Communications Activity Report
- Meeting of Strategic (Overview and Scrutiny) Committee, Tuesday, 29th January, 2019 6.00 pm (Item 31.)
Members received a report on information requested by the Committee regarding the council’s communication activity. It was reported that there was a small team doing both internal and external communications. It was reported that this included the website which was the only borough or district council in the area to receive 4 stars by Better Connected and had done for the past three years. It was then reported that the corporate print contract was reducing year on year and many aspects would soon be going paperless including Committee papers. It was noted that all current printing contracts were subject to a Fit for the Future review.
It was noted that communication routes had been explored and discussed with a focus group and this feedback gave no clear preferences for any specific channels as it was felt a broad range of communications would reach different groups.
The makeup of participants was varied for this qualitative research, reflecting the wide customer demographic that the council has. It was noted that the focus group gave more a qualitative source of feedback than with a full consultation exercise. It was discussed how best to reach the rural areas especially the older generations in these areas and it was reported that it was difficult and print media was not widely available as there were not the distributors of papers or the properties were not always accessible. It was suggested that Parish newsletters be utilised to help with this issue and it was noted that information was being passed to Clerks however it would be helpful to have editor contact details given to the Communications team for inclusion in distribution lists.
Members asked how value for money was being measured and it was reported that it was considered against take up on services for example, green waste subscription. It was also reported that benchmarking of the size of the team and the level of communications activity had been carried out against neighbouring local authorities. It was reported that it was clear that it was deemed favourable taking into account the size of department.
Tourism and communications was discussed and it was reported that following the management restructure in 2016, the tourism service was now part of Economic Growth rather than being combined with corporate communications, however the two teams still worked closely together on design to aid branding and marketing. Members had some concern that there was no longer a synergy between the two areas as one of the biggest areas for publications was for tourism materials.
Members expressed concern at the relaxed language used on some social media platforms and requested that this be considered further and all views be represented when engaging via these means. It was also requested that demographic details be reported when reporting consultation responses.
Opt-In communications were discussed and it was reported that this was being explored however GDPR implications needed to be considered and it made clear how personal information would be used. It was suggested and agreed that the Innovation Task Group look at this is greater detail.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.