APS Events & Media

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by APS Events & Media's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from APS Events & Media is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Founding Director Ray Buckley
A busy APS project
team office
APS specialise in international event management and
the creation of digital media. They also regularly host
pan-national virtual meetings that can seamlessly link
international clients, all controlled from their base in Abney
Hall. The company have always been committed to fostering
innovation and are focused on developing new communication
formats. Established in 1982, they have grown exponentially
and have diversified the services they offer to become an
internationally renowned service. Founding Director Ray Buckley
The Parliamentary Review
From the beginning, our driving ambition has always been to enjoy our work. This
philosophy has underpinned our growth from a three-person production studio to
include over 50 staff delivering media projects and live events around the world.
We began in 1982 as a sound studio in central Manchester, producing radio and
TV commercial soundtracks and marketing films for UK advertising agencies.
We began to develop support for live events for our clients and expanded into
supporting pharmaceutical companies, with the studio providing multimedia
support for these events. Business grew as existing clients moved to new
companies and promoted us wherever they went. New industry sectors, such
as financial services and energy, also began to show potential. By the time we
moved to our current premises at Abney Hall in 2014, 28 staff were managing an
international client base, predominantly in the pharmaceutical sector. Four years
later, we employ over 50 staff, with turnover for 2018 exceeding £8 million.
»Founding Director: Ray Buckley
»Founded in 1982
»Based in south Manchester
»Services: International event
management and digital
media creation
»No. of employees: 51
APS Events & Media
Our modern offices are set in stately
Abney Hall, complete with parkland
and a lake. A recent event saw all staff
and their partners flown to Prague for
a special Christmas weekend. A profit
share scheme sees an appreciable
percentage of annual profits returned
to all staff. Clients regularly ask if we
have any job vacancies, and there is
no better way of knowing how much
your clients enjoy working with you.
Over previous years, we have used a
number of marketing and business
development tools, but by far the
most successful is the referrals from
Worldwide partnerships
Over 90 per cent of the events that
we deliver are overseas, ranging
from expert advisory meetings to
scientific symposia and international
pharmaceutical congresses.
Localsuppliers are essential to provide
high-quality support for services
ranging from set building and décor
to video, photography, audio-visual
equipment installation and digital
communication network setup. Over
the last 20 years, we have developed
a comprehensive supply chain with
experienced AV and support partners
in every major capital of the world.
The volume of repeat business given to
these partners means that significant
discounts are negotiated for the benefit
of all our clients. Those members of
our staff who travel to the events bring
back post-event evaluations to their
office colleagues, so quality of supply is
continually monitored and maintained
by everyone in the team.
A multimedia approach
Our origin as a media production
studio means that we have always
produced video content for live
events. This ranges from motivational
openings and informative videos
for presentations to edited content
for post-event viewing. Our media
department now also manages the
design of stage sets, exhibition booths,
print items, websites and event apps.
The increasing use of digital media in
client presentations means that our ten
full-time media staff can sometimes be
outnumbered by the supporting bank
of regular freelance designers, video
editors, motion graphics artists and
web developers.
Virtual meetings control
hub at Abney Hall
APS production team at
a Chicago congress
We regularly
host live pan-
national virtual
meetings, with
our dedicated
control hub at
Abney Hall
Highlighting best practice
The emergence of the latest online
communication formats and increasing
regulation within the international
pharmaceutical industry have
produced a challenging environment
for us. We develop websites on which
all content is specifically tailored to
the viewer’s country and professional
status. We regularly host live pan-
national virtual meetings, with our
dedicated control hub at Abney
Hall linking participants. Whatever
media we use, everything we create
must pass through the client’s strict
regulatory approval processes, which
can sometimes cause extra pressure on
delivery times.
Staying at the forefront of
Development of the latest
communication formats is always at
the forefront of our thoughts. We
developed our own app for use on
delegates’ mobile devices, providing
comprehensive two-way interaction
before, during and after live events.
It took 12 months of research and
programming to perfect our virtual
meeting hub and the reliable hardware
necessary for use in each country. We
are currently developing a VR interface
for linking both live meetings and
virtual meeting environments. The
use of augmented reality and VR on
exhibition stands can be invaluable
when attracting delegates. It takes
time and money to develop new
ideas, and we really welcome the
financial support in this area provided
by the government’s research and
development tax credit scheme.
We have been participants of this
for several years, and it is certainly
something other companies would do
well to investigate.
International air travel has grown
substantially in the last 20 years. At the
same time, internet communications
have led some to question the need
for business air travel at all. There
is still great benefit in unplanned,
face-to-face meetings with colleagues
in the informal environment of
an international congress and the
opportunity for feedback while
walking through exhibition halls. There
is no virtual equivalent to coffee or
lunch breaks in an online meeting.
We have yet to create a virtual
meeting environment that can rival live
Recently, there have been increasing
regulations and restrictions concerning
delegate travel to international
pharmaceutical events. The current use
of virtual pan-national meetings, with
delegates attending national events
linked together via an online hub, is
certainly set to grow. This trend will
be especially pronounced if travel is
limited to key speakers.
Our future growth will be based
on retaining our focus on our staff.
We aim to ensure that they are
always enjoying their work, share in
our profits and have the status of
shareholders. The growth that has
resulted from this philosophy has
certainly proved its success so far, and
we are confident that it will continue
to do so in the future.
It takes time and
money to
develop new
ideas, and we
really welcome
the financial
support in this
area provided
by the
research and
development tax
credit scheme
Using augmented reality
in learning environments


This article was sponsored by APS Events & Media. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy