Public Sector: Haringey PR drive counters recent criticism

The London Borough of Haringey will launch Making a Better Haringey next month - a PR campaign to persuade residents the council is improving.

It follows criticism by the Audit Commission, which, in its performance assessment report late last year, labelled the council as ‘weak’, although it conceded that improvements had been made.

The campaign will, through poster advertising and a media relations push, highlight improvements, particularly in terms of libraries, environment and crime reduction.

Claims include extra road sweeping on 600 roads, 1,000 extra street lights in the Seven Sisters area and an 80 per cent success rate in disposing of abandoned cars within three days. It is also claimed that race crime has dropped by 25 per cent in the borough over the past year.

Haringey head of communications Julie Hollings said the push was not about persuading people services were improving if that was not so.

‘We wouldn’t claim we were perfect, but we can show we are improving,’ she added.

Hollings pledged to back the campaign with an internal communications push to improve customer service skills, and another, separate campaign based on civic pride.

The summer will also see a new emphasis on public contact, with ‘directors going out into the community,’ she said.

This comes after councillors last autumn approved a fresh communications strategy, designed to take into account criticism heaped on the council in the Laming inquiry over the council’s role in the death of Victoria Climbie. ‘It was important that we said sorry,’ added Hollings.

Two vacant comms posts have also now been filled in the borough. Next month, Nicki Hulford joins as corporate comms manager and Timothy Beecroft joins as internal comms manager.

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