Hi, we are the press and media team for Wealden District Council. We are always looking to promote Wealden as a community and our place within that.
This page explains our communications strategy, how you can keep up to date on all of our news and ways you can contact us.
If you are filling in this form because you are in a photo, please use this link:
If you are sending in a photo with anybody in it, you will need every individual in your photo to complete this image consent form before we can use the photo. Please make sure that they all use the same description of the event, so that we can match the consent forms with the photo.
All media enquiries and requests for interviews, filming and photography should be directed to our Policy, Insight and Communications Team:
Out of hours
Emergency contact details outside of office hours: 07985 812076
If you are a member of the public who has an enquiry about a council service please use our contact form
The Council has a social media presence on six of the main platforms. This helps us to engage with our residents, communities and businesses and the conversations they are having online. It also allows us to keep our audiences informed with information and service updates about the Council. Keep up to date and follow us on:
Social Media – rules and guidance
- Our Social Media accounts are generally monitored during working hours, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, except on public holidays.
- Our goal is to respond to as many posts as we can but this is not always possible.
- Staff who run the social media accounts may not be able to answer your questions themselves and will need to consult or request information from colleagues in other departments. This can take some time so please be patient if you do not receive a response straight away.
- We may share or retweet information that we think will be of interest or use to Wealden residents, businesses and organisations.
- Please remember that while we may like or follow someone, retweet or share their information, it does not necessarily mean that we endorse them.
We reserve the right to remove any contributions that break the rules of our Social Media Acceptable Use Policy
Communications and Engagement Strategy 2022
“The way we communicate is rapidly changing as digital technology evolves. We need to ensure that we are in step with these changes by regularly reviewing and adapting the way we communicate and engage with our residents and partners.
The Council has already undertaken several significant changes in the way it resources and delivers its functions in order to deliver an effective, efficient, five-star service to our customers, with community engagement and involvement placed at the heart of these changes.
Good communication and engagement are important to maintain trust and confidence from the communities we work in, to ensure that we can successfully carry out our duties and to keep them informed, updated, and engaged. We must communicate and engage in a meaningful and authentic way with our audiences. This includes our residents, staff, elected Members, local businesses, stakeholder organisations, and central government.
To achieve our aims and objectives it is important that the entire organisation uses a consistent approach to communications, engagement, and marketing. This will inform our decision making; help us to manage public expectations; deliver five-star customer service; secure revenue, improve relationships and build trust and confidence in our brand reputation.”
Trevor Scott – Chief Executive
This strategy sets out the principles and key objectives of our approach to communication and engagement to ensure that we take a coordinated approach and to help guide how we use them to shape policies, plans and services and achieve the objectives of our Corporate Plan.
- In all our engagement and communication we will ensure a commitment to delivering five-star customer service.
- We will promote and uphold our reputation by putting our corporate values at the heart of all we do and delivering within a consistent brand framework.
- We will strengthen, develop, and maintain communication and engagement channels to ensure that there are opportunities for residents and our partners to have ownership over what happens in their communities and our decision-making process
- We will support and enable Elected Members and staff as our ambassadors to build organisational confidence and promote better community cohesion.
- To engage with our communities in an effective and efficient way we will continue to develop digital communications in line with advancing technology, social changes and customer needs. We will do this whilst ensuring we continue to reach those who are digitally excluded.
- We will deliver proactive and positive coordinated communication and engagement to maximize our resources, ensure value for money and reduce inefficiency and duplication.
- We will use best practice engagement principles to ensure evidence-based decisions inform key Council policies.
Effective communication and engagement with our communities not only helps us to tailor our services to local people’s needs, it can also create social connections, enhance the motivation and capacity to participate in decision-making, enable us to create an important emotional connection with our customers and help us to take evidence-based decisions. It fosters an open relationship with residents, generates capacity in the community, and builds on assets, networks and local identity. It also helps residents to understand and access the system more easily.
Community engagement encompasses a wide variety of activities ranging from information giving, to consulting, involving, collaborating and empowering, and so it is important to establish a shared understanding of the terms. We can think of these as a spectrum of increasing levels of engagement from informing through to empowering. Depending on the project, community engagement may involve more than one type of activity at various stages.
All these types of engagement are important, and all have their merits. However, the type of engagement undertaken will change on a project-by-project and service-by-service basis – whether it is at the concept stage when nothing has been decided, or the decision stage when you have some information to work with, or the implementation stage when it is usually just for information only. There are also a variety of methods and tools which can be used to help achieve the different types of engagement.
All our communication and engagement will be;
- Accessible and approachable
- Clear, concise, and consistent
- Relevant and timed appropriately
- Proportionate and targeted
- Open and honest
- Genuine and authentic
We want local people, residents, elected members, staff and our communities to be truly involved in shaping the services we deliver and achieving the Council’s aims. There is a long-established commitment to communicating and engaging with our communities in Wealden through a wide variety of channels. Communication and Engagement must be co-ordinated and collaborative to ensure messages are consistent and avoid unnecessary duplication.
To better understand our residents, create opportunities for stakeholders and residents to communicate with us and to help predict future need, we will use data, insight and demographics to provide a picture of the district’s population. We will consider how to tailor communication and engagement activities and preferences of groups to ensure that we use the most appropriate tools and methods for the intended audience to communicate and engage in a way that suits them and is accessible to everyone.
The growth of new technology and fragmentation of traditional media means a multi-channel approach to communication and engagement is vital. We will communicate and engage through a wide range of channels and use new digital tools and open, collaborative approaches where appropriate. The type and extent of communication and engagement will be in proportion to the potential impacts, utilising the most cost-effective formats available to the Council and targeted towards those who will be affected.
Information will be clear, concise, avoid acronyms and be written in plain English, avoiding the use of jargon. Lengthy documents will be avoided when possible, but enough information will be given to ensure that the intended audience understand what is being communicated to them.
In keeping with the Council’s drive to deliver five-star customer service, digitally wherever possible, we will continue to invest in developing and growing digital channels, including our websites, social media, the MyWealden portal, our own direct email newsletters (MyAlerts), videos and podcasts. New platforms and emerging digital technologies that become available will be considered, and if appropriate, added as a channel of communication and engagement.
The Wealden website provides several ways in which customers can contact, communicate and engage with us either by completing online forms, taking part in a consultation, providing feedback, making a complaint or suggestion. It also provides information about news, updates and previous, current, or forthcoming engagement activities.
We recognise that for communications and engagement to be truly effective, we need to take a co-ordinated, organisation-wide approach that reflects our aims and objectives. The overall responsibility rests with every member of staff and Elected Member. We are all Council ambassadors and the links between our communities, District Councillors and Council officers are integral to achieving successful communication and engagement.
Our District Councillors are one of our principal assets: elected to represent their community, they provide the essential link between the decision-making process and the community. Members consult and engage with the community in their role as elected representatives and community leaders.
We support Members with communication and engagement in their role as community leaders. Elected Members are encouraged to participate in promoting the work of the council through traditional methods and through social media in line with our Social Media Protocol.
Effective employee communication and engagement is essential for ensuring that staff are committed to delivering our shared objectives and to enable them to carry out their roles to the best of their ability.
Internal communication will use, among other channels, Wealdnet, Councillor’s Bulletin, the Employee Consultative Group, group emails, blogs and vlogs (video blogs), staff and team briefings.
It is important to be clear on the difference between engagement and consultation. Whilst consultation is an important engagement tool it is much more defined.
Consultation is a specific process with a clear beginning, middle and end. Unless there is scope for consultees to influence a decision, then it cannot be called a consultation. Local authorities are under a Duty to Consult by actively engaging with a wide range of local representatives and people. Legal principles regarding consultation and engagement are embodied in many aspects of public life, particularly in relation to Equalities, Planning, the Environment and the Duty of Best Value.
Our consultation principles
All consultations must adhere to our overarching communication and engagement principles, but consultations must also ensure that;
- Consultation must happen before the decision is made.
- Consultation must give sufficient context and information.
- Consultation should provide enough time for people to think things over.
- Consultation should demonstrate real deliberation and thought over the results.
Evaluation of communication and engagement activities improves the effectiveness of our activities; helps us engage with our audiences, allows us to adapt our approach as situations change and helps us to allocate our resources appropriately. To be able to be the best Council we can be and provide five star customer service we need to continue to understand who our customers are.
The Council has several mechanisms in place to ensure that feedback received via the identified communication, engagement and marketing channels is shared and helps to inform the Council’s decision-making process. We will seek to capture feedback in real-time from our communities whilst not over burdening them with constant requests.