Abstracts: October 8th, 2008

New Deal for Communities Partnerships are the key driver for the New Deal for Communities Programme launched in 1998. This report describes how the partnerships have told people about progress in carrying the programme forward in the 39 deprived English localities over the last ten years. It explains how the partnerships have made people aware of the achievements in education, health, crime, worklessness, housing and the physical environment and liveability.

A key element of the communication strategies of partnerships has been to move the media from being antagonistic to at least being neutral about the New Deal Programme. Negative press coverage has had a damaging effect, because the local press has a big influence over public opinion and one negative story can ‘un-do’ a significant amount of work in building a good reputation for the NDC.

Strategies include addressing the short term effect of bad coverage, and the long term need to cultivate links to the local press so that it is aware of the Programme and will allow an NDC to comment on a story. This relationship is particularly important because the community can often be very wary of new public sector partnerships. People still see them as ‘the council’ or ‘the government’ and as a result there is both a negativity and apathy towards getting involved and listening to the messages coming out.

The report is available from Communities and Local Government. http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/pdf/970066.pdf