According to The Leaders' Report: the future of government communication, communication leaders in many governments who were interviewed say they are struggling to combat declining levels of public trust in government, and that they lack the ability to keep pace with how citizens communicate and engage in the 21st century.
Participants in The Leaders' Report say that Government communication is still primarily broadcast, despite acknowledging that the most impactful communication is personalised. A lack of expertise in analysing audience data may be a contributory factor in this.
Falling levels of trust in government is cited by government leaders who took part in the research as the key issue facing government communicators.
Respondents also indicate that government communication operates as a tool to disseminate information, not to consult or engage.
The Leaders' Report reveals a shared sense among many communication leaders that their teams lack the agility to perform well in this new world – and that constant cost reductions have "filleted" them of the staff, skills, financial resources and knowledge they need. As one respondent commented, "we know we're missing a trick. We just don't know what that trick is".
Overwhelmingly, participants in the research believe they operate in outdated hierarchies and overly-bureaucratic processes. They cite a lack of risk taking and agility in wider government as limiting their freedom to innovate and improve.
Among 10 requirements or attributes of high-performing government communication functions there is Sustaining the investment in talent, skills and professional development or Embracing technology to becomemore citizen focused, for example.
The research included an audit of existing practice together with analysis of data on major trends in government communication and their associated organisational drivers. A global conversation with the project's advisory board members In-depth qualitative interviews with government communications leaders from 20 countries and five multilateral organisations. An online, confidential qualitative survey with more than 240 communication practitioners from 29 countries.
More details are available here (in English).
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