The latest public sector PR news, opinion and features.

Voluntary mask wearing on the London Underground is low (pic credit: Getty)

Masks, vaccines and ‘Plan B’: Can comms tackle creeping COVID-19 complacency?

As new cases of COVID-19 in the UK passed 50,000 a day last week – the highest levels since January – with related deaths and hospitalisations also rising, pressure is building on the Government to take urgent steps or else be forced into taking even more stringent measures later this autumn.

News & analysis

A 'watershed moment' for the Met as it faces biggest reputational crisis in decades

A 'watershed moment' for the Met as it faces biggest reputational crisis in decades

The Metropolitan Police faces a major reputational crisis following last week’s sentencing of a serving officer, Wayne Couzens, for the murder of Sarah Everard, along with a landmark ruling by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the ‘spy cops’ scandal.

Health Secretary hits out at anti-vax 'idiots'

Health Secretary hits out at anti-vax 'idiots'

Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has condemned anti-vaxxers as 'idiots' amid rising tensions over a wave of protests targeting schools.

GCS chief calls on comms teams to ‘get their mojo back’

GCS chief calls on comms teams to ‘get their mojo back’

Simon Baugh has issued a call to arms to comms staff on his first day as chief executive of the Government Communication Service (GCS).

'Shrewd move' for Conservative Party as it appoints new comms chief

'Shrewd move' for Conservative Party as it appoints new comms chief

The Conservative Party has appointed Alex Wild, the former research director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, as its director of comms, PRWeek has learned.

COVID-19: Government comms failings laid bare in damning Select Committee report

COVID-19: Government comms failings laid bare in damning Select Committee report

A major report released today by a joint committee of MPs has highlighted serious failings in the way the Government's comms evolved during the pandemic.

GCS chief Simon Baugh’s former deputy takes over Home Office comms

GCS chief Simon Baugh’s former deputy takes over Home Office comms

Robert Hall has been appointed as interim director of communications at the Home Office, stepping into the shoes of his former boss Simon Baugh, PRWeek has learned.

PLMR acquires Midlands agency in seven-figure deal

PLMR acquires Midlands agency in seven-figure deal

Communications agency PLMR has acquired Midlands-based Advent Communications as part of a seven-figure deal, it announced today.

Successor body to Public Health England launches latest 'Every Mind Matters' campaign

Successor body to Public Health England launches latest 'Every Mind Matters' campaign

The campaign by the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), which took over from Public Health England this month, is designed to empower adults to improve their mental wellbeing ahead of the winter months.

Up, down, or stable? Size of government comms teams revealed by official figures

Up, down, or stable? Size of government comms teams revealed by official figures

Official figures reveal the changes in government comms teams across all major departments and agencies – some of which have grown over the past year, against a continuing backdrop of plans to permanently reduce the comms headcount across Whitehall.

HMRC appoints interim comms chief

HMRC appoints interim comms chief

Andrew Pemberton has been named interim director of communications at HM Revenue & Customs, PRWeek has learned.

Opinion & features

Addiction on the rise in our industry – are stress and company culture to blame?

Addiction on the rise in our industry – are stress and company culture to blame?

“Down in one, down in one,” the crowd bayed at the line of men and women desperately throwing back an assortment of brightly coloured shots, to applause and whistles.

Don’t underestimate the power of local media in your PR campaigns

Don’t underestimate the power of local media in your PR campaigns

Local journalism is not a sexy topic, but it is an important one nonetheless.

Neil Wallis and Sam Bowen: How we helped our client navigate the ‘Climategate’ media firestorm

Neil Wallis and Sam Bowen: How we helped our client navigate the ‘Climategate’ media firestorm

The two comms specialists portrayed in last week’s BBC docu-drama ‘The Trick’ have spoken exclusively to PRWeek to explain, in their own words, how they helped their client deal with the media and political fallout caused by the ‘Climategate’ scandal in 2009.

Caution: COP26-related sustainability campaigns could be as big a failure as ‘Remain’

Caution: COP26-related sustainability campaigns could be as big a failure as ‘Remain’

Should the future be decided by nations, or between them? Are international treaties a threat to sovereignty? Does elite moralising reflect elite behaviour? Who gets to decide our future – and do they have a right to?

In a polarised world, comms must be used to counter ‘certainty’ of people's beliefs

In a polarised world, comms must be used to counter ‘certainty’ of people's beliefs

The recent bout of panic-buying at the petrol pumps is a reminder of how important good communication is in a crisis.

Media’s bonfire of digital doctors obscures debate we must have on future of NHS

Media’s bonfire of digital doctors obscures debate we must have on future of NHS

As the Mail announces ‘Victory for Mail’ in its war against digital doctors and securing petrol continues to be hit and miss, it feels like we’re moving into a seismic shift of contradictions in our ‘progress’ as a nation.

Once just a ‘nice to have’, diversity in public sector comms is now here to stay

Once just a ‘nice to have’, diversity in public sector comms is now here to stay

It doesn’t seem so long ago I was working in busy public sector press offices churning out announcements.

The ‘COP Flop’ for agencies: What is it and how can you avoid it?

The ‘COP Flop’ for agencies: What is it and how can you avoid it?

Do you want to unlock stronger, harder, longer-lasting ideas that prove how powerful your brand purpose really is, but fear it was only developed halfway through 2020, while considering pivots into knitting kits and shunning your Aunt Aggie who panic-bought all the loo roll?

A whirlwind of change for health comms shows no sign of abating this autumn

A whirlwind of change for health comms shows no sign of abating this autumn

What a ride health communicators have had: revealing scientific breakthroughs, engaging on health and social care policy, landing public health guidance, managing rocketing levels of attention on our work and our people.

Autumn brings a sense of foreboding for public affairs and political comms people

Autumn brings a sense of foreboding for public affairs and political comms people

First it was non-essential shops, then restaurants, bars and sports stadiums, as nature began to heal and venues were able to reopen after the lifting of restrictions, but this autumn - to the excitement of political wonks - it will be the turn of party conferences, at least in part.

Mental Wealth: Beware ‘hybrid burnout’ as blended working becomes the norm

Mental Wealth: Beware ‘hybrid burnout’ as blended working becomes the norm

The increased psychological load of moving between working from home and a site-based location can lead to exhaustion

Diary of a volunteer RNLI Press Officer: Sunk trawler brought home the sharp end of comms

Diary of a volunteer RNLI Press Officer: Sunk trawler brought home the sharp end of comms

The fourth entry in our series following the journey of RNLI trainee press officer Roz Ashton, in her own words, as she continues her training and sets out in the role. Ashton has lived around the world, worked in advertising and sailed across the Atlantic.

Don’t just navigate uncertainty in the post-pandemic PR industry; embrace it

Don’t just navigate uncertainty in the post-pandemic PR industry; embrace it

As the industry accelerates into a post-pandemic, double-jabbed, with-COVID-19 future, I see a potent combination of two contradictory emotions.

Nurture your dyslexic colleagues in PR or risk losing them to NASA

Nurture your dyslexic colleagues in PR or risk losing them to NASA

Over the past 10 years, I’ve conducted surveys into the treatment of dyslexic professionals in the workplace and I’ve found that more and more of them are striking out on their own, due to unwelcoming and unsupportive working environments.

Ditch the retainer model and stop billing clients for time instead of results

Ditch the retainer model and stop billing clients for time instead of results

With PR agency retainers averaging £5,000-£7,000 a month in the UK, it’s not uncommon for clients to get next to no actual return on investment, so how much should PR cost?