Headlines: July 4th, 2002

Managers in local government have been offered a new free guide to improving their council’s public relations.The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), a Government funded body helping councils improve, is hosting an online communications toolkit aimed at giving councils pointers to best practice in achieving good communications.

Research has those residents who feel they are informed about council services and decisions are more likely to provide positive responses to resident satisfaction surveys.

Generally however, the IDeA says public understanding of local government’s role and services is low, yet to modernise successfully, councils must capture the attention and imagination of their local communities.

The toolkit is a key part of ‘Connecting with Communities’, a project funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and also involving the Audit Commission, and the Local Government Association.

Other elements include a major research and benchmarking project to identify examples of best practice, barriers to good communication and potential solutions to address these, plus a “business case for communications” aimed at chief executives and leading members.

The toolkit can be found at www.idea.gov.uk/communications