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Creating a refreshing tone for Barnsley MBC's vision and values

The client

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council is the local authority of Barnsley in South Yorkshire. It is one of four in South Yorkshire and one of 36 in the metropolitan counties in England. Barnsley MBC provides the majority of local government services in Barnsley.

Setting the tone

After some major changes and restructure, Barnsley MBC approached us to communicate their new vision and values to internal colleagues. Typically, they were written in a corporate tone with internal jargon in every sentence, so our first task was to write them in plain English so everyone could understand the messages.

We stripped back the vision into a short, punchy and more motivational statement. The values were also stripped back and every word scrutinised. They were written in a way that everyone at every level would be able to digest easily and help make them feel they were part of the message rather than a ‘top down’ approach. 


Once the writing was complete, we gauged the appetite for creativity amongst the senior management team. We held a workshop with some quite surprising results. Not only were they happy to be creative, they wanted to push the boundaries and steer away from ‘typical’ council communications.

They also wanted the new message to have impact on every floor of their offices, with large spaces being covered with bright colours and bold, modern typography.