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Best practices from the Netherlands Planning and implementing government communication Friday, November 28.

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1 Best practices from the Netherlands Planning and implementing government communication Friday, November 28

2 2. Pieter Borsboom (1967) >University degree in Economics >16 years public communications >Of which 7,5 years managing director communication agency >Education of professionals (SRM) >Since 2005: independent consultant & interim manager communications

3 3. Clients

4 4. Today 09.30Planning government communication: an overview 10.30Coffee break 11.00Analyze it! What’s the communication challenge? 12.30Lunch 13.30Tax and Customs Administration, Arjan Hoeffnagel 15.00Group work: What’s the communication challenge? 16.00Plenary reports and discussions 17.00Closing remarks, questions 17.30End of day 1

5 5. Tomorrow 09.00Formulate it: public communication strategy 10.30Coffee break 11.00Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Koos Tamis 12.30Lunch 13.30Group work: What’s the communication strategy? 14.30Plenary reports and discussions 15.15Tea break 15.30Implementing it: do it, check and adapt 17.00Closing remarks and questions 17.30End of day 2

6 An overview Planning and implementing government communication

7 7. Government has several policy instruments >Legislation: laws, rules >Law enforcement: fines, punishments >Financial measures: taxes, excise duty, subsidies, benefits >Capacity measures: (extra) human resources >.. and communication

8 8. Many reasons >Informing the public about a new law in preparation >Making the public –familiar with rights or duties –consider certain topics >Influencing the public behaviour >Improving the image of government

9 9. And even more reasons >Putting a subject on the public’s agenda >Making stakeholders talk or cooperate (Famous Dutch ‘Poldermodel’) >Influencing the public’s political opinions

10 10. Policymaker >‘My subject is of great importance and interest of everyone.’ >‘Therefore everyone has to know everything about it, including all the nuances...’ >‘...and everybody has to know why it is the way it is.’

11 11. Public What’s in it for me? >‘Is this important/interesting?’ >‘What are they telling me?’ >‘What are consequences for me?’ >‘Do I have an advantage?’ >‘Is this worth my time or money?’

12 12. Communication professional >‘For whom is this really relevant and of interest?’ >‘What do they think about it?’ >‘What is the big picture?’ >‘In what way is this related to...?’ >‘Is there budget for communication?’

13 13. Communication has to do two things >Bring the outside world to the inside world [and vice versa] >To attribute meaning to [plain] information (Roelf Middel)

14 14. Four related key concepts Policy Communication Social issue Stakeholders

15 15. What does this (new) policy mean? >Who needs to know what about it? >Who needs to think how about it? >Who needs to do or act?

16 16. Strategic choices >Positioning the subject (naming) >Key message (promise, proof, tone) >Who is sender of communication? >Target group segmentation >Resource strategy (media, activities) >Designing a communication process according to a time schedule

17 17. Analyze it >Be clear about what [it] is >Look at the relevant context and relations >Establish the role of communication

18 18. Formulate strategy >Formulate the key message >Decide on the target groups >Choose activities, media, instruments

19 19. Do it >Make a time schedule >Budget all activities >Organise who’s doing what >Realisation/implementation –Creativity –Production –Media buying

20 20. Check and adapt >Measure (before and after) >Evaluate (qualitative and quantitative) >Adapt strategy or actions

21 21. Case: ‘WAO’ becomes ‘WIA’ >A new Disability Benefits Act >Impact on all social partners >Introduced in 2003 >By the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment >Agency: Tappan Communicatie in association with TMP Worldwide

22 Analyze it! What’s the communication challenge?

23 23. Analyze it - questions >What is the social issue? >What is the proposed policy? >Who are the stakeholders? >What is the potential role for communication?

24 Is it something communication can ‘fix’? At its own strength?

25 25. Analyze the issue >What is it? >What’s the history of the issue? >What are facts on the issue? >What is known about the issue? >What are related issues? >What is the communication history?

26 26. Balkenende II government “The proportion of people in work can be increased by reducing the number of those who are unable to work through sickness or disability, by increasing the incentives for unemployment benefit claimants to find work,... We need to do so if we are to maintain a good system of basic social provision in the Netherlands that meets modern needs.” Policy Statement, June 11, 2003

27 27. The current ‘WAO’ (1967) >Disability Benefits Act >Meant for paid employees >If you become (partly) incapable of work >You can receive state benefits >Unlimited in height and duration

28 28. The current ‘WAO’, 2 >Doesn’t stimulate going back to work >Cheap way to get rid of employees >WAO population grows and grows >And has become far too expensive >‘WAO’ = ‘hopeless case, will never go back to work’

29 29. Becomes: ‘WIA’ (2006) >‘WIA’: Law Work and Income according to your ability to work >Passes houses of Parliament in 2005 >Effective as of January 2006 >UWV, the social security agency, will execute the WIA

30 30. ‘Hands off of our WAO!’ >Several cabinets tried changing the WAO, with loud protests as result >So proposals were being withdrawn

31 31. Analyze the policy >What is in essence the solution proposed by the government? >What is it? A new or adapted policy plan, a new programme or a law? >What are the instruments used? >What is the ultimate goal of the proposed solution? >Good or bad news? For whom?

32 32. The new act ‘WIA’ >Reduce numbers, limit growth >Improve prevention activities >Stimulate the return to work >Everybody who is (partly) able to work, has to work (partly) >Those who are 100% incapable of work, will receive benefits

33 33. Further more >Employers have to continue salary payments for two years after the employee became incapable of work >Incapable employees who (partly) work, receive additional benefits. >Employers and employees have a common responsibility regarding prevention and reintegration

34 34. Analyze the players PlayerPoint of view InterestPowerBaselineCommuni- cation role

35 35. Sorts of players >Influencers >Decision makers >Suppliers >Users >Implementers

36 36. Relevant players - external >Employees (15yrs-65yrs) >Employers (public and private) >Current WAO-population >UWV, assurance companies and companies aimed at reintegration >Organizations for employees >Organizations for employers

37 37. Don’t overlook the internal players >You might need them, in different phases of your communication plan >They can be ambassadors >Endorsing your message

38 38. Relevant players - internal >Relevant civil servants ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (policy, press and public information service) >Relevant civil servants ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (policy, press and public information service)

39 39. Analyze the communication elements >How big is the knowledge gap? >How big is the attitude gap? >How big is the behavior gap? >Are the target groups identifiable? >Is there a ‘blank sheet’ or are there relevant points to be taken into account?

40 40. Use SWOT StrengthsWeakness OpportunitiesThreats

41 41. Conclusions for communication >What’s the task at hand for communication?

42 42. Conclusions for communication 1.A complicated message with serious consequences 2.The message isn’t all new, but it’s tougher/stricter 3.Diverse and large target groups 4.Ambitious goals combined with a relatively small (media-)budget

43 43. Case Arjan Hoeffnagel Ministry of Finance Tax and Customs Administration

44 Group assignment What’s the communication challenge?

45 45. Assignment >Form groups >Read the handout and discuss it with your group >Prepare a short presentation (10 minutes), answering the questions on the handout >Include the reasoning behind your answers


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