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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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Communication professionals are under-supported, under-resourced and under-funded

Respondents to the research consistently identified the continued struggle to secure resource as a major barrier to delivering more and more effective citizen engagement.

Senior communication leaders pointed to the fact that the of majority engagement activities were being run out of communication teams. However, these teams were often reliant on other parts of their organisation for funding.

  • 56% of respondents said they needed to invest more in citizen engagement;
  • 28% of respondents said their organisation lacked the tools, skills and resources to carry out citizen engagement programming.

“The problem is that the cash sits with policy, not with communications, so it’s time consuming to get clearance and financial approval to do things properly. There is a culture of protecting budgets which inhibits effective working and stops communications driving change.”
Communication Leader, Western Europe

“We communications people are always complaining that we aren’t involved early enough in policy development, but I’ve also been thinking of the role of the policy people in the campaign development process. I’ve been explicitly involving them, particularly in formative research and concept testing as it gives them an opportunity to hear directly from our audiences which may, in turn, influence them when developing policy. All this is leading to much better collaboration all around.”
Communication Leader, Australasia

The Detail

Our quantitative research revealed that the challenges facing communicators were varied.

The research found that the major challenges to delivering more effective citizen engagement were:

  • Finding the right balance between the needs of citizens, stakeholders and decision makers in engagement activities;
  • Internal barriers around bureaucracy;
  • Risk aversion and buy-in;
  • Budget.

These quantitative findings were reinforced by communication leaders, who cited the diffusion of decision-making, the lack of clarity about how or when to feed in citizens’ view, and the siloed nature of government policy development.

The professionals also identified a lack of coordination and collaboration between authorities and teams, which can prevent effective citizen engagement; may result in engagement fatigue; and may mean that the decision-making process is less open and transparent than it could be.

  • Only 39% of respondents felt engagement activities were coordinated across the organisation

The global picture emerging from the research was of a process that is still constrained by both process and resource hurdles. The lack of commitment on the part of public organisations to driving citizen engagement activities into policy development and delivery means that many programmes are stumbling or falling short along the way.

Read full report here