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#FuturePRoof: The NHS at 70 with lessons for the wider PR community

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An overview of #FuturePRoof edition three and how communications offers the NHS its greatest lifeline.

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#FuturePRoof: The NHS at 70 with lessons for the wider PR community

  1. 1. #FuturePRoof and The NHS at 70 Sarah Hall @Hallmeister
  2. 2. About me
  3. 3. About #FuturePRoof Three handbooks for senior practitioners looking at the changing face of the industry The story of public relations as a management discipline Cheerleader for best practice in comms Crowdsourced model with expertise from academics, teachers and practitioners across the globe www.futureproofingcomms.co.uk @WeArePRoofed Podcast on Spotify and iTunes
  4. 4. Why it’s important In 1999, Dr Jon White presented a paper to the Swiss Public Relations Society that stated the future was bright for PR practitioners This was dependant on practitioners recognising ‘the opportunities presented by the environment and management needs’ and ‘taking steps to educate and train themselves’, as well as making ‘full use of communication technology, to provide reliable, if not indispensable, services to managers as they seek to deal with complexity and manage successful businesses.’
  5. 5. Why talk about PR as a management discipline? Huge opportunity for the industry Prevents other disciplines eating our lunch and puts us in a leadership role Increases investment into PR If we approach PR as a management tool, it changes how we approach our CPD Helps brands and management teams reframe their approach to public relations; we are NOT just a delivery function PR delivers incredible value; we deserve more respect
  6. 6. Why talk about PR as a management discipline? Changes in politics, society, media and technology are affecting how business and the wider industry operates More than ever PR practitioners are needed to help navigate uncertainty More than ever PR practitioners need the skills to operate at the top of their game We need to be the eyes, ears and conscience of the organisations we work for People expect more for their brand loyalty at times of upheaval and austerity
  7. 7. PR helps brands like the NHS gain legitimacy “[Organisations] are being forced to re-think their purpose and how they gain and maintain their legitimacy not only with their immediate stakeholders, but to society more widely.” Professor Anne Gregory, chair in corporate communication at the University of Huddersfield and non-executive director of Airdale NHS Foundation Trust
  8. 8. Organisation ManagementSociety
  9. 9. #FuturePRoof 3; The NHS at 70 with lessons for the wider PR community
  10. 10. #FuturePRoof 3 Special edition to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS Dedicated to all the hardworking comms professionals who connect the complex web of organisations that is the NHS through internal comms, communicate difficult messaging around healthcare change and save lives through their work on the front line Twenty-five new essays from a forward-thinking cohort of NHS practitioners, sub-contractors, partners, commentators and journalists, all striving to reinforce the strategic value of public relations within their organisations The story of an NHS pushing hard to modernise as it navigates through the toughest challenges of its lifetime – and how comms offers it its greatest lifeline
  11. 11. “Communications professionals are an important part of the NHS family and play a vital role in telling the story of the NHS to the public, patients and staff. “This book tells the story of NHS communications and communicators. The things we do well and the things we need to be better at. “I am a proud NHS communicator and it is great to see our role being celebrated as part of the NHS’s 70th.” Antony Tiernan, engagement and communications director, NHS 70
  12. 12. #FuturePRoof 3 Themes include: • The role of comms in achieving organisational outcomes • How organisations can secure and maintain trust • Planning and data • Digital-first strategies • How to address barriers to technological innovation • The role of practitioners in managing major change A book packed with fascinating insights, a raft of best practice case studies and specialist knowledge to aid practitioners in their own communications role Features highly targeted campaigns based on planning and data, which use integrated comms to reach audiences and are continually measured, evaluated and evolved to secure the best outcomes possible
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  16. 16. #FuturePRoof 3 – editor’s analysis Professional communications has never been more critical to the future of the NHS The biggest challenge is not where investment comes from, but public engagement and advocacy: how to educate the wider population about the change that is needed and create demand for this to happen Those in the communication space offer the NHS the greatest lifeline if they have the courage to speak the truth about what modernisation looks like and how a better service can be achieved for those who have the privilege of using the NHS
  17. 17. “Finding the line between freedom to speak, getting the facts straight and not alarming the public is the job of a diplomat and colleague who is trusted to make sure the truth is told.” Roy Lilley, NHS and social care writer and broadcaster
  18. 18. “Be routinely honest with the media – and thus the public – about the pressures that the service is under…and acknowledge that that can cause problems. “I know these are all in NHS terms risky behaviours. But they might just help – people like me and people like you – and so the NHS itself.” Denis Campbell, health policy editor of the Guardian and Observer
  19. 19. #FuturePRoof 3 – editor’s analysis The need for strategic advisers in the NHS has never been greater Greater transparency and investment into skills is imperative The use of capability frameworks is vital to ensuring communicators within the NHS are measured against the same knowledge, skills and standards – and that work delivers against organisational objectives In addition to CPD, a clear area of focus must be proving the value of communications to management teams, which includes strong measurement and evaluation
  20. 20. “We must all continually invest in CPD. “Very few formal qualifications include leadership development and or management skills yet these are essential for career progression and the successful management of projects and teams.” Claire Riley, director of communications and corporate affairs at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  21. 21. “Some of the greatest challenges facing the NHS require expert communications skills and knowledge. “We must make the case for communications leaders and their teams to retain the resources they need to play a leading role in helping the NHS to respond effectively. “Communications leaders need to make better use of formal evaluation frameworks to show their activities lead to tangible returns on investment.” Daniel Reynolds, director of communications at NHS Providers
  22. 22. #FuturePRoof 3 – editor’s analysis The NHS remains one of the most trusted institutions in the UK According to the Commonwealth Fund healthcare thinktank, it is the best, safest and most affordable healthcare system out of 11 high income countries analysed Much of its credibility comes from the human face and skills of its employees, who interact with the public every day As such, one of #FuturePRoof’s biggest lessons is to use real people to lead debate
  23. 23. “Who should represent the NHS to communicate its strategic policies; talk about change; and outline its future? “Our survey found that employees are the most credible voices – more than leaders and more than experts. “Engaging the public with the public health agenda – critical to the sustainability of the NHS – is an area where trust is key.” Alan Maine, senior director for UK Health Public Affairs at Edelman
  24. 24. “Direct face-to-face contact between patients and staff is the most powerful tool we have at our disposal and empowering our frontline teams with the information they need to educate patients on the right and wrong things to do, is arguably our best chance of changing attitudes, opinions and behaviours long-term.” Liz Davies, head of communications at the South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group
  25. 25. #FuturePRoof 3 – editor’s analysis Teams within the NHS need to join forces to implement one approach at scale Pooling resources is the only way to deal with an aging population, underfunding, political agendas, privatisation, parochial self-interest, healthcare that doesn’t consistently meet quality standards and questions over the type and location of delivery – just some of the issues the leaders of the NHS face It’s time to talk about the true cost of treatment and the value of the service the public receives so the NHS can evolve - and not just survive but thrive Explaining the benefits to a total overhaul of the system could mobilise an army of vocal supporters prepared to lobby the government for what the NHS needs
  26. 26. “Working at scale on joint issues provides the strategic value that NHS leaders are looking for from NHS communicators. ”We need to be prepared to interrogate data and draw upon the full range of communications and marketing tools available, not to mention continue to make the case for investment. “This includes making the pitch to leaders.” Caroline Latta, NHS North of England Commissioning Support lead
  27. 27. “Public sector organisations are having to work more closely together on a range of issues including health and social care, housing and homelessness, loneliness and social exclusion – the root of many health problems. “They have the opportunity to consider ‘joined up’ public communication on some of these linked ‘wicked’ problems.” Professor Anne Gregory, chair in corporate communication at the University of Huddersfield and non-executive director of Airdale NHS Foundation Trust
  28. 28. #FuturePRoof 3 – summary Ultimately we all owe a debt of thanks to the NHS and it is our duty to uphold and protect it Its management teams and communicators are faced with difficult decisions but now it is time to: • Collaborate and implement one approach at scale • Embrace transparency • Invest in skills • Speak the truth to power • Engage with the public to shape the future of the NHS together • Use frontline staff to lead the debate Continual collaboration and innovation will help it evolve over the next 70 years
  29. 29. “The NHS faces bigger challenges now than it ever has in its 70 year history. It needs people to fight for it and as communications professionals we are in a unique position to do that. “I urge each and every one of you to please step forward and make your voices count. Right now we are in the privileged position of receiving free healthcare at the point of treatment. It would be a shame – and catastrophic for many – to lose that. “This special edition of #FuturePRoof is my contribution and way of showing my gratitude and give back. Thank you and happy birthday, NHS!” Sarah Hall, founder and editor of #FuturePRoof
  30. 30. Thank you – any questions? Sarah Hall sarah@sarahhallconsulting.co.uk www.sarahhallconsulting.co.uk 07702 162 704
  31. 31. Join the #FuturePRoof community Available now in hard copy and on Kindle www.futureproofingcomms.co.uk @WeArePRoofed Join the Facebook group

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