Parliamentary committee calls for 'Statement of National Strategy'

A powerful parliamentary committee has urged the Government to improve its messaging by publishing an annual 'Statement of National Strategy'.

PR disaster: David Cameron and the ‘pasty tax' (Rex Features)
PR disaster: David Cameron and the ‘pasty tax' (Rex Features)

Last week, the Public Administration Select Committee called on the Government to publish an annual statement aimed at improving long-term planning and communication to the public.

The committee’s report came amid a series of PR disasters for the Government, including budgetary comms blunders such as the ‘pasty tax’.

The committee said that the strategy statement could be published ahead of the Budget, to ‘underpin’ the process.  

Following the report, committee chairman Bernard Jenkin MP warned of potential ‘catastrophic consequences’ if a clearer strategy was not developed and conveyed, adding it must be ‘informed by a coherent assessment of the public’s values and aspirations’.

The call has been backed by Westminster City Council’s director of comms and strategy Alex Aiken. He said that in an era of budgetary cuts, the Government had remained ‘resolutely broadcast’ in its manner of communicating, ‘despite the opportunities offered by the digital revolution’.

Aiken said this needed to change and that the Government had to explain how policy is related to its professed values of ‘freedom, fairness and responsibility’, adding the message was just as relevant to local councils: ‘They have had to deliver a huge shift in behaviour in recent times due to cuts and that has meant having to reduce expectations when it comes to parts of public service.

‘You have to explain the reasons, what will be done to mitigate the effects and why we will get through, otherwise people will lose faith.’

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