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
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
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
- 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