Councils are urged to be ’realistic’

Unless local government instigates fundamental changes to the way it operates, PR is unlikely to be able to restore its image, Paul Corrigan, fellow of the Office of Public Management, told the IPR local government group at their annual weekend conference in Chester last week.

Unless local government instigates fundamental changes to the way

it operates, PR is unlikely to be able to restore its image, Paul

Corrigan, fellow of the Office of Public Management, told the IPR local

government group at their annual weekend conference in Chester last

week.



’Local Government doesn’t reflect the community so minorities and youth

walk away from it,’ Corrigan said. He added that local communities are

oblivious to communications from councils because they don’t believe in

local government’s ability to serve, represent and reflect the needs of

the people who live there.



He urged councils to communicate through their actions rather than use

words, images and campaigns to win back the confidence of the

public.



He said: ’The truth is that however good the words are, the reality

wins. Reality communicates stronger than words and the job now is

communicating through practice.’



Communication should not be about the image or the profile of the

council but about the services it can offer, Corrigan said.



Before changing the way it offers its services to residents Corrigan

said local councils must first accept the fragmented, diverse reality of

local communities. Councils must gear themselves to communicating to

these groups of people rather than expecting communities to grow

organically as they did in the past.



Corrigan said that unless councils can recognise this fragmentation and

reflect the image of each of the diverse elements of local communities

the public’s relationship will continue to deteriorate.



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