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Agenda item


To consider a progress report on individual risks identified in the Council’s Strategic Risk Register.


The Committee considered progress on individual risks identified within the Council’s Strategic Risk Register relating to reputational damage.


Sub-Risk – Visitors’ negative image of Blackpool


Mr Alan Cavill, Director of Communication and Regeneration, reported that in relation to securing a positive image of Blackpool, the Destination Management Plan had been completed and would be considered by the Deputy Leader of the Council the following week. With regard to the data generated by the submission of visitor satisfaction surveys, it was acknowledged that these only captured the opinions of individuals who had chosen to visit Blackpool. It was also suggested that gaining insight from potential visitors who decided against visiting the town could be beneficial. In light of this, an attitude survey had been commissioned which aimed to ascertain individuals’ perceptions of Blackpool. The results depicted a mixed view, demonstrating that those surveyed liked elements of Blackpool, whilst indicating that they felt some aspects of the town were less pleasant.


It was explained to the Committee that marketing material had been generated which was aimed specifically at potential investors, following which, it would be amended to appeal to prospective visitors.


Mr Cavill responded to questioning about the town’s negative portrayal in some press publications by referring the Committee to the Council’s annual marketing campaign ‘Blackpool Has It All’. Reference was also made to measures aimed at attracting members of the media to undertake Familiarisation Visits, which in the past had resulted in a number of positive press articles. It was acknowledged that the town had enjoyed an increase in positive news stories of recent months, in comparison to previous years.


An update on the proposed reshaping of the Illuminations was provided by Mr Cavill, with the assurance that every avenue of funding would be considered. It was acknowledged that the Illuminations in their current form had remained the same for the past 10 years, and that in order to attract commercial funding, businesses needed to be offered a new concept. Concern was raised that should a pricing scheme be introduced, visitor numbers would consequently fall, thereby in part defeating the primary object of the attraction. Mr Cavill acknowledged that the correct combination of product and sales techniques would be required prior to attempting further commercialisation of the Illuminations.


Mr John Blackledge, Director of Community and Environmental Services, addressed concerns over the level of anti-social behaviour and begging within the town centre. It was explained that there was a robust framework in partnership with the police addressing town centre issues, with additional support being provided by Trading Standards. The Committee heard that the Council would be funding two additional officers, dedicated to addressing anti-social behaviour and begging, with an emphasis on avoiding the displacement of issues to other areas, and instead looking to address the underlying causes. It was acknowledged that the issue involved a range of complex and multiple needs, which included mental health support and services, with a coordinated and integrated approach being required. The Committee considered information on the support packages in place for individuals, as well as receiving details of community protection orders and criminal behaviour orders resulting from incidences of begging in the town.


Sub-Risk – Residents’ negative image of Blackpool


Discussions were held around the increased use of new communication channels such as social media and newsletters, with assurances given that many avenues of communication were being utilised, with as many opportunities as possible being captured. It was also stressed that in addition to the use of social media, traditional methods of communication were still being included, and that it was important to communicate issues of all sizes, both big and small. The question was raised of whether the Council was reaching the correct audiences, with assurances given by Mr Cavill that audiences were being successfully targeted with information specific to them.


The Committee was informed that a number of funding applications for a museum in Blackpool to share heritage and foster local pride had now been submitted, with the outcomes being determined prior to the end of the calendar year. The £13-million funding for the project also included the initial two years’ of running costs. Mr Cavill assured the Committee that the robust business plan for the proposed museum was not overly ambitious, having been prepared by an external field expert, with a 30% variance in visitor numbers having been factored in as a contingency.

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