Where do cuts and GDPR leave public sector communications?

Job satisfaction among public sector communications teams seems to have flat-lined or even fallen over the previous year with on-going funding constraints taking their toll on morale.

 A survey carried out by LG Communications in partnership with Panacea Applications Ltd, showed that, in 2018, only 44% of employees recorded high morale for their team and good personal job satisfaction, compared to 48% the year before. Similar figures for 2017 showed that 66% felt their efforts were valued by their managers.

Frustrated work patterns

Infographics LG Comms_Jan 2019_Rosette_28%.jpg

While 81% felt that their team was effective in meeting their core objectives, results investigating work patterns indicate that only 28% of individuals feel they have time to fulfil their work, continuing the downward trend of previous years.

Infographics LG Comms_Jan 2019_Rosette_50%.jpg

Reacting to unplanned or urgent work requests, as well as having to complete time-consuming administrative tasks, such as data entry and record keeping, diverted almost 50% of their time from their core priorities.

Infographics LG Comms_Jan 2019_Rosette_88%.jpg

Prospects for the future don’t appear rosy, with 88% fearing that future budget cuts will impact on their ability to deliver a high-quality service. Many felt further frustrated by having to work with fragmented, inefficient and labour -intensive systems.

High value solutions

Any solutions to alleviate low-value, mundane processes will have positive outcomes for all these statistics. In 2016-17, Haringey Council extended their use of Panacea Software to help them automate their workflows, which according to Operations Marketing Officer - Vij Taylor has “cut administration time by 80% whilst improving customer service”.

Lesley Gordon, who is head of communications at Haringey, went on to explain: “Without Panacea, we’d need at least one other person to do the business processing and manage the administration that Panacea does for us. The time it saves us in terms of turning jobs around is a considerable cost saving.”

In view of staff cuts (a third of respondents reported their team had decreased over the last 12 months) and with little hope that this trend will fizzle out, these sorts of efficiencies become increasingly vital if teams want to maintain service quality.

GDPR challenges

Infographics LG Comms_Jan 2019_Rosette_94%.png

The introduction in May 2018 of the new GDPR regulations will have affected communications teams across the country. 94% of respondents said that their team held or used assets, such as photographs of people, which are defined as personal data under the regulations.

Infographics LG Comms_Jan 2019_Rosette_16%.jpg

As only 16% stated that they have always recorded and managed consents and usage rights of such assets in a compliant image library, this represented a major challenge for many departments. No-one argues the necessity of data protection, but GDPR adds a layer of bureaucracy that stretched departments would benefit from being able to implement swiftly and seamlessly. At Buckinghamshire County Council, they have employed Panacea Software’s Asset Manager to manage all their photographs and images, using it to create a centrally controlled photo library that allows them to tie consents with assets. Kim Parfitt, Assistant Head of Communication, said: “Panacea Software allows us to set clear parameters for access and use of our assets, and prevents access when consents are withdrawn or expire. The software is easy to use, and we feel it is well supported by the responsive and proactive service we receive from Panacea’s team.”

Focusing ahead

Looking to the future, survey respondents highlighted their priorities for the coming 12 months.  The results emboldened show those to which Panacea Software can make a significant difference.

Infographics LG Comms_Jan 2019_table.jpg

Time and again, testimonials from departments using Panacea Software illustrate the value in terms of cost and time-savings that the software reaps. It is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ package, having a high degree of flexibility that allows users to develop bespoke systems based on their current structures. Its relevance to the demands of current practice in the prevailing climate warrants further investigation by those wishing to provide good service with dwindling resources.

“The Panacea team has been incredibly supportive throughout, taking on suggestions and helping the council to achieve the best, tailored system for the service and for customers’ needs. The team has worked tirelessly with suppliers, and continues to provide support to ensure they understand the technicalities of the system and provide a seamless service.” Eddie Coates-Madden, Head of Communications, Sheffield City Council

Data source:

89 respondents in Communications working across the public sector participated in this research:


A Fine Balance: Taking control of budgets

More than 10 years of austerity have put budget management at the centre of any concern, be it large or small, public or private. There will always be a tension between service delivery and expenditure, but the relationship between the two must be strictly controlled for organisations to survive and flourish. Budgets will have a bearing on every aspect of an organisation, from human resources to production, and their control is crucial to any manager, whether they are in charge of a general budget for an entire organisation or multiple budgets for multiple clients.


Beyond Excel

The more complex the structures, the more sophisticated the tools to manage these budgets need to become. Simple spread sheets won’t cut the mustard as they don’t allow for the flexibility and insights necessary for effective control. At their most straightforward, budgets need to tell managers what has been spent (and actually paid), what is planned and what is left in any given period. They might need this information for specific projects or areas of work or materials, such as marketing, communications, printed stationery, or even across the board.


Meaningful data, now

To make effective decisions, managers often need concise, up-to-date budgetary information at their fingertips, and in the next minute, in a different form to answer a different question. Hard enough when dealing with a single project, but hugely demanding in a large, sprawling organisation with myriad interests. There may also be issues of restricted allocation, so that some areas of some budgets are available to some people, and this may change over time and over the course of a project. And then, of course, what happens when the key person responsible goes on holiday or is off sick?


Panacea Software Solutions

Panacea Software provides the tools to address all these issues, from setting up the budgets initially to managing them, closely monitoring them and closing them down when spent or when the financial year ends. Easy-to-navigate modules allow you to:

·         manage team budgets or budgets for specific sections within the teams

·         easily monitor spend and balances

·         allow only authorised users to access and approve spend for each budget

·         enable officers to place requests against them via the client interface

·         record actual and projected expenditure

·         archive them when closed.

·         Easily add new budgets annually or simply copy across budgets from the previous year              using a simple file upload feature

You can then use live reporting to give you real-time information in highly customisable formats. Access to archived information also facilitates forecasting for the next financial year.


Evidence of savings

Our case studies reveal how organisations, such as Buckinghamshire, Portsmouth, and Islington Councils to name a few, have been able to maintain and even improve services in the face of tightening budgets. Much of this is due to Panacea’s transparent workflows, accurate management data and robust audit trails - music to the ears of anyone responsible for allocating, monitoring and reviewing budgets.


More Information

If that’s you, and you feel you need to be more in control of your current system, contact Panacea to learn more about the relevant modules. Our team is happy to demonstrate the system’s worth and ease of use: a small-time investment now will save you significant resources later and put key budgetary management information a click of a button away, rather than hours spent trawling through spreadsheets.

GDPR compliance – Managing assets e.g. photography, documents, videos

The new General Data Protection Regulations mean digital assets such as photography, documents and videos containing personal data, including people’s faces, will need:

  • To be controlled - this can be difficult if assets are kept on local drives throughout an organisation
  • Up to date and transparent permissions of use - this is not easy to track if permissions are not in a central place and unavailable to view across an organisation
  • To be tracked to ensure there is no breach in regulation by publishing or printing items which have expired permissions. This can be labour intensive without a clear audit trail
  • To be deleted/removed if asset owners withdraw consent - clear evidence of this needs to be demonstrated which again is difficult to confirm if assets are on local drives across an organisation

PANACEA SOFTWARE DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT MODULEstreamlines the asset management process and assists your organisation to be GDPR compliant. The module will support you to:

  • Control digital assets – these are kept in one place, together with consent details, for all to view/self-serve via an intuitive, user-friendly asset library according to the permissions set by Asset Managers
  • Set clear and transparent permissions of use - Asset Managers grant and restrict access by different users to specific assets on the library.  Availability dates and expiry dates prevent inadvertent use of assets outside permitted timescales
  • Track digital assets – clear and transparent audit trail
  • Manage digital assets – asset managers can set, up-date, monitor and control the use and access rights of your organisation’s digital assets

This translates into immediate and tangible efficiencies and cost savings while supporting ongoing compliance with data protection legislation..
Panacea Software offers FREE unlimited access for importers and asset library users.
To book an online demonstration please contact:
T. 0207 976 0116
Or for more information click on the link below:

Haringey Council creates a paperless purchase-to-pay workflow & automated invoicing process

Haringey Council creates a paperless purchase-to-pay workflow & automated invoicing process

In 2016, Haringey Council’s Marketing Communications Team initiated a project to significantly cut the time and cost of processing supplier payments, to minimise risk in this complex, repetitive process and to enhance satisfaction of clients and SME suppliers alike. Using Panacea Software they created a fully automated process to integrate with our workflow system .

Reports – Making your Software work for you

Reports – Making your Software work for you

Everyone uses reports! Don’t believe that? When you log in to your Twitter handle, you see a list of ‘notifications’.. a simple report. Your credit card statement the size of a Potter novel ... a report (perhaps not the kind that makes one happy). Your company making a million dollars profit... definitely a report that you’d look forward to. Basically, all of these are reports. Whether you are the head of an SME, the founder of PayPal or self-employed, you need reports that will make sense out of data and help you understand and plan next steps of action.