2010: a story of evolution and survival

About the author

Richard Bailey Hon FCIPR is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

AMEC Summit Richard Hadley @HadleyStudio
AMEC Summit Richard Hadley @HadleyStudio

2010. You’ve probably heard of the Barcelona Principles, and they certainly gained a mention this morning at the AMEC Summit.

But we heard another narrative – and it’s a sobering reminder for all in public relations and comms roles.

2010 was also the year when 2500 communicators lost their jobs in government comms in the UK. The coalition government was determined to drive down the deficit, and ministers asked for evidence of the value delivered by £1 billion. When managers gave a too-honest answer (‘we don’t know, but we’re doing lots with it?’), all in the Government Communication Service (GCS) were challenged to prove that their roles delivered value.

Those who couldn’t lost their jobs (this year saw the end to the longstanding government comms agency, the Central Office of Information).

Today, the GCS employs 4000 people and they’re all tasked with completing four pieces of comms development each year (with evaluation a core requirement).

Alex Aiken, who heads GCS, describes the importance of learning from failure and demonstrating progress towards results-driven and evidence-based comms. To this end, he announced the revised GCS Evaluation Framework 2.0 this month (handing the first print copy to AMEC’s Barry Legetter.)

Barry Legetter had earlier introduced AMEC’s 10th summit – and his last as chief executive.

He said that in 2009 there had been no forum to discuss measurement. Today, he welcomed the largest ever audience to a global summit (with 330 delegates from 40 countries including new partners from China).

In 2010, AMEC published the Barcelona Principles, with the support of IPR, Global Alliance, ICCO and PRSA.

AMEC’s mission is to promote education and best practice in this field, and its Integrated Evaluation Framework was cited and developed by other speakers during the morning session.

Clearly, the message is getting out there – and there are plenty of people who have been convinced and converted. But what of the rest?

Alex Aiken says: ‘I believe that the measurement of comms is the most important discipline.’

Image your job depended on it. His message: it does.

PR Academy offers the AMEC International Certificate in Measurement and Evaluation.