In 2005 Communications Management launched the first public affairs service entirely devoted to the world of education and skills policy. Led by Paul Barnes, a former Managing Director of Weber Shandwick Public Affairs, our expertise in this area has become increasingly in demand as clients want to have a better understanding of policy-making, better relationships with policy-makers and an opportunity to engage effectively with politicians and their advisors and influencers.
Our approach to public affairs is based on the understanding that clients need to present and relate their interests to the external policy agenda. It is more effective to shape existing policy evolution than to ‘demand' change in the current education and skills climate. However, we have a good track record of influencing decisions in our clients' favour – and in some instances this has led to financial support and longevity.
In recent years we have carried out several public affairs programmes and campaigns for universities, further education colleges, schools and their partners, skills bodies and commercial education partners.
We have undertaken several local public affairs campaigns – working with local authorities, for example, to engage client in the planning process and to developing effective community engagement. This is especially relevant to new campus builds or the development of student residences.
As well as providing a public affairs services ourselves, we also help to coach clients in the ‘inner workings' of policy-making and government, so that they can develop their own capabilities in this area.