Public Sector: Bosses plan comms reviews

Communications Management study points to widespread changes.

More than eight out of 10 public sector bosses are planning to review their comms operations in the coming year, a new survey suggests.

The poll of 105 public sector chiefs by Communications Management underlines the scale of the shake-up that comms faces as Chancellor George Osborne plans to make £6bn cuts to the public sector.

CEOs and senior directors across health, education and local government were polled. The survey found that 84 per cent had external comms on their radars for change.

Only 16 per cent of public sector chiefs are not planning to change or review their external communications in the next year, while 23 per cent said comms is the key priority for change in this time frame.

Communications Management MD Pam Calvert said: 'What stands out for us in this research is that public sector chiefs are crying out for communications practitioners in their organisations to take a lead in shaping the way organisations talk to those customers feeling the pain of cutbacks.

'Ultimately, the next 12 months will be a defining time for public sector communicators, who must seize the opportunity to put communications at the heart of change and not be left behind.'

Some 39 per cent highlighted internal communication as the biggest obstacle to change. Nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) said their organisations were poorly equipped for the challenges ahead.

How I see it

JOHN SHEWELL, Head of comms, Brighton & Hove City Council

All comms teams must review their operations and start unifying communications across the whole organisation and consider doing the same across the local public sector immediately.

The axe is falling and comms heads must demonstrate that they have a firm grip over their organisation's comms needs and priorities.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, has outlined plans to make £6.2bn in cuts to address the budget deficit.

We know this is only the beginning and that the cuts will be deeper; so everyone in public services must review how they do things and communications is no different.

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