Public Sector: Aiken: 'Messages on reform must improve'

Westminster City Council's comms director has criticised the Government's reform agenda for lacking a coherent story and says the drive to embed messages around the Big Society has 'stalled'.

Alex Aiken speaks out in this week's public sector column, as the coalition Government approaches its first anniversary.

'It's clear that the reform agenda is under strain,' writes Aiken. 'The NHS Confederation has just told the Government that changes to health services are imperilled by poor comms and require "a compelling narrative about why the reforms matter". This is evidently correct, as the personal intervention by the Prime Minister in the NHS debate demonstrates.'

Aiken adds that reforms in education and police services also suffer from the absence of a coherent story. He advises PR managers to take part in the wider debate about the reform, role and objectives of public services in the years ahead to shape the public conversation.

'Chief executives have long asked for better advice from government communicators, and now is the time to give it as organisations struggle to come to terms with the immediate impact of cuts,' writes Aiken.

To read the full column, go to and click on public sector.

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