CAMPAIGNS: Internal Communications - Haringey PR unit surveys 'smart' staff

Client: London Borough of Haringey

PR Team: In-house comms unit

Campaign: Smart Thinking

Timescale: December 2000 - ongoing

Budget: £1,000



Although not the worst offender in the list of underperforming London

councils, the borough of Haringey has had a troubled past.



But 2001 has seen the council undergo major changes in a bid to ensure

it moves nearer to the top of the list.



A management clearout has led the current administration to state that

its new mission is to be among the top performing councils by 2005 -

ambitious given its current near bottom placing.



Chief executive David Warwick was appointed in May 2000 and, along with

members of the council's new management, has been keen to be seen as

personally championing the changes.



Internal communications has been seen as an integral part of service

improvement and image overhaul, and Forward.programme@haring-ey was

launched by the council in September.



Objectives



The strategy was to be built on existing internal communications

channels including the staff newsletter, staff briefing system and

intranet, and would see the introduction of an annual staff survey and

staff suggestion scheme.



Forward.programme@hari-ngey was developed to promote a 'can-do' culture

among the 9,000 staff and inform them of the council's objectives. The

'Smart Thinking' and 'Smart Listening' schemes have been devised to try

to make staff feel valued as the changes take place.



Strategy and Plan



As a result of feedback from the staff survey undertaken in the summer

of 2000, Smart Thinking and Smart Listening were to be launched in

December 2000.



All suggestions received are measured against a number of criteria.



In order to be implemented suggestions would have to be positive,

achievable, represent a potential cost saving and/or a clear benefit to

the service.



Staff would earn £50 for each adopted suggestion. If suggestions

were not implemented then an explanation would be provided.



Warwick was to make every other Friday afternoon available for staff to

drop in with suggestions or comments.



Both schemes were to be publicised through posters displayed on

notice-boards throughout the council, information on the intranet, a

helpline number, the staff newsletter and team briefings.



Measurement and Evaluation



To date, 121 staff suggestions have been submitted. Of these, 17 have

met the criteria and £50 cash awards have been given out.



Examples of successful suggestions include an emergency notice-board on

the council's intranet to keep staff up-to-date with traffic incidents

and roadworks; installing photo booths in the council's one-stop shops,

and; converting loft space in suitable council housing to create extra

bedrooms.



Results



A recent Local Government Improvement Programme visit by the IDeA

(Improvement and Development Agency) made reference to the success of

the Smart Thinking and Smart Listening campaign.



It stated that staff showed a good understanding of the council's

central mission and acknowledged their personal role in improving

services that the council offers to the public.



The report also noted the numerous positive references to Warwick's

hands-on role in improving communications, and that 'morale and

motivation among staff appeared to be generally high'.



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