3 insights that lead to better government policy communication
Government communication departments have the mandate of explaining government policy to the community.
In the new age of technology, departments have a range of offline and online channels to best communicate with their audience, which in most part are all Australian citizens.
Crossing the boundaries between communication and policy in Australia is Assistant Secretary of Digital Communication at the Department of Communications, Kim Ulrick.
A major focus of her current role surrounds redirecting the strategic policy intent of the department to better communicate and engage with stakeholders in the public.
Ulrick has three main observations when it comes to best communicating government policy.
Change comes from the top
The Department of Communications reports to Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull, who is an avid user of social media and encourages its use throughout the Department.
Having a leader who is innovative and passionate about pushing the boundaries of using digital platforms has fostered a positive culture within the Department and creates opportunity for transformation.
Audit and improve your workforce
Before embarking on developing a communication and digital strategy for government it is vital to audit your staff. This will allow you to understand your employees’ strengths and weaknesses.
The Department of Communications developed a digital literacy training program, facilitating younger and older employees to improve their skill set by introducing collaborative approaches such as younger officers mentoring executives on digital platforms.
Continuous training programs and the use of social learning sites such as Lynda.com has helped staff in the Department improve their professional development. Technology is continually changing and government communicators must adapt, learn and understand how to use a myriad of social and digital channels to help engage with the public.
Seek advice from the legal team
It’s fair to say that the most government departments are risk averse. Before beginning the journey of transforming your communication department it is vital to receive advice from your legal team.
The key is to get your legal team on board early in the process, allowing them to buy in to the process which streamlines the work being undertaken.
Due to the high levels of content creation and collaboration with third party stakeholders, a legal team will advise you on any potential issues that may surround the work.
The work being done by the Department of Communications has been promising; with the guidance of the Minister, the introduction of a continued learning process and consultations with the legal team the Department of Communications is prepared for their next phase of the journey.
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21 September, 2017
18 September, 2017