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Manage Communications Public Affairs Websites Crisis Communications Reputation Management Staff Engagement Social Media Inward Investment

Managing Communication in Public Sector Organisations

 

CWC Director, Carl Welham, has over fifteen years experience of managing local government communications at the highest level at Nottingham, Reading, Sheffield, Buckinghamshire and the London Borough of Hackney.
 
Carl offers interim management of corporate communications through a choice of arrangements designed to suit the budget and priorities of individual organizations.
 
Drawing on his vast experience, Carl will lead the corporate communication and engagement function while simultaneously reconfiguring the service to meet the needs of the organization and its budget.  His approach is to find and develop the in-house team's best talent and build a strong team based on their skills.
 
This approach brings about the minimum of disruption and while delivering the speediest and most cost effective change.
 
For example in Hackney, Carl has delivered the target cashable savings within the service and is introducing a new way of managing communications across the authority which will make a considerable contribution to the overall budget position.
 
By doing this while also managing the corporate function the council is getting both hands-on senior leadership of its corporate service and high level strategic change management.
 
Carl says: "In Hackney we have achieved a lot in a very short time.  We have reviewed the management and team structures to focus on priorities, bring forward the best talent in the team and deliver cashable savings both within the communications service and across the council.  And we've done all that while improving the quality of the communications and consultation work and enhancing the profile of the council and the borough."
 
Carl has a keen customer care ethos honed through managing the corporate customer service functions alongside communications in both Sheffield and Buckinghamshire.  This has given him advanced skills in managing a frontline service and instilling a customer care ethos for both internal and external customers
 
Please contact CWC for details of how Carl can help you manage and change your corporate communication function.

 
   
 

Public Affairs 

 
Public Affairs is often portrayed as a dark and mysterious art practised by demons in dark rooms. It is nothing of the sort.

 

Every large organisation needs a public affairs strategy.  It is the way an organisation defines its priorities on the national, regional and local stage with those stakeholders who can have an affect on capacity to operate.
 
It’s everything from making sure that the organisation is considered as a serious contender for new contracts or funding; keeping stakeholders and partners on board and up to date with developments; and in the case of councils, demonstrating community leadership for an area or place.
 
Well managed public affairs for a public body means that you have clear organisational objectives and that Government listens when you speak.  It means that you have a shared set of objectives for all the public sector partners in your area and that key opinion formers and influencers know where you’re going and what you have achieved along the way.
 
If you have an effective public affairs strategy in place people will know who you are, what you’re trying to achieve and when you’ve achieved it.  It can lead to £millions in inward investment or a common will to reduce levels of crime and improve health in an area.  It can mean that people look to you to lead the community and trust you to deliver.

 

In 2010/11 Carl worked with LGcommunications, London Councils, the CIPR, the LGA and the London Borough of Hackney in partnership to help manage the response to the Government's proposed changes to the Code of Local Authority Publicity.  This involved writing submissions to a select committee looking at the proposals, briefing participants and managing the PR response. The group successfully managed to get its points of view across and these are reflected in the committee's final report
   
 

Your website is a window into your organisation

 

 

In the last decade websites have gone from being optional extras to being the main way that most people find out who you are.

 

Ask yourself when was the last time you wanted find something out and your first port of call was anything other than the web.

 

There is almost no organisation big or small that does not have a presence on the web.  Not only that but everyone is competing for your attention through on-line marketing and ways that they can get their organisation to the top of the results pages on various search engines such as Google.
 
In fact given the importance of coming top - through a technique called search engine optimisation - we find it interesting that many organisations spend little or no time working on their websites.
 
CWC believes that a website should be the foundation stone of your relationship with your clients, customers and stakeholders.  It should have useful interesting information about who you are and what you do but it should be a continually changing and interesting experience for visitors to the site.
 
In good times it should show you at your best and in difficult times it should be your mouthpiece and put your point of view across.
 
CWC has extensive website management experience from the creation and management of large organisational sites to the news, information and jobs site for public and charity sector communicators: the Communications Journal.
 
Speak to us about how we could develop and manage your online and social media presence.

 

Some examples of websites created and managed by CWC include:

 

The Communications Journal - a free to use information resource for public sector communicators.

 

Hackney House - a site created for the pop up touring expo centre for Hackney's business sector.

 

Invest in Hackney - the inward investment site for Hackney.

 

 

CWC websites

 

www.communicationsjournal.co.uk
 
CWC manages this free website for communications professional working in public and voluntary sector organisations.  The news and jobs feeds on this site are taken from the Communications Journal

 

 

 

Crisis Management

 

Every public sector organisation will find that things go wrong.  It’s inevitable when you deliver hundreds of frontline public services and have to manage everything from collecting the rubbish to protecting children.
 
Crises happen when the organisation fails to respond quickly and fails to communicate its position or buries its head in the sand hoping the problem will go away.
 
Managing a crisis is not about covering up the problem.  It’s about facing it head on, accepting where mistakes have been made and communicating a credible message about sorting things out.
 
The public don’t expect perfection but they do expect large organisations to be accountable and to face up to their responsibilities.  Handled properly crises can enhance an organisation’s reputation.
 
CWC bring a wealth of experience to crisis management – working with leaders of organisations in partnership with key agencies to maintain and enhance reputation during and after the event.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Reputation Management in the Public Sector

 

Reputations can take years to create and minutes to destroy.
 
CWC Director Carl Welham has worked with individual services who found that their relationships with clients and customers were at a low ebb and needed to improve them.
 
He has worked with organisational leaders to build their reputation within those organisations and to enhance the reputations of the organisations themselves.
 
In the public sector almost everything is done in partnership; whether it’s the Government or other local service providers and an organisation’s reputation can determine whether it is given a licence to operate and funding to deliver its objectives.  There are bottom line outcomes from excellent reputation management.

 

Rather like proving yourself in a driving test sometimes your reputation can be forged when things go wrong.  In public service things will never always go perfectly.  What distinguishes organisations with good reputation and those with bad ones is how you deal with problems when they occur.  Reputations are forged in the public consciousness by how you deal with a crisis and by what you do about it.  It can be in these moments that your true reputation is made.

 

CWC has worked with organisations through the good times and the bad and has used both circumstances to build positive reputations
  
For more about the importance and use of reputation to create a brand see our section on Branding.
   
 

Internal Communications and Staff Engagement

 

Thanks to social media and the internet it is now possible for staff to find out what’s happening in an organisation before the directors do.
 
E-communications has transformed the way people communicate and the new generation of employees and contractors expect to be able to communicate with whomever they want any time they want.
 
Organisations can either adapt to this or end up looking like anachronisms from the last century.  Most important of all is that employees expect timely, open and honest messages to come from their leaders all of the time.
 
Good organisational leaders have adapted and are doing this and they communicate constantly even when the communication is that there’s nothing to say or there’s nothing that can be said at this stage.
 
It is the job of professional communicators to play to the strengths of the organisations’ leaders and to use every medium available to them in an appropriate format varying the tone to suit the message.
 
It’s a vital component of the communications mix and an essential tool for managing effectively in the 21st Century.  It’s also a major contributor to corporate culture.  Asked what motivates staff in the workplace it’s not pay or conditions it’s the feeling that you’re part of the organisation, know what’s going on and can influence its direction.  Effective two-way communication empowers staff and makes leadership easier.
 
CWC Director Carl Welham brings a wealth of experience of managing internal communications and employee engagement to positive effect as demonstrated by ever increasing staff satisfaction levels in organisations he has managed.
   
 

Social Media

 

Managing your communications in the modern world of electronic communications, social media and a range of audiences who have a sophisticated understanding about the way messages are created and delivered requires a new type of approach.
 
It's now about building a series of Public Relationships.
 
There is no single way to communicate with the people you are trying to reach - and these can include those within your organisation itself.
 
As well as managing the reputation, key messages and profile of your organisation in the traditional media, you now need to think about what people are saying about you in the complex and exciting world of social media.
 
Still wondering whether social media is worth bothering with and whether it's something just for teenagers?
 
Well, consider for one moment the mass demonstrations and protests organised recently across the globe.  Social media is a real and powerful means of communicating and because its content is created by real people it is trusted now more than any other medium.
 
If you aren't in the social media space then you are giving away your reputation to people who have never met and certainly can never hope to influence.
 
The good news is that it is possible to manage all of this and actively and positively shape your organisational reputation in all of these communication environments.
 
Talk to CWC about managing your social media presence.

 

 
   
 

Delivering Inward Investment

 

Throughout 2012 Carl worked with the London Borough of Hackney to help deliver the country's first local government led business pop up expo space.  Called Hackney House the centre saw 30,000 tech, creative and business people come together to celebrate the unique offer the borough has in terms of its diverse sectors and innate culture. 

It helped put Hackney on the map as a business investment destination and at the centre of the Government's tech city initiative.

Following the success of Hackney House in 2012 Carl is working with Hackney to extend its offer and support for business and manage inward investment into the borough.

The reason for this activity is simple: the borough wants to create and retain high quality jobs for local people.  The results of the recent MJ sponsored survey (Feb 2013) into economic activity at local government borough level would suggest that Hackney's position in the top ten is proof that its approach is working.