‘powerful public communication helps explain and deliver our key priorities’
- Collaboration – the commitment to working with others, across public and private, across departments and between central and local government runs throughout the plan. This tells us that whilst there is a plan in place, that the detail campaigns will be worked on by a range organisations. It also says that the chances of one body wandering off and doing completely its own thing is minimal. That helps to provide certainty and also involves the careful consideration of relevant stakeholders as well.
- Department priorities – the priorities for each department are clearly set out in the plan. Of course, we are talking about politics as well so new or different priorities can emerge. Events do have a habit of getting in the way. But the plan sets out in very precise terms what is expected of each department in its communications and contains some specific campaigns as well. Again, all useful when thinking about engagement.
- Campaigns – the plan provides clarity on the major campaigns coming forward in 2016/17 which can be used to help support your own public affairs campaigns and decide on timings. It may be that your campaigning priorities may not be the priorities of the Government. That is useful too and can be built into the tactics that you may need to employ.
- A commitment to learning and development – the plan provides a few useful hints and tips about boosting the skills and expertise of your team. This includes peer-to-peer learning, mentoring and accelerated learning. All this is against a background of a high level of professional standards
- The improvement agenda – the opening statement related to this agenda can be applied to any of us working in public affairs as much as across the Government Communication Service (GCS) so is worth repeating in full:
‘Our goal is to build an ever-more skilled, productive and unified Government Communication Service; one that is always seeking to innovate and adopt global best practice and is committed to relentless evaluation, accountability and improvement.’
- Measurement and evaluation – all the help that public affairs can get where it comes to this seems to be valuable. The table outlining the evaluation framework is particularly important. The framework sets out a recommended core set of measures (across inputs, outputs, outtakes, outcomes and organisation impact). There is no reason why this cannot be applied to public affairs as well.
To dismiss it simply as just another report from Government would be to miss out on the practical advice it has to offer as well as the tactical implications it may have for your campaigns.
It is well worth spending some time with.
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