At a seminar held by Media Trust, senior comms practitioners warned that the Government would not listen to activism and rhetoric. Many charity PR chiefs also said they were confused over their role in the Big Society.
Terrence Higgins Trust policy and public affairs director Lisa Power said the Government was rapidly pushing out White Papers, but the charity sector was finding it difficult to communicate with the administration.
‘It’s very hard to see how they will fit together,’ she said. ‘It has taken people a while to think about how they talk to government about their concerns.’
Independent public affairs consultant Lionel Zetter said: ‘Align yourself wherever possible with the coalition’s public policies. Tone down the campaigning and rhetoric. Put away the megaphone and pick up the telephone.’
Zetter advised voluntary organisations to focus on members of the House of Lords: ‘They have enormous expertise and are not as busy as MPs. And they are a little bit bored, some of them’.
He said select committees would become ‘much more powerful’, and Power suggested that all-party groups would be a ‘very useful tool’.
Meanwhile, many charities admitted they were confused about Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’. It has been suggested that charitable bodies could have a bigger role to play in public services.
But Macmillan Trust media and PR manager Anna Brosnan said: ‘The Government is not going to charities and saying "how can you help us?" I’m surprised they’re not coming to us to ask our opinions on what to do.’