We’re amazed we won an award for Brexit comms – but there’s still hard work to come

To say it was a shock to have won not one but two awards for our Brexit campaign, at the National Public Communications Awards recently, is quite the understatement.

The hard comms work is still to come, writes Samantha Edwards
The hard comms work is still to come, writes Samantha Edwards

For starters, Alastair Campbell was presenting. Second, there were so many excellent competitors in the room, who had delivered top-class campaigns, we were delighted just to be shortlisted, but didn’t seriously entertain winning for Brexit communications.

But professional excellence won out and the Government Communications Service took home two awards, for Business to Business Communications and Best International Campaign.

As many eagle-eyed communicators would have already read: Guido Fawkes had reported that Mr Campbell presented the awards ‘through gritted teeth.’

But perhaps this was a little harsh of Guido, as the PR guru personally commended the team’s work.

And Campbell’s mention of his book on mental health, and his words shortly after, truly struck a chord with the entire room; proving that there are many causes that unite rather than divide.

One thing unites civil servants who have worked tirelessly on the UK’s exit from the EU over the past few years: the certainty that our role is to put aside the politics and do our best for businesses and citizens both in the UK and the EU.

Five years on from the referendum, much of the UK’s exit from the EU is done and dusted and the UK is carving out a new place in the world.

Work left to do

But for some tenacious government communicators the job is not quite done, with changes coming for importers across Great Britain.

Come January 2022, we will bring in import controls which will affect all businesses that import/buy goods from the EU. They will have to declare goods when they arrive in the UK where previously they could delay their declarations.

Businesses will also need to specify where goods have originated and lorry drivers will have to register at ports before they arrive with any produce. Importers, business leaders and haulage companies will all need to work together to ensure they understand and adapt to the new rules.

The same diverse, hard-working and award-winning government communicators are taking on the challenge of getting these messages to the many different industries that make up Britain’s rich and diverse economy.

We’re using creative, timely, relevant and insight-driven communications to reach micro, small and larger businesses to ensure they have the information they need to make changes for their business and, in time, take advantage of trade with the rest of the world.

Samantha Edwards is deputy director of the UK Transition Campaign in the Cabinet Office Transition Communication Centre

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