Dacorum Borough, Devon County, Dudley Borough, East Riding of Yorkshire and West Lothian councils have all been named as contenders for the top award - Communicator of the Year - which was won last year by Brighton & Hove Council.
This year's competition has ten categories, compared to last year's nine, with a newly created gong for most successful partnerships being added.
Slough, Essex, Devon, Norfolk and a joint selection for Newcastle and Gateshead have all been nominated in this category.
The IPR Local Government Group's Jane Easton O'Keefe said: 'This (new category) reflects the growing role of councils in creating better links with other groups. It was felt that it deserved a category of its own.'
As with last year's competition, the number of entries is estimated at around 200.
East Riding has the highest number of nominations this year, adding five shortlistings to its Communicator of the Year nomination. These are in the media relations, internal communications, campaign, civic newspaper and e-media categories.
Essex has five nominations, adding media relations, internal comms, e-media and campaign to its nomination in the partnerships category.
Dacorum and Devon have gained three nominations each.
Other categories in the competition are publication, consultation and 'PR on a shoestring'.
The winners will be announced at this year's IPR Local Government Group annual conference, taking place on 13 and 14 September in Newcastle and Gateshead.
Speakers at workshops and seminars at the event include Audit Commission director of communications Colin Douglas and NHS Shifting The Balance Of Power project manager Nick Court.