APComm Conference Day Two

A packed day two of the APComm Conference 2014 saw discussions about staff morale, professionalism, staff development, evaluation and social for services.


Case Studies

The day opened with three fascinating case studies each looking at different elements of communication required when managing incidents. Andrew Walker, head of news at Police Scotland discussed the horrific incident in November 2013 when a police helicopter crashed in Glasgow. Key learning included resilience, managing resources and remembering welfare for communication teams.

Miranda Sykes, corporate communications manager for Cleveland Police, outlined the challenges for dealing with internal misconduct and disciplinary issues. Among the issues covered were the problems of leaks and dealing with Freedom of Information requests. Miranda spoke about the efforts to lose a ‘force in crisis’ title.

The Metropolitan Police provided an overview of a live investigation with a focus on the role of media and more importantly social media.


APComm was lucky to have the insight of Francis Ingham, chief executive of the PRCA, on the importance of evaluation particularly in a time of financial constraints. He highlighted the Barcelona Principles that outlined agree key elements for effective evaluation.  Francis outlined that “change is coming” in regard to evaluation and what is measured. The PRCA conducted some research that closed on the eve of the conference and showed that of those in-house teams that provided Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) three-quarters were forced to do it and didn’t do it by choice.

Delegates discussed a range of issues and suggestions for evaluation for police forces that covered across all elements of corporate communications.

APComm Survey

For the first time in 10 years there has been a detailed survey of police communication and the details were unveiled at the conference. Public Knowledge, who conducted the survey on behalf of APComm, provided an overview of the findings which included:

–          Only 31 per cent felt they were ‘definitely valued’ for their communication

–          50 per cent feel they have ideas that they can’t implement

–          Three-fifths felt that the importance of communication has increased over the past year

–          44 per cent say the force spends less on communication and that this is likely to decrease


The challenges of budget cuts and the pressure on teams was something that came through the survey as a significant issue. Social media provides opportunities but needs additional resource, according to the respondents.

Chair of APComm Amanda Coleman and Chief Constable Colette Paul, national lead of the communications advisory group, have agreed to take the issues forward to create activity to support and develop communications teams.


Social media for service

Head of Social Engagement of Telefonica, which is O2 in the UK, Paul Hughes discussed how to provide service through social media.  He set the scene about the governance of social media and how it linked across the organisation and was clear across the communication. Paul highlighted the importance of the tone of voice and trying to find the time when you can have some fun.

Telefonica linked social engagement with customer service teams to start to provide a clear offering and avoid people asking many times on different channels. Paul said it was important to work with other colleagues across the business to deal with demand.

Supporting the delivery of services through social required having a workflow management tool to ensure consistency and having a clear audit trail, explained Paul. He continued with details of how little things on social can make a big difference.

The award-winning O2 Tweetserve system that provides automated updates for customers was outlined for delegates. Paul provided statistics that 90 per cent of social media questions are responded to within an hour at O2.

“Social engagement is more than customer service,” said Paul other elements are reputation management, developing conversations and supporting campaigns.