DCLG rolls out major devolution campaign ahead of May mayoral elections

A major campaign to boost interest in the forthcoming mayoral elections is the most targeted comms initiative that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has ever undertaken.

The DCLG campaign around the mayoral elections has begun in earnest this week
The DCLG campaign around the mayoral elections has begun in earnest this week
The ‘Our Mayor Your Vote’ campaign, launched this month, has seen the government department focus on individual communities in very different parts of England.

A suite of materials has been produced for use in six ‘combined authorities’, which will elect their first ever mayors on 4 May: Cambridgeshire & Peterborough; Greater Manchester; Liverpool City Region; Tees Valley; West Midlands; and West of England.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority will not run its own regional campaign because it was only confirmed as an official body on Monday and it will use the DCLG’s toolkit instead.

Cities, including Cambridge, Peterborough and Wisbech, as well as the regions covered by East Cambridgeshire and Fenland are covered by the mayoral election, with an electorate of nearly 605,000. Turnout at the last election, for Police and Crime Commissioners, was 30 per cent.

This week saw the start of radio advertising that will run over the next couple of weeks, as well as posters and animated graphics for digital display boards.

This comes on the back of social media work focussed on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, earlier in March.

The key objectives of the campaign are to increase awareness and engagement to encourage people to take part in the elections.

Materials such as posters, social media posts, copy samples, digital assets such as web banners, and videos, have all been made available in an online toolkit.

It is a national campaign that delivers locally, according to Whitehall officials, with six individually tailored local campaigns with a similar look and feel.

Although the campaign has largely been conceived and disseminated from DCLG, the department will not take the lead in promoting it in the various regions.

Individual comms teams will be responsible for campaigns in their own areas, drawing on expertise from DCLG comms staff or regional members of the Government Communication Service, if needed.

The approach aims to raise awareness and engagement from potential voters – with a particular emphasis on young people and those from a black and minority ethnic background – in a bid by DCLG officials to avoid the low turnout traditionally associated with local elections.

Andrew Percy, minister for local growth, said: ""As we gear up to devolve crucial powers and funding to six of the country’s regions, our campaign is tailored to each local area to help raise awareness of the mayoral elections on 4 May. Devolution is putting power back in the hands of local people. Our campaign includes working closely with communications teams in each combined authority to support this historic transfer of power and encourage residents to turn out and vote."

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