APComm 2015 conference – day one review

Change, content and staff wellbeing were the focus of the first day of the Association of Police Communicators conference.

APComm 2015 opened with a detailed look at change management and internal communications within West Midlands Police. Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thompson, soon to become the Chief Constable, explained about the work taking place to transform the organisation.

He questioned whether police forces are involved in change management or are just communicating things, but also whether there was a real understanding about the impact of change. DCC Thompson outlined the approach being taken to the change known as WMP2020.

“The challenge is how we provide details of a journey for all people and understand what is causing fear in the organisation,” he said.

In a world of information creating engaging content is a real challenge. A very detailed session heard from Jane Eastwood from the Government Digital Service about the work to create content for gov.uk, as well as a look at some of the humour and ‘newsjacking’ from London Fire Brigade’s Vicky Hardman.

Three case studies from the Office of the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Greater Manchester Police, and PSNI gave practical examples of how content was developed in very different circumstances. The key in all of them was that good content, carefully thought through and targeted can bring results.

Dr Les Graham from Durham University Business School presented his work on well-being and staff engagement. He posed interesting questions to the delegates about why they joined policing and why they were motivated to work in the public sector.

Dr Graham explained that harnessing public service motivation was important for engagement with staff. He cited work with a number of police forces within his academic research.

Day one of the conference concluded with a short annual general meeting that outlined the work that has taken place, work that is underway as well as membership and treasurer updates. During the past 12 months APComm has been a voice for police communicators within the industry and has an increased membership.

APComm chair Amanda Coleman said: “It has been a busy year and there have been some significant achievements. I am grateful to the committee and to members for their hard work and commitment and hope that the new committee that will be elected later this year will continue the efforts to support police communicators.”