And then the Home Office was given the task of managing the election, something that it almost never does (usually organisation of elections goes to the Department of Communities and Local Government or the Cabinet Office, I believe). And a disaster unfurls.
As I said on many occasions during the election of PCCs, I was surprised that this flagship policy did not get more resources to help people understand it. I cannot blame PCCs of course who valiantly tried to get their names known and provide information about the role to the public. I did my little bit to help as well. Nonetheless, the election was a near disaster and still most people do not have a clue who their PCC is.
I would love to know whether the Populus poll mentioned by the Electoral Reform Society, has any differential results across the police areas. Which PCCs are better known than others and why is this? Some of this may be down to geography, but I have a hunch that the Northamptonshire PCC is better known than the Warwickshire one. Bob Jones in West Midlands has yet to have a summit of summits (or has he?) but he has been consistently reaching out across a very large region to a wide number of people. The Thames Valley PCC, on the other hand... you know what, I cannot even be bothered to finish that sentence...
- By this time next year, what do you want the electorate of your area to know that they do not currently know?
- Are there some groups who need to know more: which groups and what more?
- How will you measure your communication activities... how will you know whether things are working or not so that you can adjust what you are doing?
- And how good are you at listening... really listening?