Now that the dust has settled on the local elections, the whirlwind of comms activity which characterises the arrival of new political administrations is in full whirl.
Timely, then, that the next LGcomms seminar is on how to work with a new political administration. It’s one I’m really looking forward to as it gets to the heart of what strategic communications is all about.
Part of this seminar will be looking at how public affairs-led communications – lobbying, if you will – can add real value to that relationship with your new political leaders.
It’s an area we’ve invested in here in Essex and it’s paid real dividends, especially during Covid.
Nurturing positive working relationships with MPs, advisors and government departments and influencing them on behalf of residents should be a key part of the communications mix, but not all council comms teams invest time in developing their strategies in this area – I hope sharing Essex’s approach will provide food for thought here.
Perhaps the regularity with which negative headlines about lobbying practices have occurred may be a factor here.
It needn’t be. Any individual or agency involved in lobbying can sign up to the Public Affairs Code, newly updated as of this May, which define the principles and standards which signatories must adhere to when practicing public affairs activity.
If local government is going to maintain its highly trusted status among residents, councils and councillors (many of whom engage in some shape or form in consultancy work with lobbying dimensions) this should be a pre-requisite.
You can find out more about the code here: Public Affairs Code February 2021 23.2.2021.pdf (prca.org.uk)
Andy Allsopp (@AndyAllsopp) is the Head of Profession, Communications and Marketing at Essex County Council