Councils work on reputation as LG Comms reveals latest report

Local government will need to change how it manages its reputation as tighter finances compel public sector services to work more closely together, new research indicates.

Town hall: new guidelines will help them promote reputation
Town hall: new guidelines will help them promote reputation

The work by LG Communications and the Local Government Association was published in New Reputation Project, a review of the success of the LGA's Reputation Campaign, which was launched in 2005 and aimed at improving councils' reputations.

The research revealed that 66 per cent of council comms heads have called for a refreshed Reputation Campaign to focus on value for money. About 63 per cent wanted more guidance on evaluation and monitoring, plus strengthened internal guidance.

It also pointed out that a 'clear understanding from the senior management group of a council's objectives' was essential to improve the reputation of a council.

LGA and LG Communications are in the process of developing new guidance for councils on how to protect and promote reputation in the changing landscape.

LG Communications chair David Holdstock said: 'Value for money is a top priority in today's political environment. Good communications can play a vital role in helping councils boost their effectiveness and deliver real benefits for their communities.'

The report said councils needed to develop 'one council' branding and a core set of actions or campaigns related to council services.

HOW I SEE IT - JOHN SHEWELL, HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS, BRIGHTON & HOVE CITY COUNCIL

This is a refreshing piece of research that identifies opportunities to improve the way councils manage their reputation - specifically the role of communications and the skills required to advise senior officers and politicians.

However, it could go further. We should explore the idea of eco-systems as a model for communications. This takes two-way conversations to the next level and harnesses the power of networks to spread the message. Genuine citizen involvement encompasses peer-to-peer communications. We have to think of innovative ways to build reputation and one method is to encourage citizens to co-create campaigns.

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