This is the greatest thing you’ll have seen about public sector communications in a long time.
A tweet from Unison featuring a poster celebrating the back-office staff who play and under recognised role in making the UK a better place.
— Antony Tiernan (@AntonyTiernan) October 12, 2016
It reminded me how long it’s been since I’ve seen something that publicly praised communications people. Or the public sector.
All too often run down by people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing they carry on.
Putting in the extra time, going the extra mile, thinking up new ways of communicating because they want to do their job better.
I spent eight years in the public sector and was always struck at the hard work and dedication I found. Often from people who were not recognised. I’m the third generation of my family who has worked in the public sector and you know what? I’m proud of that. In my heart I haven’t left.
So, if you are a press officer, communications officer, manager, head of comms, marketing assistant or digital specialist working anywhere in the public sector ‘thank you.’
Keep doing brilliant things.
And thank you Unison for shining a light on the work they do.
Can we have more of this, please?
Cheers to Antony Tiernan for spotting and sharing this image.
“How?” said one person in the packed room. “How the hell did that happen?”
More than 20 people were crammed into a small room with a dozen chairs at commscamp in Birmingham for the topic on Brexit.
After 40-minutes of pulling apart the claim, counter-claim and post-fact democracy one moment of clarity emerged of how the campaign ended as it did.
Leave won because they appealed to the heart not the head.
Remain lost because they appealed to the head.
As a piece of clarity it’s drifted into my head several times since.
That big pile of numbers you’re trying to communicate? Can you find something that appeals to the heart?
Stop. Think of times when you’ve been moved by the heart. Me? More than 12-months ago the refugee found that when three-year-old Aylan Kurdi drowned and was fetched from the surf by a policeman.
In the US, the family of the dead war veteran Donald Trump picked on appealed to the heart too.
Look around you and you’ll find more.
The ability to understand with the head but tell a story to appeal to the heart is priceless for someone looking to communicate.
Picture credit: Bex Walton / Flickr
When I worked in the public sector there was a bunch of people a decade ago who would bang the table not being satisfied with business as usual.
They would experiment and try different things. If there was no rule book they would write their own with a spirit of JFDI – just flipping do it. Sometimes they’d put their career on the line just to try something out.
So, I’d learn more from bloggers, coders and engineers as to how to use the social web than I did from the PR establishment. Bold experiments of yesterday quickly became today’s routine.
It’s an approach that has shaped my approach and for many others in the public sector.
I’m happy to say, there is a movement centred on private sector PR just as happy to write new rule books where there are none. Through challenge, experiment and boldness there’s a feeling that there is a better way.
Stephen Waddington in his introduction to the first Future Proof: The Go To Guide For Managers of Agencies and Communications Teams talks of there never being a more exciting time to be in the industry. I’d agree with that. You can download that here for free.
Now, Future Proof: Edition Two has been published. I’m hugely excited to have written a chapter on the role of video in communications in this book. But I’m far more excited to know that there are more than 30 chapters from fellow travellers who aren’t satisfied with business as usual too.
Hats off to those who wrote chapters and to Sarah Hall for pulling this together.
You can buy the book here in print and kindle here.
A chapter a day handily is set to be released here if you can’t afford the book.
Future Proof: Edition Two chapters
COMMANDING THE RESPECT OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND THE PITCH TO EMPLOYERS by Francis Ingham
STRONG TOGETHER: WORKING TOWARDS A COMMUNITY OF THEORY AND PRACTICE IN PUBLIC
RELATIONS by Stephen Waddington
WHAT BREXIT TAUGHT US ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY FOR PR Rob Brown
ECONOMICS SOCIAL DIALOGUE AND PUBLIC RELATIONS Ezri Carlebach
SERVING THE MEMBERSHIP: IS IT TIME FOR THE CIPR AND PRCA TO MERGE? Richard Houghton
MAXIMISING THE TRUE VALUE OF MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS TO DRIVE IMPROVEMENT
FROM PURPOSE TO PERFORMANCE: A RADICAL APPROACH TO STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
CHARTING THE COURSE OR JUST KEEPING YOU AFLOAT: IS HUMAN RESOURCES TAKING YOUR
BUSINESS WHERE IT NEEDS TO GO? Elizabeth Baines
SOCIAL MOBILITY IN PR: A CAREER OPEN TO ALL Sarah Stimson
STITCHING TOGETHER GOOD CORPORATE BEHAVIOUR Karan Chadd
STORIES VERSUS FACTS: DO COMMUNICATORS HAVE A PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THE
PUBLIC ISN’T MISLED? Stuart Bruce
CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD): CAN IT HELP YOU IN A CHANGING WORLD?
THE JOURNEY OF THE ENGAGED EMPLOYEE Bea Aar
PREPARING FOR THE SKILLS GAP IN THE WORKPLACE OF THE FUTURE Tim Hudson
DELIVERING A 24/7 SERVICE; INTRODUCING AN AGILE MODEL IN PR Dualta Redmond
MANAGING THE INTEGRATION OF BUSINESSES: MERGING COMPANIES, DISCIPLINES, AND
CULTURES Ella Minty
EMBRACING AGILE STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT Betteke van Ruler and Frank Körver
HOW TO AVOID #SOCIALMEDIAMELTDOWN Nathaniel Cassidy
A LISTENING AND INSIGHTFUL FUTURE: CHANGING PR PRACTICE TO DELIVER AUDIENCE LED
COMMUNICATIONS Sarah Clark and Professor Jim Macnamara
SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE OF PROCUREMENT Tina Fegent
STRENGTHENING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS AND MANAGING RISK Farzana Baduel
MANAGING CLIENT EXPECTATIONS Andrew Reeves
STAFF SALARIES: HANDLING WAGE INFLATION AND SALARY BANDINGS Steve Earl
GROWING PAINS: MOVING FROM AN ENTREPRENEURIAL TO A PROFESSIONAL STRUCTURE
COMPANY CULTURE: MANAGING STRESS, PRESENTEEISM AND MENTAL HEALTH Paul Sutton
WHY GREAT LEADERS ARE GREAT COMMUNICATORS Lucia Dore
INTERNAL COMMS: LEARNING FROM THE PAST AND EMERGING TRENDS Rachel Miller
SEIZING INFLUENCER RELATIONS’ OPPORTUNITIES Scott Guthrie
HOW TO USE THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY TO ACHIEVE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Ciara O’Keeffe
VIDEO AS A COMMUNICATIONS CHANNEL Dan Slee
LIVE STREAMING TOOLS: A BEST PRACTICE GUIDE Leonardo Stavale
OVERHAULING PUBLIC AFFAIRS: MUCH NEEDED MODERNISATION Iain Anderson
PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS: ENGAGING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE Emily Osborne
HOW THE #FUTUREPROOF PR CAN EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES OF SEO Darryl Sparey
CROWDFUNDING: UNDERSTANDING, INFLUENCING AND MANAGING GROUP BEHAVIOUR
HORIZON SCANNING Stephen Davies
CREATIVITY IN PR – ARE PRACTITIONERS SUCCESSFULLY HARNESSING THE POWER OF
STORYTELLING AND NARRATION? Andy Green
#FUTUREPROOFING COMMUNICATIONS EVALUATION Richard Bagnall
THE IMPORTANCE AND ART OF ARTICULATING THANKS: LESSONS FROM NON-GOVERNMENTAL
ORGANISATIONS (NGOS) Dr Nicky Garsten, Dr Ed de Quincey and Professor Ian Bruce
There is something still glorious about asking Twitter a question and then watching like pigeons returning to the coop as answers return.
The question was the challenges that face housing communications.
Twitter, what are the three biggest issues facing the social housing sector today? Asking for a friend. Thanks.
— Dan Slee (@danslee) August 31, 2016
And like a flock of pigeons they gathered and returned. Not three but 17 issues.
I list them here a) to provide a checklist for those inside the sector and b) for those dealing with the sector.
It’s an impressive list, but the speed of which the Twitter community returned them shows that there are still people out there bothered and keen to help.
issues that face housing communications
- Alack of money in the sector.
- A lack of houses in the sector.
- Welfare reform making it harder for social landlords to secure the rent due.
- Right-to-buy makes the pool of social housing smaller.
- A lack of grant to build new social houses.
- The attitude of public, press and politicians to tenants in shared accomodation.
- A lack of tenant voice in the national housing debate.
- Risk of poorer tenants to be sidelined in a race for higher paying tenants.
- A decline in affordable rents for tenants.
- No long term strategy.
- Less local government money for supported housing where vulnerable people can live and be independent.
- Complacent housing authorities.
- Distraction caused by mergers or the chance of rumours.
- The sector doesn’t tell it’s story well and gums things up with jargon.
- More homelessness is likely to read to a bigger bill for temporary housing.
- Reducing social rents paid to councils will hit local government in the pocket.
- The lack of land in rural areas to build new social houses.
So, how does that all sound for you?
Thanks to Manpreet Kaur, Faye Greaves, National Tenant Scrutiny Panel, Helen Gore, Richard Sage, Tom Murtha, Greg Burns, Kelly Quigley-Hicks.