Cratus Communications were instructed by Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council to review the functioning and output of their Communications Team in late 2019/ early 2020.
There was a recognition that the work of the Comms team was vital in bringing together residents, who may have felt they still belonged to one of the legacy councils, as well as bringing together members and officers as part of one unified organisation.
Staff had only recently undergone a period of significant change with two unitary authorities and one district council being combined to form one of the largest unitary authorities in the country.
To ascertain any potential internal problems Cratus conducted a series of interviews with key officers and the Leader of the Council. These highlighted where people thought the running of the team could perform better, how output could be improved and how internal relationships might be strengthened.
The interviews conducted also established perceptions of the existing situation and establish essential objectives and key messages for the team in the future.
We also conducted a review of the external output of the team using the same channels residents, tourists and the media use to access information about the Council. We then conducted a benchmarking exercise where we compared all aspects of the Communications Team against two Councils who have strong performing Communications Teams.
Alongside working with officers and members of BCP we also spoke to local journalists who have regular dealings with the communications team and report on their activity. This helped us to further understand the dynamic between the media and the Communications team.
The combinations of interviews, desktop research and benchmarking allowed us to make valuable and well informed recommendations to BCP Council with the aim of improving the Communications function.
A detailed written report which combined both our findings and recommendations was produced. On completion of the written report we returned to BCP to present our findings to the Leader and Chief Executive enabling direct and open discussions to take place