LGA chairman Merrick Cockell slams 'cringeworthy' comms

The Local Government Association's new chairman has hit out at 'cringeworthy' public sector comms.

Sir Merrick Cockell: no more 'defence mode'
Sir Merrick Cockell: no more 'defence mode'

Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council leader Sir Merrick Cockell was announced as the new chair on 28 June, beating Leicestershire County Council leader David Parsons to the post.

In his inaugural speech as chairman at last week's LGA conference, Cockell said: 'We know that nothing has a greater impact on our public reputation than perceptions about the extent to which we deliver value for money, the degree to which we are seen as flexible and responsive, and the level of overall competence that the public ascribes to us.'

He added that some council communication with the public can be 'cringeworthy'.

'Our public reputation will, in time, be strengthened if the LGA acknowledges that is the case and is seen to be spending more time helping things improve than in defence mode.'

The conference also heard a call from deputy leader of Sutton Council Ruth Dombey for public bodies to rethink their approach to comms.

Dombey said: 'Many of the old ways of doing things in the public sector simply don't work in a time of declining resources. The days of bolt-on comms teams that exist only to pump out positive news stories are over.'

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