Unless local government instigates fundamental changes to the way
it operates, PR is unlikely to be able to restore its image, Paul
Corrigan, fellow of the Office of Public Management, told the IPR local
government group at their annual weekend conference in Chester last
’Local Government doesn’t reflect the community so minorities and youth
walk away from it,’ Corrigan said. He added that local communities are
oblivious to communications from councils because they don’t believe in
local government’s ability to serve, represent and reflect the needs of
the people who live there.
He urged councils to communicate through their actions rather than use
words, images and campaigns to win back the confidence of the
He said: ’The truth is that however good the words are, the reality
wins. Reality communicates stronger than words and the job now is
communicating through practice.’
Communication should not be about the image or the profile of the
council but about the services it can offer, Corrigan said.
Before changing the way it offers its services to residents Corrigan
said local councils must first accept the fragmented, diverse reality of
local communities. Councils must gear themselves to communicating to
these groups of people rather than expecting communities to grow
organically as they did in the past.
Corrigan said that unless councils can recognise this fragmentation and
reflect the image of each of the diverse elements of local communities
the public’s relationship will continue to deteriorate.