As it’s one of the very few things I know anything about, exploding a few public sector myths seems like a good Idea.

1. People do or should intrinsically care more about the public sector than than they do about any brand.

The thing is, people do care about the service but they tend not to associate the service with the service provider. Whereas people associate the burger they are eating with Macdonalds the same logic does not apply with, for example, associating the school that their children attend with the LEA. (sorry just LA now). I thinks it’s something to do with the act of purchasing as opposed to background passivity. Using the same analogy, the LA is always there wether they want it or not, the burger is a choice.

2. The public sector are good steady clients.

Politically volatile environments provide unstable projects. Any project subject to one type of political ideology is subject to change come a change of administration.

Also, the budget structure tends to lead to a fraught end year .January and Febuary are boom and bust months when departments are deperately trying to get rid of ring fenced underspends or realising that they’ve blown the budgets and cutting back on luxuries ie PR.

3. Local Government is the slowest organisational structure on earth.

Not a myth – It is

4. The public sector needs the publicity so it works in PR right from the start right?

Wrong. The public sector does understand that it needs PR but tends to see it as a bolt on. They’ll work on a project, get it up and running and then think about publicity, and yes, as someone who does PR for a local authority it is amazingly annoying.

5. Local Authorities understand the local news agenda.

A thousand times wrong! To work in the public sector, especially local government, you have to be dedicated or otherwise unemployable, either way you don’t do it for the money. This dedication tends to put blinkers on people stopping them seeing that just because the news is important to them, it is not necessarily important to other people, most of whom (linking back to the first point,) don’t care.

I sound like I’m being a tad harsh on the public sector, I’m not. I like working with the kind of people that go into public service and there are bodies with good PR departments. As whole, however, they do need to look outside for real PR and the agencies that want the contracts need to know these 5 points.

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