PRWEEK AWARDS: Corporate & Public - The GNN/TAS Partnership Award - Public Sector

WINNER - London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Only One of These is a Taxi Service

On 8 December 2001, an adult female called 999 to say her friend had just turned up at her house drunk. She asked if she could get an ambulance to take her home, as no taxis were available.

The London Ambulance Service receives an increasing number of similar 999 calls daily, while up to 40 per cent of ambulance journeys to Accident & Emergency are deemed non-urgent.

Last December, to raise public awareness of the alternative options available before dialling 999 and to build staff morale, the London Ambulance Service launched a campaign with the tag line 'Only one of these is a taxi service'.

Messages were delivered through extensive media relations, a staff magazine and lobbying of opinion-formers, including MPs.

Ongoing research and evaluation illustrated that take-up was significant.

Journalists understood the issue of inappropriate calls and communicated the options available to the public before calling an ambulance.

In launch week, the PR team secured editorial coverage on 39 separate radio and TV shows.

London's taxi drivers boosted the initiative using word of mouth and key political opinion formers were reached through Radio 4's Today programme.

Following the campaign, the volume of non-urgent 999 calls fell from 23 per cent in January 2001 to 21 per cent in January 2002 - an impressive achievement considering that 999 calls have increased by an average of almost seven per cent year-on-year since 1994.

The lobbying effort has led to a recent announcement by the Department of Health that it is committed to addressing the problem of inappropriate ambulance use.

COMMENDED - Science Museum, Grossology, Mission 21

The Science Museum exceeded its visitor and income targets with a bold campaign to publicise its Grossology exhibition for kids, a potentially controversial display dealing with bodily functions and fluids. The campaign enhanced the reputation of the 150-year-old institution and was lauded by the media.

COMMENDED - Sheffield City Council

Media Campaign On e-voting Pilot in Local Elections

In the run up to the May 2002 local elections, Sheffield City Council successfully publicised its new e-voting methods with local, national and international audiences. The campaign flagged up the key messages of convenience, flexibility and innovation to voters. Voter turnout increased significantly, and e-voting accounted for one third of all votes.

FINALISTS

Department of Health

Mind Out for Mental Health

The Forster Company

Police Service of Northern Ireland

Re-branding of the Police Service of Northern Ireland

Weber Shandwick

National Maritime Museum

Skin Deep

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