Public sector leaders are making tough choices at the moment, and communications will not escape untouched. We’re a tough choice too: every pound spent on communicating services is a pound not spent on delivering them.
That should not be news by now. Announcements like that of Manchester City Council http://bit.ly/dDXLOp this week show the way things are going. Even my own job is not immune to Blackburn with Darwen’s www.blackburn.gov.uk cuts programme.
These changes, to Councils and to their communications services will test our skills as communicators. LGinsight’s latest research shows how public satisfaction is reducing. This is the time when good communicators have to use all their knowledge, experience and ability to fight for their organisation’s reputation while dealing with reduced budgets and staff numbers.
Those ‘nice to do’ tasks just aren’t nice enough anymore- we need to be ruthlessly focussed on key priorities. There will be enough that we must do. And what we must do, we must do as well as we can. We have to base it on the best possible understanding of what people want, what works and what does not. We must evaluate what we do, and ensure that lessons from each evaluation are learned and applied rather than merely noted.
As if that is not enough, we also need to ensure we continue to develop our skills and knowledge. Because the world will continue to change, the political environment will continue to change, local government will continue to change.
But we can support each other, by sharing best practice, discussing common issues and by working together. Which is why LGcommunications membership www.lgcomms.org.uk/contact/membership is one cut we won’t be making.
Tom Calver, LGcomms Executive Member and Blackburn with Darwen Council