22 Jul 2024 02:02

Advertising & Marketing

The Leaders’ Report: How governments can better connect with their citizens

Intensified political polarisation, fragmented groups and rapid digital disruption risk is undermining governments’ efforts to effectively engage with citizens, concludes The Leaders’ Report.

Produced by WPP’s Government & Public Sector Practice, The Leaders’ Report is the only global research study looking at the state of citizen engagement, and the key challenges facing governments’ efforts to better connect with citizens in an age of technological and political disruption. 

The Leaders’ Report: Increasing Trust Through Citizen Engagement is the second iteration of the report initially launched at Davos 2017, and is based on interviews and surveys conducted across 50 countries and six multilateral organisations, with over 60 government communication leaders and 400 government communicators, supplemented by a survey of 8,000 citizens. 

The landmark study shows that while governments want to engage with citizens and recognise the benefits of doing so, they are unsure about how best to devolve decision making to the public. The key consequence of this is that governments around the world miss a vital opportunity to rebuild trust with those they govern. 

The report looks at key findings from government communicators, including:

75% of respondents recognise that engagement done well can create more support for a policy, and rebuild trust.

Yet 36% know that citizens affected by a policy don’t always get a chance to share input.

77% carry out engagement activities that deliberately minimise opportunities for citizens to feed back.

More than half (54%) do not have the resources to effectively evaluate engagement programmes.

Only 8% say that their organisation commits to act on public views before running a citizen engagement programme.

The global research also identifies 10 key drivers of citizen engagement governments could adopt to rebuild trust with the public, including building and communicating a clear picture of a government’s ambitions and priorities, demonstrating social cohesion through more inclusive policy delivery, and building opportunities for citizens to help co-create public services.

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