Next week hundreds of communicators from local and central government as well as other parts of the public service will gather over three days in Coventry for the second Public Service Communications Academy. The event, which is being organised by LGcommunications and GCS, is the most significant local government communications event of the year.
by Cormac Smith
The theme of this year’s Academy is set around the future of public service communications, the challenges we face and our response to those challenges.
The agenda this year includes some of the best practitioners from the public and private sector. We will also be joined by a number of influential leaders from the public sector including Solace president, and Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, Mark Rogers and a one of Whitehall’s most outspoken civil servants, Louise Casey CB, will give a view from Whitehall talking about how effective comms needs to be at the heart of meeting the current challenges.
Day one will kick off with a panel of senior leaders including Cllr David Simmonds from the LGA and Jonathon Carr-West from the LGIU, who will debate the big challenges the public services face and how good communications needs to be at the heart of our response.
This will be followed by senior partner from one of the world’s great advertising companies M&C Saatchi, Aneil Bedi and ex CEO of Edelman and author of ‘Trust me, PR is dead’ Robert Philips. Aneil will talk about what makes great campaigns while Robert promises to be every bit as provocative as his recent book and tell us why PR is not necessarily the answer to the current crisis in trust.
The day will also include critical sessions on community and staff engagement as well as a talk from Whitehall’s Louise Casey.
Day two will feature a view from Whitehall. It will also include an extended session, including workshops, on rising to the digital challenge which will be led by Dan Slee and Darren Caveny of comms2point0. There will also be a key panel discussion on the role of communication in driving the devolution agenda and we will hear from President of the British Polling Council who will look at effective evaluation and the state of polling in the wake of the 2015 national elections.
Day three is being led by the Government Communication Service (GCS). The day promises a unique insight into the governments’ current communication strategy. It will examine the critical issues faced by all of us in the public services; from how we are impacted by global issues at a local level and the digital shape of the future, to the latest government thinking in key areas such as campaigning, leadership and evaluation.
The day promises to be hugely engaging with a great mix of keynotes, breakout sessions and un conference elements giving delegates the maximum opportunity not just to listen but t really get involved in the conversations and debates on the critical issues.
The day will end when we will hear from the inimitable Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communication. Alex who’s stated aim is for the UK to have the best Public Service Communications in the world is often challenging, always value for money and someone for whom the term ‘force of nature’ was never more apt. The day promises to be a stimulating whirlwind of learning that will round off what I have no doubt will be the strongest and most significant and public service communications event to be staged in my 14 years of working in the public sector.
For as little as £340 delegate fee for all three days including networking and learning events each evening, as well as food and drink, this is the best value and most fun you will have this year (while getting on with some serious professional development and networking).
If you are not already signed up check out our agenda and come and join us for at least one day but preferably more.
I hope to see as many of you in Coventry between 10 and 12 November as possible
Tickets are still available and you can also join in the pre-event debate using #CommsAcad.
Cormac Smith is Chairman of LGcommunications