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Comms Fest: Comms and leadership: What has Covid taught us about the role of communications within our organisations?

  • Type HQN Event (Virtual)
  • Venue Virtual workshop
  • Start 09 Feb 2021 09:15
  • End 09 Feb 2021 10:15


Comm Fest 2021

Part of comms fest

Virtual workshop

Leadership, communications and compliance have been at the heart of New Zealand’s response to Covid-19. Few countries have handled the pandemic better with the compassionate approach from their leaders gaining admirers around the world.

In this session we’ll speak to the leader of Hutt City Council in New Zealand’s North Island about how they have been taking to tackling Covid-19 and, crucially, achieved a coordinated comms approach that is the envy of so many other nations.

Closer to home Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has been at the heart of England’s debate on how to handle the pandemic – taking the government to task over their response. 

Hayley James will help us explore how to ensure the comms gets – and keeps – its seat at the ‘top table’ within our organisations and how we can work better with leaders and partner organisations to ensure we stay at the heart of decision making. 


  • Hayley James, assistant director of communications, engagement and campaigns at Great Manchester Combined Authority
  • Jo Miller, Chief Executive, Hutt City Council, New Zealand.

About Comms Fest 2021

Everyone has an opinion on how messages should – or shouldn’t – be put across.

But those of us who have steered our organisations to speak with clarity, empathy and timeliness throughout the Covid-19 pandemic will have enhanced the reputation of our brands and built a new, deeper relationship with our audiences.

It’s been a tough year and we know you’re probably feeling exhausted.

Comms Fest 2021 is a chance for you to get off the treadmill for a few hours each week and recharge your batteries.

Throughout the month we’ll be hosting sessions that give you a chance to reflect, to learn and to refresh including:

  • A series of masterclasses to explore the latest best practice in key areas of comms
  • Presentations, panel debates and expert analysis on the future of our industry from those inside and outside of the sector
  • A chance for people from different organisations to meet up and share their comms challenges over a brew and a cake.

So come and join us, connect with friends, and get set for the year ahead. You’ve earned it!

Further sessions in the CommsFest2021 month will include:

Monday 1 February 2021, 10am–11am – Redefining the role of communications, public relations and marcomms: The Dublin Conversations – a better map and toolkit to survive and thrive

Thursday 4 February 2021, 10am–11am – Social media masterclass: what’s next for social media?

Friday 5 February 2021, 10am–11am – The CommsFest Un-Conference

Thursday 11 February 2021, 10am–11am – Crisis Communications Masterclass: The lifespan of a crisis

Tuesday 16 February 2021, 10am–11am – Communications and diversity: understanding and tackling unconscious bias

Thursday 18 February 2021, 10am–11am – Masterclass: Influence and change: delivering successful campaigns

Friday 19 February 2021, 10am-11:30am – Masterclass and panel discussion: Access to information – what does it mean for housing associations?

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 10am–11am – Panel discussion: Power without responsibility: what’s the future of the media and is it really losing its relevance?

Thursday 25 February 2021, 10am–11am – Masterclass: will 2021 be the year that video kills the press release?

Friday 26 February 2021, 10am–11am – The CommsFest Un-Conference

The booking form for this session is below. To book the whole month please book here.

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Further information

Delegate fees:

Full month price:

Book all sessions on the CommsFest for the reduced price of £550*

Individual sessions**:

Full price: £100*
Members of any HQN network: £80*

* Please note that all prices are subject to standard VAT. Byte Size members do not qualify for member discounts or free places at this event. Please call 01904 557150 for more information.

**To book onto individual sessions please follow the links in the text on the left and complete the booking form on its page.

In association with:

Hough Bellis Communications

Full month programme:  

Click here to download the programme

Cancellations and substitutions:

A full refund will be given if a cancellation is made 28 calendar days or more prior to the event, and a 50% refund if a cancellation is made 15-27 calendar days prior to the event. We regret that no refund can be given if a cancellation is made 14 calendar days or less before the event.

Cancellations must be made in writing, and will be acknowledged by HQN Limited. There is no refund for non-attendance, but delegates may be substituted at any time.

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