local government comms survey: surprising optimism amid the storm clouds

Here's a snapshot of what local government communications people feel and think in the UK and also in a shadow survey with the excellent commsgodigital blog in Australia. There are some surprising stats. Not least the amount of optimism. 

by Dan Slee and Matt Murray

There's more optimism than pessimism in local government comms people in the UK and Australia and New Zealand, a survey has revealed.

But in the UK there's two streams developing with a sizable rump of people who don't see a bight future alongside those who do. 

The positivity is most prevalent Down Under with 78 per cent of those surveyed having a positive outlook as opposed to just three per cent negative.

But in the UK on the subject of the future of local government PR and communications people look to be breaking into two camps: the optimists who are the majority on 63 per cent and the pessmists with a sizable 22 per cent majority.

Size of teams also proved interesting. Since 2008, the trend has been downward with 58 per cent in the UK being smaller but 22 per cent saying their teams had grown - a surprising statistic to some. In Australia, the difference was marked with almost half teams growing with little more than one in ten shrinking.  

Confidence in local government as a whole throws up a close battle with 45 per cent optimistic in the UK compared to 33 per cent pessimistic. In Australia and New Zealand, it's a different matter with 69 per cent having a positive outlook on the sector.

A big thank you to everyone who took part in the survey on both sides of the equator and to Matt Murray at commsgodigital.

How long have you worked in your current post? UK/AUS & NZ

Less than two years: 31/37

Two to five years: 36/47

Five to 10 years: 24/9

Longer than 10 years: 9/6

What’s the best part of local government communications? You can opt for several answers. UK/AUS & NZ

Pay: 19/16

Pensions: 13/10

Working conditions: 38/61

Being able to make a difference: 83/68

Being able to innovate: 35/42

How optimistic are you about the future of local government as a whole? UK/AUS & NZ

Very optimistic: 1/9

Optimistic: 44/60

Neither: 22/19

Pessimistic: 27/12

Very pessimistic: 6/0

Don’t know: 0/0                      

How optimistic are you about the future of local government communications this year? UK/ AUS & NZ

Very optimistic: 4/12

Optimistic: 59/66

Neither: 15/19

Pessimistic: 19/3

Very pessimistic:  3/0

Don’t know: 0/0

Is the local government comms team you work in now larger or smaller than it was in 2008? UK / AUS & NZ

Larger: 22/45

Smaller: 58/16

The same: 14/16

Don’t know: 6/23

Do you expect your team to be larger or smaller next year? UK / AUS & NZ

Larger:  12/25

Smaller: 36/9

The same: 49/56

Don’t know: 4/9

Survey sample size: 101 local government pr and comms people in the UK and 35 local government and state pr and comms people in Australia and New Zealand.

Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0 and Matt Murray founded commsgodigital and digital communications officer at Redland City Council in Queensland.

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