I had a chance to speak to a great group of young apprentices today about communication, public relations and social media. It is always a chance to reflect on what we do, what has been achieved and where we could improve. Today’s presentation gave me the same opportunity and I could see some common themes about work that emerged.
To start with I realised the communication team have a huge amount of freedom to try things, to discuss things, to give advice and to innovate and get creative. It is something that is hugely important if we are to work effectively but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. If things don’t work out then I need to be able to explain, help move things forward, deal with the aftermath and move on.
I also released that we don’t always follow the standard approach in a number of areas including dealing with journalists and evaluating the impact of communication. This is partly because emergency service communication is slightly different but also because you need to look at things in a fresh way every time. Rules and guidance is helpful but sometimes you need to step outside to get the best results.
There are also aspects of communication which we all agree about. This includes the importance of the code of ethics and ensuring professionalism in all elements of what we do. As communicators we all have a duty to uphold the highest standards and to ensure that colleagues do the same.
I was put on the spot today and my legal knowledge tested with a wide range of questions. When we work in public relations and communications we are expected to become mini-experts in the subject. We need to be able to immerse ourselves in the business so that when we do face these questions we can answer many of them. When I step into the room and start to talk about communication I am representing both the PR business and the police business. I take both of these roles incredibly seriously and being able to talk about work to young people entering the business is a privilege.