Communications Awards 2015/2016

This year there were more entries than before, the standard absolutely tremendous. Union activists taking the time and mostly their own time to inform, involve and enthuse members, to take forward local issues and to promote national and international campaigns. So everyone who entered the competition should be commended for their work and know that they are doing a really good job and how important this is for the union.

Communications Home

Best Printed

Aberdeen Univerities
GOLD: Aberdeen Universities (picked up by Aberdeen City)
Young Members
SPECIAL MERIT: Young Members Goannie No Dae That Campaign
Retired Members
SILVER: Retired Members
Ayrshire and Arran Health
BRONZE: Ayrshire and Arran Health

Best Campaign

North Lanarkshire
GOLD: North Lanarkshire
City of Edinburgh
SILVER: City of Edinburgh
Stirling and Clackmannanshire
BRONZE: Stirling and Clackmannanshire

Best Online

City of Edinburgh
GOLD: City of Edinburgh

SILVER: Aberdeen Universities

BRONZE: University of West of Scotland

Special Recruitment Award

Union activists using websites, twitter, facebook and all that new fangled stuff, and producing printed newsletters, bulletins, and yes leaflets to inform members, never forgetting the importance of speaking to members face to face.

Letting folk know about the branch, and who are the stewards, and what they do. Personalising the publications with pictures and quotes. Showing skills in writing – yes it’s all in that first paragraph, showing skills in design and layout, effectively communicating.

Not just informing members, but also involving members in local issues and campaigns to defend jobs and services, and to make sure that they can work in a safe and stress free environment, encouraging members to join the fight against the anti trade union bill, or TTIP, and to continue to get the anti austerity message across.

Coverage of local issues was consistently good. And of course that is an essential element of branch communications. Translating the national campaigns into a local context, and indeed linking the local campaigns to save jobs and services back to the nonsensical, totally destructive and political ideology of austerity worked well for a few of the entrants. However it is something we need to do more of.

Indeed the Communications and Campaigns Committee has just agreed to build upon last year’s thousand influencers to make sure that the union’s priorities are being put forward in the run up to the Scottish Parliamentary election and to reinvigorate attempts to get a social media army together to get the union’s key messages out. So if you haven’t signed up already please do so.

Back to the competition entrants… we saw activists taking the union’s messages to councillors, MSPs and the MPs; working with other trade unions; working with community groups; and being really proactive with the press and getting great coverage in local and national papers, and television and radio.

And their work helps to retain members, let members know what the union is doing for them, the union’s successes and the union’s struggle to make things less worse and letting them know that they are part of that union and our strength is when we act together.

And their work helps to recruit members directly through recruitment campaigns and indirectly through other campaigns– face to face in the workplace, at stalls and at fun events, with goodies and competitions – and make sure that there is always an application form or a link to a join page.

And they promote member services. We greatly appreciate the sponsorship of the Awards by UIA, Thompson’s Solicitors, Liverpool Victoria, Lighthouse Financial Advice, and TC Branding Group. So yes they are going to get a plug today. But not just because they are sponsors but because the insurance deals, free wills, discounted legal assistance, free financial advice, and using the branded merchandise from our sponsors, should all help to recruit and retain members.

Best Printed Category

First up was a special merit award from the CCC in the Best Printed Category, for some bright, catchy and material engaging members young and old, from the anti-bullying campaign Gonnae Nae Dae that from the Scottish Young Members Committee.

TC Branding Bronze Award
TC BrandingA good wee magazine that would keep you well informed. It was great the way they used the hand delivery to over half their membership, some two and half thousand. The Bronze Award goes to the Ayrshire and Arran Health Branch.

CCC Silver Award
For lively conference communications, nicely laid out publication, packed full of information, with great use of pictures, covering not only campaigns close to their own hearts, but also wider issues like the Anti Trade Union Bill, and TTIP. The Silver Award goes to the Scotland Region Retired Members Group. There are certainly some skills there that we could use in the branches.

Gold Award sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors
Thomsons SolicitorsFor a very well designed, and well written magazine with an excellent mix of branch material and content relating to national campaigns. Great use of pictures and graphics and some smashing cartoons – make sure you take a look at the Kill the Bill Issue. The Gold Award goes to Aberdeenshire Universities Branch.

Best Campaign

The UIA sponsored Best Campaign
UiAWe just didn’t have enough prizes and wanted to give a special merit award for a successful member centred campaign, one that got employers to take the members’ complaints about a new computer system seriously and start looking at ways to resolve the problems. This award for the Log It, Raise It, Fix It, campaign from the Scottish Gas Branch.

The UIA Bronze Award
UiA.. goes to a fantastic campaign against shared services. They used UNISON resources and did their own research – and it WON! – not easy on such a campaign. And full marks for two branches working together. The Bronze Award goes to Stirling and Clackmannanshire.

The next two were so close.

The UIA Silver Award
UiA…goes to a very impressive campaign that sees every strand of communications being used to its full effect with well written well designed newsletters, posters, and online content. Has been effectively getting the union’s message out to the members, the community and the politicians. Has already seen significant success with the withdrawal of the proposal to outsource 1500 Facilities staff and improvements to redundancy packages. The UIA Silver Award goes to the Our City’s Still Not For Sale from the City of Edinburgh Branch.

The UIA Gold Award
UiA…goes to another impressive anti cuts campaign, with strong recurring imagery and good links between the cuts campaign as it affects the branch and a wider political relevance. Not just informing but calling to action. Great press coverage. Just pipped Edinburgh to the post with bonus points for the Black Ribbon for Public Services initiative, the UIA Gold Award goes to North Lanarkshire Branch.

Best Online Presence

The Lighthouse Financial Bronze award
Lighthouse Financial… goes to a website with a clean and simple design with some nice picture. It was informative and up-to-date with a balance between local and national issues. And a sign up for email updates. The Bronze Award goes to the University of West of Scotland.

CCC Silver Award
…goes to a website with a very nice clean design with great pictures. It had a lot of up-to-date content but somehow looked as if it had less. The website also had their Twitter feed and linked to their Facebook page. The Silver Award goes to Aberdeen Universities Branch.

The Thompsons Gold Award
Thomsons Solicitors.. goes to a very rounded and all linked up web presence, with a very well designed website, blog, Twitter and Facebook. Up-to-date and jam packed full of information about the Branch itself, about the local cuts campaign, as well as national themes and allows members to register their email or updated their details. The Thompson’s Gold Award goes to Edinburgh City Branch.

Special Recruitment Prize

Liverpool Victoria Special Recruitment Prize
LVIt was refreshing that people were recruiting and actually enjoying themselves and Inverclyde weren’t the only branch that was doing this. Unfortunately we have only got one recruitment prize but a special mention goes to Arran and Ayrshire Branch for their recruitment efforts maximising their workplace presence, fun days, stalls and competitions. Even up for a bit of festive fancy dress, and giving away free mince pies too!

The winning branch chose to take their recruitment out to community based events, and to run their own socials, increasing their membership by a whopping 200 in one year – around 12% which I am sure we would agree is quite an achievement.
And the Liverpool Victoria Special Recruitment Prize goes to the Inverclyde Branch.

Thanks again to our sponsors.
And well done everyone! Keep up the good work.

This year the judges were Jane Carolan, National Executive Committee, and Danny Phillips, Scottish Communications Officer. And Jane Aitchison, Vice-chair of the UNISON Scotland Communications and Campaigns Committee.