Agenda item

Joint communications and engagement strategy

To consider the draft Joint Communications and Engagement Strategy attached in Appendix 1 and provide feedback for consideration to the Cabinet Member for Community Engagement.


Cabinet Member for Community Engagement presented this item. She explained that the communications team was important to engagement, and this strategy was important for guiding the team, which was central to the council’s work.


The councils needed a communications strategy to govern their communications and ensure consistent and tailored messaging reach its diverse audiences.

The strategy also covers engagement as the councils’ Public Engagement Charter needed reviewing and given the natural synergy between communications and engagement it was an opportunity to bring the work streams together and reflect the service’s structure.



Cabinet Member welcomed councillor feedback, as councillors were key to the success of the strategy.


Comments and suggestions to Cabinet Member were as follows:

  • Page 85 of the pack – list of member responsibilities. The last bullet point was viewed as important, “Actively fulfill their role as critical links in the chain of communication with stakeholders through sharing the views of the public to the council and keeping their wards briefed on service information and issues”. It was requested that communications team should inform ward members ahead of any local press release. Cabinet Member explained it was a council-wide responsibility, with different teams needing to feed into the communications team. Communication and Engagement Manager drew attention to the InFocus newsletter and Town and Parish council newsletters, as current effective tools for ward members.
  • Asked for clarification over the previous point “Seek professional advice from the communications and engagement team before agreeing to any corporate communications and engagement approaches/activities including specific messages, how to deliver those messages, campaigns, literature etc”. It was responded by Communications and Engagement Manager that this was regarding corporate communications – the advice was to speak to communications first for advice on the best methods.
  • Will there been training on best practice for councillor communications with wards?
  • Cabinet Member explained that more detailed action plans would follow as the strategy was the overview. This was a strategic document to help the cultural change that was required.
  • Exhibition events
  • Residents newsletter
  • Reaching more people in communities – groups we had historically failed to reach – who were these groups? What was the council doing to reach who don’t or can’t access the usual communication channels? Cabinet member explained that Covid was a learning experience in regard to reaching isolated people. Engagement Manager added that these groups would be identified in the diversity and inclusion strategy work. The perspective of these groups may be that they were not hard to reach, but as a council we would need to find out how they prefer to engage. Example – visuals for those who do not read English.
  • Will this strengthen role of the communications team? Cabinet Member suggested that team leaders can filter information to communications team, for them to distribute. The communications team had oversight of most communications that go out, the strategy could strengthen this.
  • Standards on page 80 were good – can we add “know who your audience is”? It was responded that mapping out of audiences would be done in conjunction with diversity and inclusion work, and proactive planning of communications. Communications and Engagement Manager responded that it was for officer and members to live up to. There will be occasions where teams deal with specific stakeholders that communications team would not be dealing with, and an audience list would help support this.
  • Action plan  - tools we use or individual consultation/engagement? What was envisaged? Communications and Engagement Manager responded that it would include training, reviewing social media services, identify metrics, baseline data, briefings. It will not be a forward plan of communications campaigns.
  • What about receiving information from the public? Example -  “fix my street” tool. Can we encourage people to attend meetings? Do people feel empowered to come and speak, do they know about the YouTube recordings etc.


Officers and Cabinet Member were thanked for their work.


Supporting documents: