Public Sector: Councils to maintain winter comms spend

A number of county councils are ring-fencing their comms budgets to handle the fallout from disruptive snowfalls, despite deep cuts to comms overall.

As the country prepares for another harsh winter, councils including Lancashire, Leicestershire and Monmouthshire have looked to ensure that their comms budgets will remain substantial throughout the winter.

Lancashire County Council head of comms Tim Seamans said: 'We recognise that it is extremely important to keep residents informed and the past two very difficult winters have increased that need.'

Lancashire's activities have included producing a short film released on Halloween, entitled Gritters: The Movie, to communicate key messages about the work the council is doing to prepare for winter.

Leicestershire County Council's interim head of comms Paul Masterman has stated that winter-related comms will not be cut, despite a reduction in overall comms spend for the year: 'How county councils such as Leicestershire keep people moving through bad weather is a top reputational issue for us, and one of the main ways our residents judge the performance of their county council.'

Masterman added that the council was extending its comms to include a 'much more responsive' programme of real-time alerts using Twitter and the council website.

Monmouthshire County Council comms manager Robert Webb said that his council was keeping the same winter comms budget as last year, adding that its number one priority was communicating school closure information, using social media and the council website, alongside media relations activity.

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