This is your once-a-year opportunity to provide feedback and insights, so we can better serve you and add more value going forward. We would really welcome your participation.
We have just launched our third CiC Census, which has, once again, been kindly sponsored by the lovely folks at Hanover Communications.
The majority of questions are quick multiple choice and it should take you no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Because only the aggregated data will be published and shared – the raw data and copy will remain internal – we actively discourage you from selecting 'Prefer not to say' where possible – to give us the most accurate picture possible.
We're also pleased to launch our inaugural Supporter Awards as a way for us to recognise talent across the network. The person who receives the most votes in each of the five categories wins. In the event there's a tie or there isn't a clear winner the judging panel will decide on the winner. The judging panel consists of our industry patrons and core team members. Good luck!
The results will be made public and announced after that.
Seven in ten respondents are aged between 25 and 34. This is very similar to 2020.
Just over a quarter of respondents are female. This is very similar to 2020.
82% of respondents are White British and Northern Irish. This is very similar to 2020.
ABOUT YOUR WORK
4. Where are you working – usually and for the most part – right now?
Seven in ten respondents now work in London. That’s a decrease of 16 points from 86%.
5. Looking ahead to when people may return to their workplace, how often do you expect to be in the office each week?
Six in ten respondents expect to be in their workplace two or three days per week going forward. Only 10% expect to return full-time while 5% have switched entirely to working from home. We did not poll this in 2020.
6. How would you categorise your employment – for the most part?
Two-fifths of respondents work for a consultancy vs and two-fifths work in-house*. Employment is at 99.5%. This is very similar to 2020. We’ve noted your comments about arms length bodies, public sector and recruitment.
7. How would you categorise your role – usually and for the most part?
46% of respondents work in public affairs vs 27% in public relations. That’s a fall of ten points for public affairs, but may be linked to us adding more categories this year.
8. How much experience do you have in your field?
Almost two-fifths of respondents have more than ten years of experience. We did not poll this exact question in 2020, opting then for titles over years.
ABOUT YOUR SUPPORT
9. How did you discover us – in the first instance?
A third of respondents were referred by a colleague or friend while a third came across us on social media. This is very similar to 2020.
10. Why did you join us?
Industry networking 77.62%
Respondents cited industry networking (78%) and events (42%) as well as industry news (50%) as the three main reasons for joining us.The social aspect has fallen 15 points from 51 to 36% and business development has decreased seven points from 32 to 25%. On the other side, job opportunities has risen by 14 points from 25 to 40% and the mentoring scheme (new) scored 24%.
ABOUT OUR EVENTS
11. Assuming the party conference goes ahead, will you attend?
Six in ten respondents plan to attend conference in Manchester.
12. If you were to attend, would you like there to be a CiC networking reception?
97% of respondents would attend a CiC networking reception in Manchester.
ABOUT OUR CONTENT
13. What would you like to be in the newsletter?
Respondents cited event invitations (74%), job opportunities (71%) and industry updates as the three main things they would like in the newsletter. This is very similar to 2020. Two-fifths of respondents work for a consultancy vs and two-fifths work in-house*. Employment is at 99.5%. This is very similar to 2020. We’ve noted your comments about CPD and ordinary supporters.
ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT’S COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY AND MEDIA
14. How would you rate the UK Government’s Covid-19 communications strategy since the start of 2021?
That’s up from 3.18 in 2020.
15. The UK Government’s Covid-19 communications strategy has _____ since 2020.
Two-thirds of respondents believe the Government’s strategy has improved since 2020.
16. How do you rate the visual appearance of the new Downing Street briefing room? (It will still be used for other briefings)
In 2020, 3.79 was the weighted average for the then visual look (setting, podiums and branding).
17. Of those who attend Cabinet, who do you believe has been the best communicator during the pandemic?
For a second year, respondents are most impressed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer (+1.46 points). The Health Secretary (-4.02 points) and Transport Secretary (+6.44 points) follow behind. The Prime Minister has fallen out of the top three. Nine Cabinet attendees received no votes.
18. Which rising stars would you promote at the reshuffle?
Supporters were invited to nominate up to three MPs or Peers who they see as “rising stars” within the Party and should be considered for a promotion at the reshuffle. 513 votes were recognised for 128 different politicians. We’ve ranked the top ten here. Five are CiC patrons. 80% are women MPs.
19. Where do you source your news from?
Respondents get their news from a variety of sources, including those not listed as options here e.g. trade and podcasts. Of the three main blogs, POLITICO comes out on top.
20. How trustworthy are these news channels?
Weighted average (change)
This is the same order as in 2020. All outlets, except for Russia Today, saw small net increases in trustworthiness.
21. Taking everything into account, would you say that the launch of GB News is a good or bad thing for the UK overall?
22. Broadly speaking, do you support the PRCA’s six-point Public Confidence Plan for Reform in response to the Cameron Inquiry?
Removing unsures, more than three quarters of respondents support the PRCA’s plan.
23. Has your organisation grown / hired new staff during the pandemic?
Almost three quarters of respondents said their organisation has grown / hired new staff during the pandemic.
24. “I’m optimistic about the future of our sector.” Where do you stand on that position statement?
Up from 7.24 in 2020.
25. All things considered, do you feel being a supporter of us is worthwhile?
Net satisfaction remains above 97%.
26. Please let us know about any other feedback you have.
The second CiC Census launched on April 20, 2021, and ran for two weeks. It was promoted in our newsletter, on our website as well as via LinkedIn and Twitter. All supporters (735 at the time) were invited to participate, of whom 210 did (so, 29%). While the percentage of supporters who took part was lower than 2020 (see previous data below), we received 36% more submissions compared with the previous period. The average time taken to complete it was six minutes – slightly more than predicted – but less than 2020, as we reduced the number of questions from 38 to just 26. These are the anonymised and aggregated survey results.
Conservatives in Communications (CiC), the independent and informal industry network of professionals and students, has today published the results of its second annual census, which was sponsored by Hanover Communications. Its 735-strong membership, including 45 current MPs and Peers with a background or interest in the sector, were invited to give their views on a variety of hot topics to help it better understand the current and future landscape as well as allow the team to better serve supporters and add more value going forward.
For a second consecutive year – and by a landslide (56%) – supporters believe the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, has been the best communicator during the pandemic. The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, made it into the top three and shares second place on 9% alongside the Health & Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock MP. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson MP, fell from 2nd to 5th place on 6%, just behind the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove MP on 7%.
Supporters were also asked which rising stars they would promote at the forthcoming reshuffle. 513 votes were cast for some 128 politicians. The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Kemi Badenoch MP, scored by far the most. The Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Tom Tugendhat MP, and the Minister for Safeguarding, Victoria Atkins MP, came second; Alicia Kearns MP polled third; while the Home Office PPS, Paul Holmes MP, and the former DCMS Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, share fourth place. Female MPs made up 80% of the top ten nominations, which is great news.
Turning to the mainstream media, eight out of nine popular outlets saw increases when assessed for their trustworthiness. The score for Russia Today remained low at 1.46 out of 5. When asked about whether the launch of GB News is a good or bad thing for the UK overall, Conservatives in Communications responded positively (3.90 out of 5). Respondents continue to get their news from a variety of sources, including political blogs: POLITICO is the most read (64%) with Guido Fawkes (61%) and ConservativeHome (49%) trailing someway behind.
While two-thirds of respondents believe the Government’s Covid-19 communications strategy has improved since 2020 and put its performance since the start of 2021 at 3.46 out of 5 – up from 3.18 before – they were less enthusiastic when it came to the visual appearance of the No.9 Downing Street briefing room (3.10 out of 5 verses 3.79 for the previous setup in No.10).
Turning to their own profession, more than 99% are in employment, almost three quarters of respondents indicated that their organisation grew or hired new staff during the pandemic, and supporters are more optimistic than they were in May 2020 (8 out of 10, up from a still solid 7.24). Taking don’t knows out of the equation, more than three quarters of respondents support the PRCA’s six-point Public Confidence Plan for Reform in response to the David Cameron and Lex Greensill inquiries.
Adam Honeysett-Watts, Executive Director, said:
“We are, first and foremost, a networking group. We understand the importance of creating and maintaining industry relationships. So, it’s been difficult not having had the opportunities to meet in-person for more than 12 months. Despite this, we’ve kept the show on the road and hopefully presented like-minded individuals with the chance to share and benefit from each other’s knowledge and opportunities, including jobs and our mentoring scheme. 97% of the respondents feel being a supporter is worthwhile.”
“Take the recent Andy Street, Ben Houchen and Jill Mortimer wins, plus hundreds of councillors re-/ elected around the country – including many of our own supporters – the future looks bright for the Conservative party. Contrast that with Labour, which is in turmoil. What with Labour in Communications voting David Lammy as the Labour party’s best communicator and calling for him to play a bigger role as a spokesperson, plus Sir Keir Starmer’s ridiculous reshuffle, we’re lacking any serious opposition now. That isn’t good for our democracy.”
94% of respondents are under 54 vs the average party member who, based on news reports, is 57 years old.
A quarter of respondents are female.
(Excluding those who preferred not to say) 85% of respondents are White British and Northern Irish.
ABOUT YOUR WORK
4. Where do you work – usually and for the most part?
86% of respondents work in London.
5. How would you categorise your employment – for the most part?
Two-fifths of respondents work for a consultancy vs 38% in-house*. Employment is at 99%.
6. How would you categorise your role – usually and for the most part?
56% of respondents work in public affairs vs 28% in public relations.
7. How would you categorise your seniority in the industry?
53% of respondents are director level and above*.
8. Have you been, are you or would you like to be a:
a) Special Adviser?
b) Member of Parliament?
Two-thirds of respondents have an interest in the SpAd career path.
Less than half think the same about being an MP.
ABOUT YOUR SUPPORT
9. When did you join us?
About two-thirds of respondents have joined since our relaunch.
10. How did you discover us – in the first instance?
38% of respondents joined because of a colleague / friend vs 32% via social media.
11. Why did you join us?
Respondents cited industry networking (86%) and the social aspect (51%) as main reasons for joining us.
12. Are you interested in being:
a) Mentored by another supporter?
b) A mentor to another supporter?
(Excluding those who don’t know) Almost three quarters of respondents are interested in becoming a mentor while two thirds are interested in being mentored.
13. How should we get more women involved?
14. Would you or your firm be interested in learning more about:
a) Hosting and / or sponsoring an event for us?
b) Contributing and / or sponsoring content on our blog / in our newsletter?
(Excluding those who don’t know) Half of respondents and / or their firms are interested in hosting and / or sponsoring an event for us in the future.
ABOUT OUR EVENTS
15. Since May 2019, we have organised three events with speakers:
How many of these did you:
a) Sign-up for?
50% of respondents have attended one or more of our networking events vs 58% who registered.
16. How could we improve our events?
17. If you couldn’t attend any of our events, after RSVPing, what was the reason why?
Work commitment 58.11%
(Excluding N/A) 76% of respondents were distracted by work and personal commitments.
18. As of right now, are you planning to attend:
a) CiC Summer Reception 2020?
b) Conservative Party Conference 2020?
(Excluding those who don’t know) Fourth-fifths of respondents are still planning to attend party conference in Birmingham.
ABOUT OUR CONTENT
19. Do you:
a) Read our newsletter?
b) Visit our website?
86% of respondents read our newsletter while 51% visit our new website.
20. How can we improve our newsletter and website?
21. What would you like to be in the newsletter?
81% of respondents would like to receive invitations to events, but other factors are gaining traction.
ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT’S COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY AND MEDIA
22. How would you rate the UK Government’s Covid-19 communications strategy?
23. How would you rate the original ‘Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives’ slogan?
24. What, if at all, should the new slogan be?
25. Which Cabinet minister has impressed you the most (at the podium and during interviews)?
Respondents are most impressed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer – over other cabinet ministers. The Prime Minister and Health Secretary follow behind. Two cabinet ministers received no votes. The Home Secretary was the only woman in the mix.
26. How would you rate these aspects of the daily press briefings? (Out of 5)
Respondents were positive about all nine aspects of the daily press briefings. Visuals strongest, duration weakest (time-keeping an issue as per the comments).
27. Do you think Number 10 should host daily televised press briefings in the future?
(Excluding those who don’t know) While the daily press briefings have been largely successful, there is little appetite for them to become a permanent fixture akin to The White House.
28. Some polling indicates that trust in the mainstream media (MSM) is lower than before the pandemic. Overall, do you believe the MSM has provided balanced and unbiased reporting?
Almost two-thirds of respondents believe the MSM is failing to provide balanced and unbiased reporting.
29. How trustworthy are these news brands? (Out of 5)
In terms of trustworthiness, half of the news brands received positive scores, with Bloomberg and the BBC leading the pack. Russia Today, by quite some margin, and Al Jazeera received the lowest weighted averages.
ABOUT THE FUTURE
30. Were you able to take advantage of flexible working or work from home schemes before the pandemic?
73% of respondents benefited from flexible working and / or working from home before the lockdown.
31. Will you be advocating for the same or more flexible working or working from home schemes after the pandemic?
Having made a success of it, 90% of respondents will be advocating for the same or more flexible working and / or working from home after the lockdown eases.
32. What did you like most about working from home?
Respondents do not miss the commute, are taking advantage of flexible working and two-fifths are more productive.
33. What did you like least about working from home?
Respondents are missing their colleagues and their friends, and three-fifths struggle to distinguish between work and home.
34. “I’m optimistic about the future of our sector.” Where do you stand on that position statement?
35. All things considered, do you feel being a supporter of us is worthwhile?
97% of respondents feel being a supporter of our network is worthwhile.
36. Right now, Conservatives in Communications is staffed by volunteers and is limited in the services it can provide. The cost of maintaining our website and platforms (Eventbrite, MailChimp, SurveyMonkey and WordPress etc), time, travel and very limited entertaining is covered by the staff themselves. Would you be willing to contribute a small annual amount to continue receiving added valued newsletters based on more options as in Q21?
62% of respondents would be willing to contribute a small annual amount to the upkeep of the network.
37. How much would you be willing to pay per annum?
60% of respondents would be willing to contribute up to £20 per annum.
38. Please let us know about any other feedback you have.
The inaugural CiC Census launched on May 6, 2020, and ran for two weeks. It was promoted in our newsletter, on our website as well as via LinkedIn and Twitter. All supporters (429 at the time) were invited to participate, of whom 154 did (so, 36%). The average time taken to complete it was nine minutes – lower than was indicated. These are the anonymised and aggregated survey results.
A survey conducted by Conservatives in Communications (CiC), the independent and informal industry network for over 435 professionals, reveals that its supporters are optimistic about the future of the sector (7.24 out of 10), with 99% in employment. The positive findings come as the Government looks to ease lockdown measures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. This in spite of 62% feeling that the mainstream media (MSM) is not providing balanced and unbiased reporting. Bloomberg and the BBC ranked as the most trustworthy news brands while Al Jazeera and Russia Today ranked as the least trustworthy.
The group, which is marking one year since it was relaunched by its chair Katie Perrior and principal director Adam Honeysett-Watts, has been encouraging supporters – including 23 parliamentary patrons – to take part in its inaugural Census 2020. In addition to its industry patrons, a new tier of Tory peers and MPs – who have previously worked or have an interest in communications (public affairs, PR, policy, digital, marketing, events, journalism or publishing) – have recently signed-up. The team has also been widened to build out its offering to young conservatives and to get more women involved.
Survey respondents were largely positive about the Government’s original ‘Stay home’ message (4.49 out of 5). They scored all nine aspects of the daily press briefings, such as stage management and inviting the public to submit their questions, as effective; with the Chancellor of the Exchequer recognised as the most impressive performer. That said, there is little appetite for the conferences to become a permanent fixture. Further, supporters were invited to submit ideas for a new slogan or comment on the ‘Stay alert’ message. Of those who did, 69% proposed an alternative, which may have contributed to a lower score of 3.18 out of 5 for the Government’s overall strategy.
Turning to other topics. While 73% of participants benefited from flexible working and / or working from home (WFH) before the pandemic began, 90% will be advocating for this post-lockdown. Perhaps unsurprisingly, supporters do not miss commuting to and from work (77%), and many used this available time to spend with the family and to ‘think’ more about their work. Professionals have adapted quite well to the changes with 44% saying they have been more productive, especially when it comes to producing written materials for both internal and external clients. 42% said they’re more active while 41% have reallocated earnings.
Katie Perrior, Chair of iNHouse Communications and a former Director of Communications at Number 10, said:
“Our supporters have risen to the challenges posed by the country’s response to the global pandemic. That aside, we’re a people industry – our successes are built on networking and relationships. Although the many technologies – for example, Microsoft Teams and Zoom – have worked much better than expected, they are no substitute for face-to-face. Survey respondents cited less time with colleagues (60%) and friends (45%) as reasons they like least about WFH. I too, look forward to seeing my colleagues and clients as well as family and friends, in-person, very soon.”
Adam Honeysett-Watts said:
“We spotted an opportunity to relaunch and grow CiC into a more dynamic, proactive, diverse and transparent resource, and the pandemic has shown how much one is needed. While industry networking is the main reason our supporters joined us and continue to be involved, there is appetite for us to offer more. That includes advertising job opportunities (63%), sharing industry news (61%), connecting with our parliamentary patrons (59%), widening blog content (55%) as well as offering careers advice and mentoring opportunities (50%). Many of these are already in the works, including the latter, where 72% of supporters cited interest in being mentors.”