Being an agent of change isn't easy at the best of times. Add a backlog of policy decisions, lost institutional knowledge and a climate emergency into the mix, and it's easy to feel burnt out before we begin the new year. Here are the top 4 agenda items to help you focus time and energy on what matters in 2022.
Consult early on your backlog of policy decisions
In the last few years, there's been an understandable reassignment of many key communication staff to booster public health campaigns, with few able to prioritize the essential task of updating (now painfully old) policy. But, whether it's supply-chain issues, energy policies or changes in transportation, many are scrambling to recover lost time on overdue consultations. Our tip: Engage early to foster co-creation and trust with a public now acutely aware of their right to have their say.
Local authorities, especially those who have proclaimed a 'climate emergency', are now under pressure to deliver radical solutions to a public that is far better informed and alarmed about the dangers of doing nothing. Maybe it's kicking off local traffic schemes that promote walking/cycling and reduce car dependency, an energy efficiency scheme, or a waste management initiative, but now is the time to 'make good'.
Traditionally, the people working to strengthen democracy have been caught flat-footed by the pace of new trends and innovations thanks to internal bureaucracy. One massive benefit of large scale operational and institutional change is the chance to innovate. Now is the time to advocate for the change you want to see. Maybe it’s increased feedback points throughout the constitute journey, benchmarking community satisfaction or experimenting with your engagement toolkit.
We've seen a considerable shake-out among those who work in public engagement, and reliance on consultancies won't substitute in-house know-how. So if you're one of the surefooted specialists who know the difference between open, mixed and controlled engagement environments, now is the time to upskill internal teams. Document engagement strategy, create blueprints and build templates to streamline consultation processes to reap longer-term benefits like meeting or exceeding budgetary goals, reducing risk and increased trust.