Building future communities through effective communication and engagement
AUTHOR: DANIEL PURCHESE, CO-DIRECTOR AT BREAKTHROUGH COMMUNICATIONS
Local (parish and town) councils right across the country do amazing work. Most go way above and beyond what is expected of them by statute and provide a range of valuable services and facilities to the communities that they serve.
And yet, for many councils, it remains a challenge to effectively communicate who they are, what they do and how they do it sustainably and strategically. It can be even harder to get a wide range of people from different communities and backgrounds to engage with the council when we seek input and carry out consultations or surveys.
Whether it's trying to build awareness of a particular service, encouraging participation in a one-off consultation or something strategic such as a Neighbourhood Plan, it can be hard to get messages out there and receive feedback or input.
Part of a council’s response to this challenge should ensure that their external communications are as strategic as possible, rather than reactive and tactical. That is to say, that there is effective communication and engagement strategy in place that underpins all of our council’s communications and informs what we say, how we say it, where we say it and how often we say it.
When thinking strategically, councils need to consider, for instance:
- What are the things that matter most to our council? What are our key priorities and objectives? What services do we deliver, and what facilities are we keen to promote?
- What are the communications objectives that stem from these?
- Which audiences are we seeking to have a conversation with, and what are the key messages we need to get across over time?
- Which communication channels should we use? What mix of both traditional channels and digital channels will we make use of to communicate most effectively?
- What tools are available to help us save time, money, and effort to create content and manage different communication channels across the council?
These are just some of the questions that need to be answered to ensure that council communications are as strategic as possible and therefore are as effective as possible in helping councils achieve their overall aims and objectives.
Yet, some further challenges and barriers can exist, such as lack of time, resources to make it all work, lack of buy-in from Members, and more.
At Breakthrough Communications, we support hundreds of parish and town councils across the country to communicate more strategically, more effectively and more compliantly. We are shortly launching an exciting new tool that will help councils overcome some of the challenges they face and help them to communicate even more effectively. We also hope to save every parish and town council time and money.
You can be one of the first to hear about our new tool in the coming weeks and secure exclusive early access. Please find out more on our website.