CATEGORY: Public SectorNews

Reflecting on LGcomms Academy

Reflecting on LGcomms Academy

LGcomms Academy is a highlight of the comms year. As an LGcomms partner and key sponsor of the event we were delighted to be welcomed as part of the local government community to Cutler’s Hall in Sheffield for two days of insightful, fascinating and even heart-felt presentations. 

The theme of this year’s academy was that of “Communicating in an era of constant change” and the breadth and depth of the programme meant there was something to inspire everyone.  Here’s a few highlights of our time in the city ranked No.2 in Europe for City Breaks and No.1 in the UK for starting a business…

We heard from Cllr Tom Hunt, leader of Sheffield Council, and Oliver Coppard, Mayor of South Yorkshire on how they value comms and look to engage with the teams to ensure that their communities are informed and engaged, but that it is presented with transparency and authenticity at its heart. 

From Mandy Pearse, Dan Slee, Martin George and Jack Fox there were insights into the ever-evolving technology and media landscape and the opportunities and challenges that this presents. Including some fascinating insights from CIPR on how to embrace AI and understand the advantages that ai driven tools present, in terms of our everyday work to improve productivity, output and support the sector – but I can’t help but hold this up in parallel to the question asked of Dan Slee” is faked content was likely to be a threat to press offices” only to see this the following day: 

Dan Slee linkedin post

Academy gives the comms community, not only the chance to hear from inspirational speakers but to come together to exchange experiences, challenges, ideas and successes. And again, we heard both sides of the coin, understanding the work and impact from major positive community ‘events’ for example that of Eurovision in Liverpool from Sarah Latcham, to the strength and resilience needed in times of heart-breaking local crisis – And I a sure that everyone will echo my admiration for Ruby, Michael and Louise who shared their stories so that the rest of us can learn and in some small way prepare – as it could be something that any comms team has to face at any point – and without warning. 

Dan Hare, our COO, shared his thoughts "The most powerful talk of the conference was undoubtedly the last where senior council communicators reflected on their experiences of horrendous events including the Nottingham attacks in June that left three people dead and a city reeling from tragedy. Ruby Bhattal gave a deeply personal account of the chaotic aftermath and the efforts to get the city to recover. I don’t think I had ever considered just what a difficult job our customers have until this talk. We know they’re usually busy with a ton of stuff, but then in a single moment, something happens that changes everything. She recounted the toll those days took on her personally and yet, it was at this darkest of times that other comms professionals reached out to her to make sure she was okay. Sadly, quite a few of our customers and potential customers have been at the sharp end of awful events. 

In this moment, I realised the true value of LG Comms - we see it as a means to reach our target audience primarily, but there is a real community of dedicated professionals who care deeply about the communities they serve and care about helping each other." 

There was also an array of practical sessions including data analysis/storytelling with Alex Waddington, automating digital campaigns with our own Dan Hare and wellbeing and resilience with Georgia Turner, all of which sparked lively discussion and idea sharing. The presentations from all of the various sessions are now available to download on the LGcomms website 

Andy Allsopp, Chair of LGcomms, said: “Academy looks to have hit the mark - we’re excited about the conversations, ideas and connections which have been created as a result of the event and where they will lead. I think we stayed true to our theme, Communicating in an Era of Constant Change. And having commercial partners like e-shot as a part of the programme, adding real value for delegates through their expertise, was a key component of the Academy mix.”

In a venue steeped in history, we looked to the future. Indeed, the highlights of the two days are too numerous to mention, but we will absolutely be reminiscing with the play list of songs from artists proud to call Sheffield their home from Eddie as soon as we possibly can! You can have a listen here: 

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