Keeping Communications As A Priority

09/01/2018

As purse-strings tighten, communications is often one of the first areas to be cut. But be careful – that can reduce opportunities and increase risk.

At Arch Communications we work with a number of public sector organisations and have experience with many more.

As budgets shrink, these organisations face difficult decisions about how to spend the money they have. Too often, communications and engagement functions have been downgraded or removed entirely.

But is this wise? Cutting such resources undermines opportunities to have meaningful conversations with your local communities and can even damage your reputation – whatever sector you’re in.

And while the day-to-day communications may continue to run smoothly (media enquiries answered, news releases and publications produced, websites and social media updated), what will be lacking is the strategic oversight from a savvy senior communications professional.

Engagement may be overlooked entirely or become a superficial activity, such as simply attending meetings.

Again, this can keep things running day-to-day and maintains local connections. But what happens when there’s a crisis or the need to get people’s views on something significant, like a big change or a new service?

If organisations haven’t had on-going conversations with their communities, any sudden attempt to start one on a major issue will often be met with suspicion and distrust. This is also where that experienced professional is invaluable – to steer activity in the right direction and maintain reputation.

So what’s the solution? Well, there are several:

  1. Ensure the in-house communications and engagement support is suitably experienced to provide that strategic element. They also need to be able to respond to difficult situations.
  2. Share resource with others in your area. This can be across particular disciplines, like media support and publications, or a fully shared service.
  3. Bring in extra expertise when it’s needed – whether to develop a strategy for your in-house team, to handle a crisis, or to mobilise the team to run a consultation. The help is out there.

Here at Arch we’re proud of the reputation we’ve gained for supplying this level of specialist support to the public sector. Contact us if you want to find out what we’ve achieved and how we can help you: info@arch-comms.co.uk.