Civil servants and public slam govt consultations

The Government is more concerned with making announcements than consultation, according to 72 per cent of civil servants contacted in a YouGov poll.

Addressing delegates at last week’s Good Communications Awards – held by publisher PSE in London – YouGov chairman Peter Kellner unveiled the results of a survey of 400 civil servants, 800 council staff and 1,200 members of the public.

Kellner said the most surprising finding was that more civil servants than members of the public believe the Government prioritises announcements over consultation.

‘Not only do 70 per cent of the public agree with the statement, but more of those who actually work for the Government agree, too,’ he added.

Kellner said government manipulated ministers’ messages too much: ‘We have become bland in how we communicate politics and the public have rebelled against that... PROs must not only tell the truth, but must be seen to tell the truth. They must be as candid about bad news as they are emphatic about good news.’
However, the Cabinet Office refuted the research, citing government-wide consultation programmes.

‘The Government does consult widely with the public: for example, the Department of Health’s national programme, Your Health, Your Care, Your Say. The programme collected information from 100,000 people to contribute towards this year’s white paper,’ said a spokeswoman.

She added that there has been consultation on matters such as genetically modified crops. The spokeswoman also said the Home Office’s ‘Frank’ anti-drugs campaign won an award from the Institute of Direct Marketing for effectiveness.

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