Last week we went online for the first ever virtual Public Service Communications Academy.
More than 600 delegates signed up and attended the event programme of more than 20 sessions.
Like so many events this year, we had to make choice whether to cancel or adapt in response to the pandemic situation.
We chose to extend Academy over three days to give colleagues more chance to drop into sessions during the event. We also lowered the ticket price in recognition of the hard-pressed budgets we all face dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
Academy is always a highlight of our year, giving the chance to get together and share learning with colleagues across the public sector. This year’s event was no different even though how we are meeting is very different from usual, with sessions online rather than on stage.
Thank you to all who made Academy 2020 a success, delegates, organisers, partners, speakers and our sponsors. The atmosphere in the chat boxes during the sessions was really uplifting with delegates sharing ideas, showing support, adding inspiring tips and asking insightful questions.
During Academy, we took time to reflect on what we’ve experienced in this year that has been like no other for our industry.
We also took the opportunity to recognise the huge challenges we’ve faced and how much has been achieved during the often relentless pressures of a global pandemic.
Throughout 2020, communications teams across the country have been working round the clock at fast pace to deliver time and again for our communities. We were asked to step up and we did. We’ve made a real difference to people’s lives.
Academy 2020 gave us the chance hear from industry leaders about how to develop the skills, learning and wellbeing we need to prepare us for the months ahead, as we continue to use our expertise in the next stages of the pandemic.
All the sessions were fascinating and useful in different ways. Diversity and inclusions is a priority area and one that we heard much about during several key sessions. Unsurprising, crisis comms, wellbeing and managing disinformation also featured high on the agenda.
The role of the communications professional is clearly needed more than ever in organisations across the country. Throughout the conference, speakers talked about the need to be authentic to yourself and the respect that can be gained from treating others well.
And finally, I’d like to give another thank you to our sponsors for having faith in our move to a virtual event and for providing vital support to make Academy happen in 2020. Please check out the services available from: Royal Mail MarketReach, Granicus, Panacea Software, CrowdControl HQ, Global and Bang the table.
Over the next few weeks we’re finalising the plans for the Future Leaders applications for 2021 and the member training seminar programme for Spring. More information to follow soon.