Local Public Services Awards 2009

From over 200 entries our independent judges have selected the following organisations after a two month selection process finishing with a tough final judging day. Once again these have been the most rigorously judged and hotly contested awards in local public services.

Congratulations to everyone on the shortlist – this is a major achievement in itself.

On behalf of the CIPR Local Public Services committee I look forward to meeting you at our annual conference this October in Edinburgh, which ends with our Excellence Awards Dinner where the winners will be revealed.

Many thanks to all our judges for spending so much of their time judging these awards.

Ashley Wilcox, MCIPR
Chair, CIPR Local Public Services

Category 1: Media Relations - Judges: Anne Gregory and Mark Fletcher-Brown

Overall comments

The best entries in this category had a visceral quality; they recognised the importance of having a clear ambition, message and the drive to build relationships with key journalists that would provide the coverage that their organisation wanted. The strongest entries recognised that media relations is a competitive business and that pushing out messages requires innovation, persistence, creativity and boldness.

The key things that differentiated the short listed entries from those that were not were: SMARTness of objectives, effectiveness and efficiency of implementation, the appropriateness of the evaluation measures that were used, the overall impact of the campaign and their demonstrable value for money.

A greater stress on the importance of messages, particularly those honed for (and tested on) different audiences would have added weight to this category.

2009 shortlist

Somerset County Council: Cycle Tour of Britain
London Borough of Greenwich: Destination Greenwich
London Borough of Hackney: 2012 Handover
Northamptonshire County Council: Adoption and Fostering Media Campaign
GLA: Help a London Park
East Sussex County Council: Broken Britain

Category 2: Internal Communications Excellence - Judges Jane Robson and John Brown

Judges comments

Most of the submissions this year were linked to organisational change programmes and organisational priorities aimed at improving staff morale and the "staff advocacy" score. All the entries approached the internal comms task positively and enthusiastically, but budgets varied considerably from around £1k to £80k.

Those shortlisted had, the judges felt, a freshness of approach, recorded best value for money spent and their evaluation was not solely based on internal measures or self-assessment. While some of those not shortlisted had clearly engaged staff, the judges felt they lacked evaluation of the benefits to customers which, after all, was the ultimate aim of the communications activity. It was not always clear what difference the communications had made.

It was interesting and encouraging to note a distinct trend towards much more co-ordinated communications rather than a single-service approach.

2009 shortlist

Cumbria County Council: Six Arms (Part 2) Campaign
Essex County Council: Essex Superheroes
Falkirk Council: Carbon Crusader
Newark and Sherwood District Council: Internal Comms
London Borough of Camden: Turning Strategy into Action
London Borough of Islington: ICexcellence

Category 3: Consultation Excellence - Judges: Phil McCusker and Mike Browne

2009 shortlist

Cumbria County Council: Longtown Moving Forward
London Borough of Islington: Islington's Local Development Framework
Staffordshire County Council: Supporting Local People to Improve their Neighbourhoods
Your Norfolk Your Decision

Category 4: Hard to Reach Communications Excellence - Judges: Melanie Duffett and Pat Gaudin

Judges overall comments:

This was a strong category with many councils and public services demonstrating that they are targeting communications at hard to reach and often vulnerable members of the community. Those shortlisted stood apart from the others because they demonstrated most or all of the following:

  • Strategic objectives that met not just the council's plan but that demonstrably benefited the target audience
  • Involved the target audience or partners in designing, developing and executing the campaign
  • Thought innovatively and used real insight in selecting communications tactics that would 'touch' or attract their audience
  • Produced integrated, well designed and branded materials that built into a campaign accessible for partners and stakeholders as well as the primary audience
  • The evaluation results met the objectives and could show that the campaign successfully reached this audience and bought about positive change.

2009 shortlist

Cumbria County Council: Appleby Horse Fair
Derbyshire County Council: What's Stopping you? Raising Teenagers' Aspirations
Hull City Council: CluedUpInHull.com
Northamptonshire County Council: Personal Budgets
Stockport Council: Kill the Chill
Torfaen County Borough Council: Who Cares? Identifying Hidden Carers

Category 5: Digital Excellence
Judges: Angeline Burton and Kevin Payne

2009 shortlist

Derbyshire County Council: Election 2009
Kirklees Council: Information for Adult Services on web, digital TV and mobile phone
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council: Jazz and Blues Festival
Somerset County Council: Dream Team Challenge 2008/2009
London Borough of Southwark: Back the Burgess Park bid
Teignbridge District Council: Multi media Centre

Category 6: Partnership Excellence - Judges: Anne Gregory and Mark Fletcher-Brown

Overall comments

The judges saw a wide range of partnership activities and were pleased to see the breadth of initiatives that Local Public Services organisations were involved in. These covered the local to the international, from single-objective, short-term campaigns to complex and long-term programmes. Much worthwhile and good work is being done in LPS.

The key things that differentiated the short listed entries from those that were not were: SMARTness of objectives, effectiveness and efficiency of implementation, the appropriateness of the evaluation measures that were used, the overall impact of the campaign and their demonstrable value for money.

2009 shortlist

Exeter City Council: My Neighbourhood
Cumbria County Council: Recycle for Barrow 2009
Essex County Council: Banking on Essex
Gloucester City Council: Gloucester Tall Ships
South Tyneside Council: Public Service Effectiveness
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council: Kill the Chill

Category 7: PR on a Shoestring - Judges: Angeline Burton and Kevin Payne

2009 shortlist

Blackpool Council: Blackpool Loves You
Torfaen County Borough Council: Torfaen – Dan Can
Dudley Council: Once is Enough
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council: Lollipop Cops
London Borough of Bexley: Vote Parish Wood
Falkirk Council: Carbon Crusader

Category 8a(i): External Newspaper or Magazine less than 60,000 circulation - Judges: Vaire Edwards and Mark Morrison

Judges comments:

There were 11 entries in this category, though one had to be excluded as not complying with the criteria. The standard was pretty high overall, with the top couple strong across all criteria. All the entries looked good, though it was a bit surprising that a couple of entries still used a smallish typeface,. The standard of plain English was good in nearly all the entries. One or two submissions failed to give the necessary information, for example on circulation, and others let themselves down by omitting obvious information, such as good contact details. It was good to see some really good use of initial feedback and some clear objectives and strategies, though others do need to think more carefully about strong, measurable objectives.

These comments are pernickety, but designed to be helpful. Overall, public services have definitely adopted a high standard for these important publications.

2009 shortlist

Gravesham Borough Council: Your Borough Magazine
City of Lincoln Council: Your Lincoln
Newark and Sherwood District Council: Voice
Tandridge District Council: Tandridge News
Teignbridge District Council: Teinbridge Life
Waverley Borough Council: Making Waves

Category 8a(ii): External Newspaper or Magazine over 60,000 Circulation - Judges: Ruth Jolley and Carl Welham

Judges comments

  • Robust evidence of the effectiveness of the strategy
  • Professional use of photography, design and layout
  • Reader friendly, jargon free copy
  • Clear brand identity and commitment to improving credibility of the organisation
  • Promotion of clear channels of access into council services

2009 shortlist

Wigan Council: Borough Life
North Somerset Council: North Somerset Life
Harrow Council: Harrow People
London Borough of Hackney: Hackney Today
Cumbria County Council: Your Cumbria
London Borough of Lewisham: Lewisham Life

Category 8b Internal Newspaper or Magazine - Judges: Mark Morrison and Vaire Edwards

Judges comments
The 18 entries for internal publications showed a real diversity of approach. The quality of writing was high and it was good to see the commitment of everyone involved shining through the publications. Most used good plain English and were informative and engaging publications. The best entries are built on clear objectives, are well designed and focus on their audience. It is also clear that the stronger entries are those that have engaged their audience in the development of their publication then encourage and respond to feedback.
Good design has a major impact on audience response, so it is good to see the public sector setting high standards for communicating with this core audience.

2009 shortlist

London Borough of Camden: Inside Camden
London Borough of Lambeth: Team Talk
Lincolnshire County Council Fire and Rescue: Fired Up!
Norfolk County Council: Footprint
Torfaen County Borough Council: The Word
Warrington Borough Council: Your Voice

Category 8c Publications - Judges: Sue Appleby and Debbie Byers

Judges comments:

This category attracted a wide variety of publications, from tenants magazines, to A- Z directories, to leaflets targeted at specific groups. Overall, the standard of entries was high, but councils are still missing opportunities to connect with their audiences in a way which embraces modern marketing techniques. The shortlisted entries impressed the judges not only by their use of strong visual design and good copywriting, but by demonstrating that they had thought about the needs of their readers. They also presented good evidence of evaluation techniques and had made value for money a priority, but it was their creative input and good ideas which separated them from the rest of the field.

The judges shortlisted five entries, agreeing that the rest of the field was too far behind to warrant further inclusion.

2009 shortlist

Dudley Council: Community Alarms leaflet
Hull City Council: Let's Get Ready
Derbyshire County Council: Quids In
London Borough of Camden: Summer University prospectus
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council: Kill the Chill

Category 8d Design and Photography - Judges: Phil McCusker and Mike Browne

Judges comments

The shortlisted entries for design and photography were of a very high standard this year. They were clear about their objectives and their audiences and were executed with creativity, style and impact. The very best entries in this category also demonstrated excellent value for money and were supported by strong evaluation to demonstrate success.

2009 shortlist

London Borough of Camden: Your Camden
Kirklees Council: Dignity in Care poster campaign
Torfaen County Borough Council: Dan Can the Super Recycler
Essex County Council: Essex Jiangsu Festival
Cumbria County Council: Six Arms – How do you remember yours?
Somerset County Council – Providing for Life

Category 9a: Campaign of the Year - Judges: Melanie Powell and Danny Moss

Judging criteria

  • Use of research, analysis and evaluation
  • Consideration of stakeholders/inclusiveness
  • Identification of issues/SMART objectives/ clear strategy:
  • Evaluation/effectiveness in meeting objectives/value for money
  • Creativity/added value from use of PR

2009 shortlist

Derbyshire County Council: Trusted Traded
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council: Kill the Chill
Norfolk County Council: Dual the A11
Rugby Borough Council: Slim Your Bin
The City of Edinburgh Council: Caring for our Children (Foster a Child – Change Lives)
London Borough of Islington: Really Really Easy – persuading residents to pay council tax by direct debit

Category 9b: Young Communicator of the Year - Judges: Melanie Duffett and Pat Gaudin

Judges comments:

Those shortlisted for Young Communicator of the year

  • Have made significant contributions to their organisation's reputation
  • Exhibit potential leadership qualities
  • Have demonstrated remarkable development over a short period of time
  • Have shown initiative, creativity, the ability to plan strategically and to take responsibility for a project
  • Are excellent ambassadors for the public sector and for public relations

4 Entries are shortlisted from the 7 entries received.

Samantha Adler: Westminster City Council
Catherine Beaumont: Stockport Council
Tim Borrett: Teignbridge District Council
Mark Onwubuya: Greenwich Council

Category 9c: Communicator of the Year

Due to a low number of entries the judges have decided not to shortlist for this category.

Category 9d(i): Communicators of the Year Small Team 1- 4

East Northamptonshire Council
Newark and Sherwood District Council
Teignbridge District Council

Category 9d(ii): Communicators of the Year Large Team 5 Plus

Cumbria County Council
Somerset County Council
London Borough of Camden
Essex County Council
Derbyshire County Council