Communications Service Plan - Review
- Meeting of Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee, Tuesday, 3rd December, 2019 10.00 am (Item 70.)
Report of the City Solicitor and Director of Strategic Communications attached
This report provides an update on the delivery of the Communications Strategy for 2019/20. It outlines progress against the key delivery themes for Council communications of integrated working with partners, digital delivery, participation and engagement and service organisation and governance. The report also describes the next steps for the remainder of the year.
The Committee considered the report of the City Solicitor and Director of Strategic Communications that provided an update on the delivery of the Communications Strategy for 2019/20.
The main points and themes within the report included: -
· Providing a background and introduction;
· Describing progress in 2019/20 against the key delivery themes;
· An update on participation and engagement;
· Information on service organisation and governance; and
· The next steps for the remainder of the year.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were: -
· Information was sought on the American firm Granicus and its role within the Public Sector;
· Was the approach to local, targeted communications appropriate;
· Was there capacity to be able to provide information in other formats, with particular reference to text to voice services, and how are these services publicised;
· Was there any intention to expand the Design Studio as a means to generate income;
· Were online forms that residents used to contact the Council regularly reviewed; and
· Did the existing commercial relationship with the Manchester Evening News potentially prevent objective reporting of the Council.
The Director of Strategic Communications stated that Granicus provided their service via the GovDelivery platform, commenting that this was utilised by a range of public sector organisations, including the NHS and the Met Office. In response to a question regarding the number of Local Authorities using this platform, the Director of Strategic Communications stated that an exact number would be circulated following the meeting, she added that it was the most used system across Local Authorities.
The Director of Strategic Communications stated that services across the Council had been encouraged and supported to develop and deliver their own communications and dialogue with residents. She stated that it was important that local conversations were undertaken with residents, noting that staff had been trained to support this activity, and work continued to support and strengthen this devolved approach.
The Director of Strategic Communications stated that the Council’s website had been updated so as to provide a text to voice facility and printed material could be provided in a variety of languages and formats. She stated that it was important to use the most appropriate channel and medium to communicate with residents, adding that letters were sometimes more appropriate than a digital format to ensure the views of the target audience were captured, noting the importance of this when consulting on budget proposals.
The Director of Strategic Communications informed Members that the website was regularly tested and user feedback was always welcomed and responded to, so as to ensure the online system was user friendly.
The Director of Strategic Communications informed the Committee that the Design Studio had worked primarily with the third sector and partner organisations as a priority. She informed Members that the approach adopted was always to meet the priorities of the Council before expanding this offer further, adding that this would always be undertaken with the values of the Council taken into consideration.
The Director of Strategic Communications stated that the Council was statutorily obliged to display public notices in print and online, however she clarified that the commercial business of the Manchester Evening News was distinct and separate from the news and editorial section of the paper. She further informed Members that if the Committee had concerns about this relationship this could be discussed further when the contract was reviewed in May 2020.
The Committee notes the report.
- Communications Service Plan review, item 70. PDF 185 KB
- Appendix 1 - 2019/20 agreed activity and priorities, item 70. PDF 133 KB
- Appendix 2 Communication Service Plan review, item 70. PDF 182 KB