No long good-byes!

By on 02/06/2010 in Blog

Debra Davis comments on leaving Birmingham City Council:

~2532233There is a sense of accomplishment as I look back on three and a half years at Birmingham City Council.  I was asked to do a job - improve media and reorganise communications to make it more effective, efficient and proactive.  Job done!

In 2008, I appointed Deborah Harries as Head of News and she has done much for the Council to improve our reputation in the regional and business press — and on-line.  I am particularly proud of the success of  The team has just won the Innovation Award at the Midlands Media Awards and a Silver at the LG Comms Reputation Awards.  Advertising value equivalent (AVE) of positive /neutral media coverage rises monthly.

The reorganization and restructure of Public Affairs and Communications (PAC) at the Council is now in the last stages of implementation.  We have reduced the cost of communications by £650k and are now setting comms priorities and planning ahead with more purpose. 

The result is that we will track campaigns that are evidence-based, evaluate the effectiveness and value for money, report to the Council leadership on successes and monitor the spending more closely on all Council communications.  All worthy successes requiring continued good will of BCC staff, partners, business and community leaders, residents and media.

There have been several important service improvements including the new look of Forward and, in the last three years, three e-publications:  The Birmingham Bulletin (130,000 subscribers), the Business Bulletin (56,000 subscribers) and Global Birmingham.  The latest edition of Forward is about to hit the streets - following a long overdue face-lift!  The last three front covers are worthy of prestigious awards. 

Social media is also on the rise across the Council and we are expecting our Creative Services unit to manage the BCC brand consistently to high standards, provide important design, editorial and print services.  The unit will also be responsible for generating income by corporately managing advertising assets such as gateway signs, roundabouts and outdoor media.

There are a great many projects and campaigns, to name a few, that the PAC team has supported:  Political Conferences, Science City, the Science Festival and Hello Digital, Democracy Week, Elections Nights, the Library of Birmingham, New Street Station, the Climate Change Festival and Climate Change agenda.  There is still important work to do on PFI Highways, Community Cohesion, City of Culture and Big City Plan and much more.

As I leave for Canada — I do so with fond memories of very many colleagues inside and outside the Council.  I will be returning to Canada for five weeks to be with family, friends and dabble in the Toronto Mayor’s campaign.

As many know, Alan Grindley, my partner, Founder and Chief Executive of City TV, has been working hard to set up City TV Birmingham as a first in a series of local television stations across the UK.  It is time that I supported his venture more closely bringing experience and a network that will, in the end, support this great city.  I will be returning to Birmingham as Director of Communications for City TV Broadcasting in mid summer with the prospect to open the doors to City TV in the autumn.

With thanks to all for your friendship and support.

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