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THE LEADERS'
REPORT 2.0

Welcome to The Leaders’ Report: Increasing trust through citizen engagement.

Spanning over 50 countries this study provides a comprehensive, global overview of how government communicators are thinking about citizen engagement, the challenges they face, how they are addressing them, and what issues lie behind the challenges identified.

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  • France
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Luxemburg
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • Qatar
  • Kuwait
  • Bahrain
  • UAE
  • KSA
  • Egypt
  • Tunisia
  • Morocco
  • Iraq
  • US
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Myanmar
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Hong Kong (SAR of China)
  • Taiwan (China)
  • China
  • UK
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

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THE LEADERS' REPORT 2.0

Conclusions

Our five findings show that communication professionals around the world clearly face a consistent set of challenges. These findings have led us to four distinct conclusions:

1

Citizen engagement is under-resourced and under-funded

  • Citizen engagement is widely endorsed in principle, but is often being practised as a stand-alone listening exercise that does not impact policy;
  • Citizen engagement activities are rarely resourced sufficiently. Many organisations require better funding for engagement activities;
  • There remain significant capability gaps. In many cases, governments lack the equipment, skills and expertise to conduct and fully evaluate engagement activities.
2

Citizen engagement is always possible but not always desirable

  • Activities have been successfully run in all areas of policy, including highly sensitive issues such as national security;
  • However governments need to pick and choose engagement opportunities strategically;
  • Governments should only pursue opportunities that can impact policy development and delivery, or service outcomes;
  • Organisations need to assess whether they have the capacity to effectively deliver programmes before undertaking them.
3

Citizen engagement has unfulfilled potential

  • Most citizen engagement activities are taking place at a lower-order level and are not influencing policy;
  • The benefits of higher order engagement activities are not being realised in most organisations;
  • The lack of rigorous evaluation makes defining success and measuring outcomes elusive;
  • Lack of integration and collaboration means too many programmes fail to move beyond consultation;
  • There is a lack of strategy and a lack of frameworks available to practitioners that help them understand how activities can build more-trusting relationships between citizen and state.
4

If executed poorly, citizen engagement activities can make relationships between the citizen and the state worse

  • A lack of commitment and action following engagement activities risks them being perceived by citizens, stakeholders and the media as a public relations exercise;
  • Consultation without implementation breaks the contract of expectation between citizen and state;
  • Failing to engage affected audiences on policy decisions can increase perceptions that governments and public bodies are out of touch and disinterested;
  • Governments must be wary of the reputational risk of doing citizen engagement poorly. Citizens increasingly expect authorities to engage them in user-centric and relevant ways that challenge traditional government communication practices.

Read full report here