The CIPR Local Public Services Group have launched a research project in recognition that public services have been challenged and reshaped like never before.
They wanted to find out how communications professionals were coping, adapting and reinventing themselves in a context of budget cuts and increasing expectations.
Key themes and issues
I know that at Lambeth we not alone, as a comms team having been through numerous restructures and changes to ways of working. The initial move to centralise the team was an absolute godsend and helps us to focus on corporate priorities and work much more effectively. Further reductions in staff, particularly at more junior levels of the team have presented more challenges in terms of delivering business continuity and reactive projects.
As identified in the report, the key to success is prioritisation, clear work planning and evidence of our impact through evaluation. This is not always easy with the resources available and variety of services and stakeholders involved.
It is widely reflected across the sector and in Lambeth that demand for internal communications and culture change staff engagement has also increased exponentially.
As evidenced in the report, most organisations, like Lambeth are putting a big focus on digital communications, channel shift and social media.
As a back-office service for an organisation with reducing resources, part of the response has been to establish Lambeth communications as a trading company. This ability to diversify and work on projects for other organisations shows the flexibility of the profession to respond to the funding cuts.
The report and wider conversations across the industry continues to support the move to professionalise through qualifications, continuing professional development and other initiatives which I personally support.
Resilience and wellbeing
Change is the only constant in local government comms and lots of other professions and sectors. It is important that teams support each other, take time to reflect and that managers consult on any changes to maximise valuable input from their teams.
The conversation continues
I would love to hear how this work and dialogue continues and be part of these conversations, so let’s keep talking! You can contact me on twitter @katygibbins1