Editorial: Seeking the best value from PR

This week’s conference on the role of communications in delivering ’best value’ in local government touches on two themes that affect the whole PR industry: the role of PR as management discipline, and accountability.

This week’s conference on the role of communications in delivering

’best value’ in local government touches on two themes that affect the

whole PR industry: the role of PR as management discipline, and

accountability.



The principle of ’best value’ is that councils will be more focused on

quality and on the views of the community when deciding how to provide

their services. Failure to deliver ’best value’ could lead to local

authorities being penalised by central Government. This process will

inevitably push the role of the PR team centre stage, for they will now

be responsible for ensuring not only that the council’s message is

delivered effectively to the community but that the community’s views

are heard and acted upon at all times.



Local government PR has increased dramatically in professionalism in

recent years, but relatively few authorities have senior communications

people reporting directly to the CEO. This situation will have to change

if local authorities are to be able to deliver ’best value’.



For the real significance of ’best value’ will be to put communications

at the heart of the policy making process. At the same time it will

force local government PR departments to become much more accountable

for their own performance. These are both lessons that all too many

commercial companies have yet to learn.



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