A fightback has begun over what local government comms people do. It's good to see. But you can play your part too. It starts with you on the rooftops shouting.
by Dan Slee
An elderly American came up with the line about if the PR person becomes the news, then it’s probably not good.
Think images of spin doctors Alastair Campbell or Andy Coulson being pursued by a Press pack down the street and there's some truth in it. The aim is to be behind-the-scenes, surely?
Trouble is that line is now wrapped like a noose around public sector PR and communications people. None more so than in local government.
Three times in the last week council communications staff got a kicking. By the far right Tax Payers Alliance, the Press Gazette and then by UKIP. The theme was constant: there's too many of them and they're a waste of money.
What was really refreshing about these past few days was that local government comms people started to fight back.
Without local government comms teams you won't know if your bin day has changed, if you should recycle more, why that road is being build or how to sign-up to be a foster carer. There are 700 services that councils provide and each one affects the lives of real people. Each needs to tell its story. If it doesn't it costs time, money and resources because of poor communications.
It's high time that all comms people - not just local government - stopped being hopeless at telling their own story.
Work with people. Tell their story. Help deliver change. Then for heaven's sake go and bloody tell people the role you played. Internally, go and shout what you've bloody well done, the money you've helped save and the lives you've had an impact on. Tell the story outside the organisation too.
Stop being so bloody reticent. People will only know the value of what you do if you tell people the difference you have made. Tell the chief executive. Tell the elected members and the executive directors. Stop being so bloody shy.
To be blunt, if you don't, don't be surprised if your job disappears. After all, if people don't know the value you've brought, can you actually blame them?
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.