Client: Local Government Association
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Launch of Local Government Association
Timescale: October 1996 - ongoing
Cost: pounds 80,000
The Local Government Association (LGA) was formed from merging the three
existing local authority associations - the Association of County
Councils, the Association of District Councils and the Association of
The LGA appointed Carol Grant as director of communications and public
affairs in September 1996 to implement the association’s official launch
on 1 April, 1997.
The association wanted to promote itself as the new single voice for
local government, securing maximum recognition among its members, the
media, political parties, partner agencies and opinion formers.
Grant’s primary concern in October 1996 was to attract attention to a
local government initiative that was more than likely to happen in the
midst of General Election fever. She decided on a rolling, three stage
On 27 January 1997 the LGA organised a seminar on the future of
relations between local and central government at the Cumberland Hotel
Attended by 250 delegates, the event was used by the association to
launch its new visual identity - created at a cost of pounds 20,000 by
HSAG Design - as well as its Web site.
For the second stage, the formal launch week of 24 March, the
association published a report called ’Speaking to Communities’, based
on findings from an LGA-commissioned MORI survey of public attitudes
towards local government. Sponsored by Tesco, the poll was based on face
to face interviews with 5,098 over 18s, across 499 sampling points in
England and Wales in the two weeks from 7 February. Regional survey data
was sent to members for use in local media work.
The LGA peppered the week with a series of launch receptions, including
a Corporation of London-sponsored dinner at The Guildhall on the
Talkback, the association’s newsletter, was launched during this week
and the Times ran an advertisement at the end of the week with the
slogan ’Local government will have more punch from the first of the
For the the third stage, a series of future events were planned,
culminating in the LGA’s first annual conference in Manchester for 2,000
delegates in July.
Since its launch, the Internet site has received over 13,000 hits and
LGA membership currently stands at 391 out of a possible 487
Brian Briscoe, LGA chief executive, conducted 16 local radio interviews
on 24 March and LGA supplements were carried in the UKPG and Municipal
Journal that week.
The MORI survey gained coverage ranging from the Daily Telegraph and
Financial Times to Radio 5 Live, while the Guardian Society supplement
on Wednesday and Radio 4’s Today programme on the Thursday ran special
Grant is convinced that, as the date of the general election was not
known last October, the three stage launch was the right approach. She
adds: ’A rolling launch gives you more than one bite at the cherry.’
But, as Rosie Brocklehurst, head of press for London Borough of
Greenwich - an LGA member - points out, it is less clear whether the
enormous amount of work that went into getting the local angle for its
members on a national story - actually proved to be cost effective.