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2021 Granicus UK Trust in Government survey shows growing importance of consistent council communications in the age of Covid

As part of our commitment to understanding what residents need and want from interactions with their local authority, and how we can best support our council customers in meeting those expectations, we recently commissioned a survey* looking at trust in government across the UK.

The results provide some fascinating insights about the growing importance of consistent council communications – particularly as we continue to navigate the unchartered waters of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While only 4.8% of respondents said they consider their local council their primary source of Covid-19 information, 78% went on to say that information from their local authority was ‘somewhat’ to ‘extremely’ reliable and accurate through 2020 – putting councils in the top three information sources alongside central government and broadcast media. When it comes to the frequency with which councils communicated on Covid-19, almost a third (29.3%) were dissatisfied.

With misinformation more prolific than ever before as the Covid-19 vaccine roll out continues, trustworthy communications from local government sources are arguably even more vital. Councils are widely acknowledged as being best placed to understand their local community and the issues which may affect vaccine take up, yet almost half (44.2%) of the respondents in the survey said that hadn’t heard from the council on vaccine roll out topics very frequently at all.

It is clear meanwhile that the appetite for receiving council communications, particularly via digital channels such as text and email, is there, with 82% deeming it ‘somewhat’ to ‘very important’ for central and local government to communicate in this way. That being said, expectations are not always being met – with only 23.3% of respondents receiving information via email newsletters, and 18.9% via text messages – pointing to the importance of finding the right channel mix to get the message across.

Ian Roberts, Managing Director for Granicus UK, observes: “Council digital and communications teams have done a fantastic job at reacting to the unprecedented demands and challenges of the pandemic. A year on, it is a good time to take stock and reflect on what we’ve learned and can take forward. When councils communicate consistently and cut through with clear messages which are shared via the right channel mix, it’s welcome, but we’ve got a way to go to make sure it is happening across the board. We’re focusing on how we can support local authority customers with digital tools which will enable them to do just that.”

Granicus’ civic engagement platform provides a powerful solution for council teams looking to take their interaction with residents, businesses and visitors to the next level. Contact our sales team for a demonstration and to find out more.

*The survey was undertaken by Alchemer using a representative sample of 1972 respondents in February 2021