Headlines: March 12th, 2004

Local councils are being offered help in getting their transport policies and related issues over to the media and to key stakeholders in their communities. The Improvement and Development Agency has developed a new Connecting with Communities resource module, called ‘Transport and The Media’.The new module, to be launched at a conference next week, has been developed in recognition of the fact that transport issues can have real impacts in every locality. After its launch at the ‘Transport and the Media: Are We Getting the Message Across?’ event in London on March 17th, the module will also be available on the Idea website.

Users will be able to consider the issues involved in communicating transport to the media, and to look at the reasons why effective transport communication is important. The material includes a section called ‘Best Practice on Media Relations’, which will familiarise transport professionals with the requirements of the media and include suggestions on how to get the media to understand transport objectives.

There is also a ‘Self Diagnosis’ section that will allow local authorities the opportunity to evaluate their current communications and compare them with best practice.Pascoe Sawyers, the IDeA’s Principal Communications Consultant, who will speak at next week’s event, says communications should not just be about maintaining support, but about preventing public opposition around transport issues by engaging people, and giving the public access to all the facts in good time.

The module will be available via the IDeA Knowledge website, www.idea-knowledge.gov.uk , under the section ‘Improving your council /Connecting with Communities’. The Connecting with Communities modules are produced in partnership with The Audit Commission, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Local Government Association.