Wednesday, 2 June 2010
LGcommunications Conference - Leeds 2010
Guest post by David Holdstock, Chair of LGcommunications and Head of Corporate Communications at London Borough of Hillingdon.
As the changing political and economic landscape brings tough new challenges, local government communicators need to communicate more effectively and learn from leaders in the industry.
This new era of austerity is going to impact on all of us and it made this year's LGcommunications conference, held in Leeds last week, the most important conference for public sector communicators in the last five years - maybe the last decade.
With nearly 400 delegates, more than 50 speakers and a range of best practice seminars, the clear message was that communicators have a key role to play in helping to shape the way organisations respond to the tough decisions ahead. Some have grasped the initiative and communications is already driving a huge amount of transformation in local government. In other areas, there is still some way to go. It is clear that as professional communicators, we need to work with leadership teams as improving reputation is a collective challenge. If we work with our senior teams to provide strong leadership, if we have a clear sense of purpose and deliver strategic, cost-effective communications, then we can rise to the challenge.
The centerpiece of the conference was the launch of the new LGcommunications/Local Government Association reputation campaign, which focuses on three key themes - Leadership, branding and communications. These need to be at the heart of every local authority communications outfit if we are going to be able to deliver value for money services and an enhanced reputation for local government in the current climate. It provides the framework for local government communicators to deliver improved reputation and ultimately increase resident satisfaction.
We also announced at the conference a new strategic partnership between LGcommunications and the PRCA. This offers an exclusive and unique arrangement for LGcommunications members who sign up as in-house members. This will add new training and development opportunities for LGcommunications’ members, namely exclusive discounted rates on PRCA face to face training and unlimited free online training, but also links to professional networks that members may otherwise not be able to access. Real benefits for in-house PR professionals in the public sector.
As professional communicators we are in a powerful and in many ways, unique position. We should no longer be going to our chief executives asking for additional money and resources. Instead, we should be going with solutions of how we can help our organisations meet the financial and political challenges that lie ahead for all of us.