A year ago I wrote these words “We may not have big budgets or huge teams but we have something more important – a passion for what we do.” It was in relation to a question about the challenges and the role of internal communication in the public sector. (http://www.communicatemagazine.com/features/2016-may/going-public/)
Last night was the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence awards in London, I wasn’t there as I was at a North West meeting in my beautiful home city of Manchester. I followed the events on social media and was delighted to see many public sector colleagues recognised for their work. I was overwhelmed to read posts about the tribute paid by Sarah Pinch to public sector communicators who have had to deal with the attacks in Manchester and London.
The past two weeks have been a major test for public sector communicators. I have never experienced such intensity, emotion and enormity of a situation. The words I wrote in May last year came back into my head.
What I have seen since the horrific events in Manchester are public sector communicators in small teams and with no money just deal with what they were confronted with. My colleagues in the police worked 12 hour or more shifts, they worked through the night and they faced things that no communicator ever should. Yes we got tired and things were tense at times but we helped each other through it. We are still helping each other every day.
Why do they do it? It isn’t for the money, the prestige or the recognition. They do it because they have a passion for communication that makes a difference to people’s lives. They can have a direct impact on people’s lives and hopefully improve them or help them in their moment of need.
I have reflected a lot in the past two and a half weeks about my own motivation to do this role. Despite the challenges and the issues I still love the idea that the team can help catch criminals and support victims. We can also give people an insight into the amazing work that police officers and staff do on a daily basis. It is still hugely rewarding even after 18 years.
In the article last year I said “There is no hiding in the shadows when you are working in the public sector. But when communication means a victim is helped, a criminal is put behind bars or someone is protected from harm then it is a good day.” Those are important and poignant words for me more now than ever before.