Local government reputation code faces revision

A trailblazing campaign aimed at boosting the image of local government is set for a radical rethink following criticism at the LGcomms conference.

Host: Birmingham City Council staged the LGcomms conference
Host: Birmingham City Council staged the LGcomms conference

The reputation campaign, which was launched five years ago and backed by the Local Government Association (LGA) and LGcomms, laid out a step-by-step guide to improving a council’s brand.  

However, the LGA’s new chairman David Holdstock told PRWeek that changing circumstances could lead to the code being revised.

Holdstock said: ‘It’s about looking at where the next phase of best practice might take us and where local government comms will go next. It’s the right time to look at the key drivers of resident satisfaction and see if are there things we need to do.’

His words come after head of comms at London Fire Brigade Richard Stokoe told the recent LGcomms Academy conference that the campaign had failed, a statement that Holdstock rejected.

Claiming that improving a council’s reputation amid cuts to services just made things worse, Stokoe said: ‘I was one of those saying how great the campaign was going to be, but I was wrong.’  

The reputation campaign guidelines were last revised two years ago when LGcomms joined the LGA’s project.

The campaign advised councils on ways to focus on changing residents’ lives for the better, improving services and building trust and confidence in what they did. Since then, cuts to local government services have kicked in, with more expected.

LGcomms’ new chairman Cormac Smith denied claims the campaign had been a failure, saying it ‘had its successes’, but acknowledged ‘it had not been enough’.

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