Breakthrough Communications

    NALC's national partners for advice, guidance and services for council communications, as well as for Data Protection, GDPR and Freedom of Information. 

    Delivered via Zoom by  Breakthrough Communications  with a range of dates throughout the year. Morning and evening sessions may be available

    All courses are 2 hours duration and are NOT covered by the Annual Training Scheme and subject to an additional charge of £30.00 plus VAT per participant per course.

    Click here to see available dates

    How do I book?

    New arrangements: we are now part of Breakthrough Communications National Training.

    1. Ask your clerk to book directly at 

    2. You will see a selection of dates for each course. Your clerk can select the session that suits you. 

    3. Breakthrough Communications will confirm your booking both to you and LALC. 

    4. You attend and enjoy the course, hopefully picking up lots of ideas to take back to your council. 

    5. Breakthrough Communications will send an invoice to LALC. 

    6. LALC will invoice your council 

    7. Your clerk will send payment to LALC.

    Building a communications strategy for your council's public-facing  communications

    Everything should start with a strategy - and good communication is no different. To get the most from an increasing range of communication platforms and tools, it's vital that your council has a strategy that supports the delivery of your council's existing aims and objectives. We walk you through best practice for creating an effective communications strategy that fits with the needs and aspirations of your council, whilst making best use of communication opportunities available to you.  

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Improving  internal council  communications

    Effective internal communication is the cornerstone of good council operations. Yet ensuring the development and sustainability of good internal communication is often a challenge for councils of all shapes and sizes. This session explores strategies to identify gaps and challenges in internal communication, and ways to build more positive and outcome-focused communications between members and officers in the future. 

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Building a two-way conversation with your community

    This session will help you consider practical and effective ways for your council to systematically and proactively find out what really matters to people living within your parish, through a range of print and digital tools. Discover the tools, strategies and techniques needed to not just better promote your own messages but also to better hear and respond to the   voices within your local community and get buy-in on your vision for your community’s future.

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    How to engage with young people in your community

    Young people can be a particularly challenging demographic for councils to reach and engage with. We explore how to understand the issues that matter to young people, how to effectively reach and engage with them online and offline, and how best to work with them to improve different aspects of your community. 

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Strategies to identify and recruit new local councillors

    How can you effectively find and encourage people to stand or be co-opted as town or parish councillors? In many areas it is increasingly hard to find people who are willing to put their names forward either at election time or to be co-opted. We show you effective ways councils and councillors can encourage more people to come forward and this interactive session explores practical ways to do just that. 

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Creating a social media strategy for your council

    Social media provides town and parish councils a unique opportunity to significantly enhance their communications – yet few councils are fully reaping the benefits on offer. Moreover, few councils have a clear social media strategy in place. This comprehensive course looks at how to build a social media strategy that seeks to promote your services and key council priorities. 

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Using Facebook to enhance your council's communications

    Facebook remains the most actively-used social media platform across most demographics in the UK, and it remains the best place for local councils to build their social media presence. Discover how to build up effective two-way conversations with local communities, make use of time-saving tools and learn techniques to improve digital engagement, all within the constraints of existing officer time and resources.

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Beyond Facebook: how councils can make use of Instagram, Twitter and other platforms to get their message across

    More and more councils are looking to use a range of social media platforms in order to increase their digital reach into their community. Instagram and Twitter are two key platforms that offer a range of benefits for councils. This practical session looks at how to get started and what strategies and techniques are working well for councils like yours .

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Using your website as an effective communication tool

    The best council websites are effective tools for communication with your community. This session walks you through how to get more from your council’s website and how to make it work harder for your council. From complying with latest accessibility legislation guidelines to integrating with social media and online services, we walk you through examples of best practice from some of the best council websites from across the country .

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Creating accessible council documents and content

    This session is all about the practical application of accessibility and will provide you with a practical understanding of the application of accessibility from the perspective of a local council. We will teach you how to create accessible documents, content and multimedia for use for use throughout the work of your council. This session will review the basic principles of accessibility and walk you through tools and techniques to ensure your council is working towards accessibility compliance. 

    Course suitable for clerks

    Working with the local media to engage your community

    Traditional media offers parish and town councils a platform to engage and communicate with their residents, but engaging journalists can be daunting. We help you build the confidence needed to succeed, exploring how you can build effective two-way relationships with journalists. 

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Writing effective press releases to get local coverage

    In this session we will explore the skill of writing a press release that will both get your council the coverage you are looking for and also convey the messages you want to get across. Participants will go away with a much deeper understanding of how to construct your press releases and what is most effective in getting good coverage. 

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    How to prepare for TV and radio interviews

    This session is designed for officers and councillors who want to be better prepared for appearing on broadcast media – principally TV and radio. We will share the secrets of preparing for interviews and techniques for dealing effectively with getting your message across. Broadcast media retains very extensive reach into all communities with regional TV and radio still having a large audience making it important that local councils are engaging

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Dealing with a crisis: planning ahead and manging crisis communications effectively

    We never know when a crisis could strike. From local flooding to a council meeting going viral there are many ways in which local councils can find themselves in the eye of the media storm. This session takes participants through the detail of preparing for a crisis no matter what form it may take. Passing on expert tips and guidance on being as prepared as you can be should the worst happen. 

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Embracing equality, diversity and inclusion in your council

    This session will focus on understanding protected characteristics, the difference between direct and indirect discrimination and the definitions of equality, diversity and inclusion – and how the relate to the internal and external work of parish and town councils. The aim being to raise awareness to barriers to progress for diverse communities and barriers to productivity for staff. 

    Course suitable for clerks and councillors

    Emotional resilience skills for council officers

    Why do some people handle whatever life throws at them, while others tend to struggle? The answer is resilience. Resilience is the ability to recover from the inevitable problems that life throws at us. This session will focus on increasing your resilience and managing it as part of your wellbeing. Looking at self-care and self-awareness, we will lead you in the first steps to improving your resilience and developing a resilience journal. 

    Course suitable for clerks

    Manging difficult people and conversations

    Managing professional relationships effectively is important, and this is particularly true for clerks and local council officers. Yet whether it’s with other officers or with councillors, sometimes difficult situations will present themselves, and it’s vital to have the skills to manage the challenges. This session for local council officers explores practical techniques and ideas to manage difficult relationships in a council environment. 

    Course suitable for clerks

    Manging people and teams effectively

    How can you get the most from your team, collectively and individually? What are the most effective strategies to manage people effectively, whether it’s a team of two or a team of twenty, whether they’re all working remotely or in the office or in a hybrid context? This session explores people management techniques and best practice from across the sector beyond, helping you to grow in confidence in being an effective manager, whilst getting the most from your team. 

    Course suitable for clerks

    Data Protection for clerks & officers

    In an ever-evolving legislative landscape, it is vital that councils ensure they have the most up-to-date understanding of their data protection and related obligations. This session walks councils through the principles of GDPR and related legislation including PECR, what it means in practical terms and the systems and processes councils should have in place to ensure they are working towards sustainable compliance.

    Course suitable for clerks

    Data Protection for councillors

    Whether you are an experienced councillor or have only recently been elected, it is vital that you understand how data protection fits with your role as an elected member. With legislation and case law evolving, this interactive session will provide you with an opportunity to make sure you are getting the essentials right and ensure you are meeting your legal obligations as a councillor.

    Course suitable for clerks  COUNCILLORS?

    Freedom of Information essentials for local councils

    This course looks at what requirements and obligations local councils have when it comes to Freedom of Information and related legislation. We look at what policies and procedures councils should have in place, how to ensure officers and councillors are aware of their obligations and what steps to take when you get an FOI request.

    Course suitable for clerks

    Chairing virtual meetings and events

    Whether you are an experienced council or committee chair, or whether you are new to the role, getting the most from virtual meetings and events can be a real challenge for us all. We walk you through strategies to get the most out of your meetings, get the most from your fellow members and how to ensure that technology works for you, not against you. 

    Course suitable for councillors

    Chairing in-person meetings and events

    Effectively chairing in-person meetings and events requires a range of skills. This practical session explores strategies and techniques to help new and experienced councillors alike to get the most from the meetings they chair, including skills to encourage everyone to participate and to manage conflict when it arises.

    Course suitable for councillors

    Public speaking skills for councillors

    Public speaking can be daunting, even for experienced councillors. With the advent of virtual meetings, it’s more important that councillors feel confident to effectively communicate with   residents at public or virtual events. Our experts will guide you through techniques and strategies to help you speak in public with flair, confidence and authenticity.

    Course suitable for councillors

    Getting in front of the camera: how to build your confidence and engage with your community with video and Facebook Live

    Video is one of the most effective digital communication mediums, yet even the most experienced councillors can be a little camera shy! We help you build the confidence needed to succeed with video, whether it’s for live virtual meetings or pre-recorded videos, and help you discover the power of ‘Facebook Live’ for truly effective engagement with your local community. 

    Course suitable for councillors

    Social Media Skills for Councillors

    Social media offers parish and town councillors as individually-elected members a fantastic       opportunity to engage and communicate with their residents. Building up two-way conversations through the power of digital platforms has never been easier, but it can be tricky to get started and to know where to focus your time and effort as an individual councillor. We walk you through the essential ways to get the most out of key social media platforms as a local councillor, and   provide top tips to engage with your residents. 

    Course suitable for councillors