'Comms at the top table...' It's shorthand for having comms involved with the big strategic discussions early on. If you reach this place you can help to shape and deliver with people. This example which will be presented at #commsforchange14 about changes to tax discs really shows how working together can be really powerful.
‘This just shows how important comms is! Technically the code changes are in and ready to go........without comms it's useless.'
This was a text I received from our Chief Technology Officer, Iain Patterson, earlier this week.
He was referring to media coverage of a major change for DVLA - the abolition of the Tax Disc.
Coverage that was well on its way to delivering one of the key comms objectives agreed with the project Senio Risk Officer (SRO) at the outset of the change initiation – to raise awareness.
We know we have a key role to play in driving the agency’s digital transformation. We know we need to work across the business to support that transformation and we know that can only work if the roles of comms and transformation come together from the outset and work as part of that change throughout the delivery cycle.
Having agreed business and comms objectives at the outset of the change we were well prepared and able to maximise the significant media coverage and ensure our messages were heard. Not only that, it was part of the handling strategy that the project board and SRO had signed off so there were no surprises in our key messages or our approach.
This is just one change, albeit a biggie, in DVLA’s digital agenda. Being digital isn’t just about comms objectives from individual changes or delivering our services digitally. The role of comms also has to be about changing the mind set of our staff and engaging differently with our customers.
We have embraced digital comms channels, from web chats to Twitter, for both external and internal use. We’ve tried things that have worked, we’ve tried things that haven’t.
Internally we have seen a real buzz from a hackathon and are still testing out how internal social networks can break down barriers across the business.
Externally we are using webchats and Twitter not only to answer customer queries, but to seek views and gather information.
We don’t have all the answers and can always learn from our own experiences and those of others who recognise the role of comms as critical in digital transformation. That’s why we are really pleased to be a part of #commsforchange14.
Victoria Ford is head of communications at the DVLA.
#commsforchange14 takes place on 24 September in Birmingham - you can sign up for it here.