Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
It says something about the distance still to travel in making local authorities seem relevant to people's lives th...
It says something about the distance still to travel in making local authorities seem relevant to people's lives that a quarter of members and senior officers still do not see communication as a major strategic factor in building a successful council. If talking to people is not a central part of the work of a public body, then what is?

The Local Government Association's survey of local authority communications has a wealth of interesting - in some cases eye-opening - information about how councils go about one of the most fundamental aspects of their work. And for the most part, its findings are encouraging and a tribute to the professionalism of communications staff and senior managers in local government today.

The LGA's chief executive, Brian Briscoe, rightly hails as a step change the rapid growth in public relations activity, the development of improved relationships with local people and the local media, and the willingness of so many authorities to take up the challenge set by the IdeA communications benchmarks.

But the weaknesses which emerge from the report are obvious. Fewer than half of those taking part in the survey regard effective monitoring and analysis of communication initiatives as important, and fewer than a third think it important to learn from campaigns. No authority would build a road or adopt a policy on care home inspection with such a disregard for the evidence, so why must communications staff work in the dark, unaware of what works and what doesn't?

And, while 48 per cent of local authorities have had to implement their crisis media plan at some time, a third still have no plan to implement.

Perhaps the most encouraging findings to emerge from the survey are the commitment on the part of many authorities to adopt best practice in their communications, and their willingness to invest new money in making them work.

The task for those working in authorities where this is not the case is to convince senior officers - and members - that communications is not a bolt-on added extra, but an integral part of the role of a public body.


LGA survey finds local government is putting its money where its mouth is

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.