evaluation showed it was very successful.

Why is evaluation so important?

I'm passionate about evaluation. We use Metrica to help us measure our impact. If as a charity we use donors' money to run a campaign, we'd better be able to show what effect it is having and learn from the results so we can improve in the future.

We also look hard at the general news environment for opportunities to drive home our key messages. For instance, the Government recently announced that, by 2012, nobody under 65 would die from heart disease, which was a clear manipulation of the figures.

We came out as the voice of reason and positioned ourselves as the patient's voice.

What does this award mean to you?

We've won awards for individual projects before, but to be recognised for our work as a team really is the icing on the cake.

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