South East Councils to share communications

An innovative and creative approach to local public sector communications in the south east has moved a step closer thanks to a new agreement between East Sussex County Council and Medway Council.

During 2013 the two councils will work together to develop proposals for a regional shared communications agency for public sector communications. The proposed shared service would provide communications, marketing and engagement services to the two councils and other councils and public sector organisations in the region.

These proposals will build on Medway Council’s existing award-winning communications and marketing team and East Sussex County Council’s ambitious vision for improving communications and engagement with its residents. A final decision on the proposals is expected in summer 2013. The exploratory work will look at the benefits of shared communications, opportunities for broader communications partnership working with other organisations and delivery models for the shared service.

Under the agreement Simon Wakeman, Head of Communications and Marketing at Medway Council, will also take on the role of Head of Communications and Engagement at East Sussex County Council from February 2013 – the first time two upper tier councils have shared their top communications role in this way.

East Sussex County Council and Medway Council are members of the SE7 partnership of seven councils that have committed to working together to improve the quality of services and to achieve savings.

Cllr Keith Glazier, Deputy Leader of East Sussex County Council, said: “This is another really good example of councils sharing services and using their resources in the best way possible. Our partnership with Medway will enable both councils to learn from each other and improve their communications.

“We’ll continue to work with our SE7 partners to look for new partnership opportunities that help to save money and improve services for our residents.”

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Deputy Leader of Medway Council, said “The challenging financial position for local government means we need to look for new ways to sustain and improve the services we deliver. This exciting new venture is an example of Medway’s commitment to innovation and best practice in public sector communications.”