CATEGORY: Public SectorEvent

It only works when it all works: UnAwards Masterclass 24

It only works when it all works: UnAwards Masterclass 24

There is no parallel to the level of opportunity for community and collaboration that local authority professionals have; focusing on the same things, facing the same issues and challenges and seeking the same outcomes both in their own fulfilment and the development of their residents/audiences. Each individual and nuanced, but close enough to share experience and insights.

You can't underestimate the importance of the network and sharing of learning and collaboration between councils - both financially and experientially. The UnAwards Masterclass made it abundantly clear the benefits of bringing together like-minded, talented individuals to create things, where the sum really is greater than the parts.

That all sounded a bit grand - but that is how much of an impact the last few days have had. We are all part of something and have the opportunity to help make that something great.

Here’s who shared their insights and award-winning activity on the day;

  • Manchester City Council demonstrated an outstanding grasp of social media dynamics, leveraging data and insights to drive their content strategy across various channels.

  • Lewisham Council and its partners showcased the power of collaborative efforts even with limited resources, fundamentally reshaping their community engagement approach.

  • Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority's Best Small Comms Team delivered a poignant video alongside a successful rebranding initiative, leaving a lasting impact. CAN Digital and a consortium of local authorities impressed with their collaborative effort on a compelling foster care recruitment video, recognized for its creativity and effectiveness.

  • Staffordshire council initiated vital conversations about the Climate Crisis, earning accolades for their crisis communication strategy.

  • Buckinghamshire Council's adept use of data stood out for its ability to precisely target communications addressing cost of living concerns.

  • Hertfordshire Council's internal communications efforts were lauded for their creativity and effectiveness in promoting staff well-being, as pointed out by Laurel Chilcot Smithson.

  • Magpie's partnership with Hertfordshire Council to combat air pollution showcased the potential of behaviour change strategies in addressing environmental challenges.

  • Teamwork makes the dream work as Lucy Downham shared why the team at Wigan Council are an award winning comms team; and finally

  • Lifetime achievement award for the wonderful Ruby Bhattal who shared her insights into how to get the best from your team and to work positively with the people around you.

A star-studded line-up, I am sure you agree..

The 4 C’s of the UnAwards masterclass, as penned by event creator Darren Caveney, gives further feeling from the big day;

“For now I had four key takeaways which I wanted to share – I’m calling them my 4 ‘C’s

1. Creativity

This was the common theme which ran through each of the 14 winning entries we learned about. Creativity, of course, takes many forms and they were all in abundance as we sat in our comfy cinema sofas listening intently to the behind-the-scenes stories of the winning work.

2. Collaboration

This may be the key watchword of 2024 for public sector communicators. Together is almost always stronger than alone and by working with others who can support us – and fill in some of the gaps in our skills or resources – we can deliver more effective work. Whether it’s local partners, national providers or knowledgeable consultants, there are people in and around our world’s who can help. So don’t be alone – seek out some support.

3. Community

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we work in the absolute best industry. I love the community in and around comms2point0 and I’m lucky to benefit from the support of a lot of people. To be able to put on and host a learning event of this quality – and which is £free to attend – is a blessing. You’d pay a lot of money for it elsewhere.


I’ve been saying for a long time that we should never start a new campaign from scratch because there is so much learning out there. Someone somewhere has delivered some similar work and you may benefit from their insights and recorded outputs and outcomes. It’s one of the main reasons I created comms2point0 almost 14 years ago. “

Couldn’t agree with you more Darren, and if you want to read he full write up on the day it is available on comms2point0

I would also recommend reading “beautiful isn’t it” by Ben Capper of Grey Fox Communications and Marketing, which talks about the lessons from the winning "Best use of video" entry.

“We value our public services, and want them to work for us; but in a way that is appropriate for the 21st century. So we (as communicators) need to be far less reticent in our language. We need to be far more confident in the stories we tell. We need to invest (wisely) in creating beautiful, memorable content to tell them.”

Whilst we were sad our winner was not one of those presenting, we got to enjoy presentations from some of our customers including Lucy Downham whose team we work with at Wigan Council and the worthy winners of “Best Comms Team”.

As pictures paint a thousand words, here are some of the day and we look forward to working with next year’s winners to deliver the campaigns and outcomes that we will be talking about in 2025.

e-shot team enjoying the unawards

We are proud to have the privilege of being a part of this community- through our work with both local authorities and central government, and our voice and participation in the conversations that will shape our country and the lives of many people in it.

We are hoping to have a special webinar for the Best Use of Email award as our winner was not able to present – register now to be the first to find out when we announce the date for the webinar event.

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