GovComms: The Future of Government Communication

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Through conversation with industry greats, experts and innovators from around the world, GovComms delivers the latest insights and best practice in government communication. We provide the resources to help you, the government and public sector, communicate policies, services and regulations with impact.A podcast by contentgroup, leaders in government communication.

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What We Found: Collective Engagement For a Social Purpose
4d ago
What We Found: Collective Engagement For a Social Purpose
In a new series for GovComms we will be going along for the ride to follow the journey of the University of Adelaide's latest multi-year, multi-phase research project, which is called Collective Engagement for Social Purpose.For this new series, we will regularly be joined by Dr. Taylor Willmott and Professor Jodie Conduit, who are from the university's business school.In this weeks episode, we catch up with Jodie and Taylor to discuss some their key findings so far.As a recap, the project emerged as a culmination of several projects and research across several sectors. However, all projects and research had in common one thing... how organisations could better engage with their stakeholders to drive improvements in both their products and the service offering's. This latest research comes from the position that stakeholders aren't passive recipients, that they are people that you want to engage with to make change, to work better with them, and to really drive that enhancement in everything that you do."In the interviews, respondents have discussed shared purpose and a sense of social purpose in slightly different but related ways. I think ultimately it's our why. It's your reason for existing and for being. They spoke about things like, "It's our DNA. It's actually our North Star and the things that we're striving to achieve, but ultimately it's something that we all align on and can connect with in some way." - Dr. Taylor WillmottDavid, Jodie and Taylor discuss factors that can help create that sense of sharedness ("if that's a word" - David). Alignment for all parties is one aspect the others being transparency and clarity."Getting people all on board and getting aligned in their understanding with a shared purpose is actually a concept that has challenged us a little bit in understanding it because in our interviews, people talk about the need to have alignment and a shared purpose, but they also talk about the need to have diversity and different opinions and different roles and different people at the table" - Professor Jodie ConduitFor the NHS paper mentioned in this episode head to: For more information about this research: you have any questions about this episode or would like to get involved in this research please reach out to Dr. Taylor Willmott via: taylor.willmott@adelaide.edu.au Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
What We Found: Collective Engagement For a Social Purpose
4d ago
What We Found: Collective Engagement For a Social Purpose
In a new series for GovComms we will be going along for the ride to follow the journey of the University of Adelaide's latest multi-year, multi-phase research project, which is called Collective Engagement for Social Purpose.For this new series, we will regularly be joined by Dr. Taylor Willmott and Professor Jodie Conduit, who are from the university's business school.In this weeks episode, we catch up with Jodie and Taylor to discuss some their key findings so far.As a recap, the project emerged as a culmination of several projects and research across several sectors. However, all projects and research had in common one thing... how organisations could better engage with their stakeholders to drive improvements in both their products and the service offering's. This latest research comes from the position that stakeholders aren't passive recipients, that they are people that you want to engage with to make change, to work better with them, and to really drive that enhancement in everything that you do."In the interviews, respondents have discussed shared purpose and a sense of social purpose in slightly different but related ways. I think ultimately it's our why. It's your reason for existing and for being. They spoke about things like, "It's our DNA. It's actually our North Star and the things that we're striving to achieve, but ultimately it's something that we all align on and can connect with in some way." - Dr. Taylor WillmottDavid, Jodie and Taylor discuss factors that can help create that sense of sharedness ("if that's a word" - David). Alignment for all parties is one aspect the others being transparency and clarity."Getting people all on board and getting aligned in their understanding with a shared purpose is actually a concept that has challenged us a little bit in understanding it because in our interviews, people talk about the need to have alignment and a shared purpose, but they also talk about the need to have diversity and different opinions and different roles and different people at the table" - Professor Jodie ConduitFor the NHS paper mentioned in this episode head to: For more information about this research: you have any questions about this episode or would like to get involved in this research please reach out to Dr. Taylor Willmott via: taylor.willmott@adelaide.edu.au Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP#136 Reputation Management
Sep 7 2022
EP#136 Reputation Management
"Reputation management is not just communication, but for our team, it means not over promising and under delivering." - Evan Ekin-SmythThe final four principles are discussed in part two of our conversation with Evan Ekin - Smyth, Director of Media and Digital Engagement at the AEC. Evan also discusses some of the strategies the AEC uses to stay ahead and on top of the narrative in this episode. "A lot of the operation of the command centre was about operational delivery, but we have a little media hub within our command centre and it allows us to be right there, knowing what's going on, getting the information. So it allows us to get ahead of things, but it also allows us to respond if there's an issue going." - Evan Ekin-SmythAlso discussed by Evan and David is the Social Media Operation's Group or SMOG, the labour hire staff that provided assistance to the core team during the election in responding to social media inquiries. He then explains more about the operation, which has three tiers: SMOG Queens, SMOG Kings, and as David labels it, the SMOG Emperor. Evan Ekin-Smyth: "So we always had roistered on both a Social Media Operations Group Operator, who we called a SMOGGLE, and a SMOG Queen to enable those things to happen. And then if a SMOG Queen was finding content that they thought was particularly sensitive, it would come either to me or a colleague to..."David Pembroke: "Kind of SMOG Emperor, if you like."Evan Ekin-Smyth: "And it's all a little bit jovial, but it worked really well. We were having a look at the structure seeing on what we can improve there, but it served us very, very well to get through what was a ridiculous amount of content."Finally, The pair discuss why it was so vital that the AEC meet regularly with social media organisation's. Discussed in this episode: Reputation Management The inner operations of the AECMedia and Communications Training Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP #135 It's All About Tone - Australian Electoral Commission
Aug 22 2022
EP #135 It's All About Tone - Australian Electoral Commission
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) played an important role in keeping the recent Federal Election in Australia on track.Our latest two-part series features Evan Ekin-Smyth, director of media and digital engagement at the AEC. Starting at the beginning, host David Pembroke, CEO of contentgroup, walks with Evan through the early stages of his career."I think you spend, I don't know how much it is, but half of your waking time at work. If you're not doing something that you enjoy, you're probably doing it wrong. I had a look at the field of media and journalism. I thought it looked interesting, that we could do interesting things like having chats to your good self David, and that's a good place to be."The AEC's Twitter account during the election became a major talking point. The account fought hard against misinformation and disinformation online and the team behind the witty tone were responsible for responding to 150,000 tags on social media through that six week period."I started the AEC's Twitter account. I remember writing the document to our executive who probably picked it up with a bemused look on their face and thought, "Do we really want do this?" Luckily they said, yes, because I think it's been a good thing for us."Both episodes in the series cover the 6 key principles Evan and his team used to keep on top of the narrative. Some of the topics covered in part one include:The need for speedHow the AEC produced content in real-time and whyThe importance of being open and regular onlinePart two of our conversation with Evan comes out on the 7th of September. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP #134 The Key To Captivating Your Audience
Aug 3 2022
EP #134 The Key To Captivating Your Audience
"If you did something that wasn't risky and no one even looked at it, what was the point? I don't think it's successful communication. It might be good internally...but if you're actually thinking about who you're communicating with and what you did no one saw and no one interacted with, I don't think that's worth it.' - Tim PriceOn this weeks episode of GovComms, host and CEO of contentgroup, David Pembroke, is joined by Tim Price the new digital content and social media manager at the Federal Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. David begins by exploring where Tim's career began - working for Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Tim explains "when I look back on my career, I was like, "Well, that's really where it all started." Back then, there was no such thing as a digital career. There was no such thing as a career in social media. So I travelled the wave of the constantly changing nature of digital and social media and into government as well."The pair discuss the challenges of a new narrow cast world and the importance of building a sense of community no matter the type of communications you are executing.On top of this, the one key takeaway from this episode is the importance of building connections. Tim explains that making connections with individuals throughout your organisation can greatly benefit you when it comes to having a seat at the table from the get-go."For people who work across various government departments, you really need to get in on the conversation very early. I think if you are sitting in a space where you just get things at the end and they're all approved and all you're doing is putting that message out, it's very hard to change things at that point. Whereas, if you're brought in early or you worked to build up those relationships where you get brought in early on a project, you can work on those things at the very start. "In this episode, we also break down: Why evidence is so important in strengthening the argument for your strategy.The importance of building connectionsWhat tactics you can use to better grab the attention of your audience. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP# 133 The Art of Accessible Content
Jul 20 2022
EP# 133 The Art of Accessible Content
"There are so many opportunities to make sure that every element of what we do is actually usable and accessible. And I don't mean just accessible in terms of being able to be accessed by screen readers and that sort of thing, but accessed and understood by the general public generally is a challenge." - Deborah RiceOn this weeks episode of GovComms, Deborah Rice, Content Strategy & Editorial Lead at Office of the eSafety Commissioner, chats with CEO and Founder of contentgroup, David Pembroke about the current climate of eSafety and the importance of creating usable and accessible content.The pair begin by reflecting on Deborah's time at the ABC and what skills she has transferred to her role at the eSafety Commissioner. In this episode the pair hone in on the modern best practise of having the subject matter expert, the technologist and the storyteller sit at the table together. Deborah explains that creating accessible, unique content cant be siloed but rather, the process needs to be a collaborative experience amongst various teams. "What we did is brought together an office wide meeting where we actually look at the content production and design schedule. So we could ensure that everyone in the office knew what we were putting out. And there's also a column there for the marketing team and a column there for the media and communications team. So they've got line of sight right from the beginning on a resource." This episode also touches on how traditional methods of communication may need to be adapted to reach a wider range of audiences."A lot of those things that you use as a communicator to make content warm and friendly and snackable can actually be problematic for low literacy audiences where there's ambiguity or where you are using idioms that might make it very familiar to a large part of your audience, but might actually exclude and in fact, misinform other people within your audience." Discussed in this episode:Creating accessible and usable contentThe current climate of eSafetyHow to engage a broad spectrum of audiences Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP# 132 Digital Literacy across our Population
Jul 8 2022
EP# 132 Digital Literacy across our Population
This week we are joined by CEO of the Digital Skills Network (DSO), Patrick Kidd.Patrick and host, CEO and Founder of contentgroup, David Pembroke, discuss the importance of developing digital skills. The pair first begin by addressing what digital skills are, how to upskill your employees in digital skills and how companies can make better use of their employees digital skills. "A classic example is core part of this is almost like it's language and awareness. We tend to find that lots of people are automatically not enamoured by the idea of a digital career, not enamoured by the idea of accruing digital skills, and that's so often because of the language that we use which is impenetrable and tends to talk technology that nobody really understands. So, how do we actually move away from using this complex language to talking really simple language?" - Patrick KiddDavid and Patrick continue to discuss how government should be thinking about this skill acquisition. Patrick explains that "there has to be a sort of a tacit recognition of the fact that no matter what job you're doing, the job itself isn't necessarily changing, but the way that the job is being done is changing". According to Patrick, without the full support of leadership, employees may not be able to develop their digital skills as quickly. Discussed in this episode: How government can aid the development of digital skills Why developing digital skills can improve efficiency What core skills underpin successful interactions with systems Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The Beginning: Collective Engagement for a Social Purpose
Jun 21 2022
The Beginning: Collective Engagement for a Social Purpose
In a new series for GovComms we will be going along for the ride to follow the journey of the University of Adelaide's latest multi-year, multi-phase research project, which is called Collective Engagement for Social Purpose.For this new series, we will regularly be joined by Dr. Taylor Willmott and Professor Jodie Conduit, who are from the university's business school.The project emerged as a culmination of several projects and research across several sectors. However, all projects and research had in common one thing... how organisations could better engage with their stakeholders to drive improvements in both their products and the service offering's. This latest research comes from the position that stakeholders aren't passive recipients, that they are people that you want to engage with to make change, to work better with them, and to really drive that enhancement in everything that you do."We were thinking about how we can bring people together to generate, not just engagement at an individual level, but engagement really at a collective level, where we know from work that we'd done to drive change in any sector... But, we need to have engagement among groups. And we wanted to do that in a really meaningful context. And we didn't want to be, I guess, tied down to any one sector. So we started to think about this notion of collective engagement towards, or driving a real social purpose in society. And, our discussions really took off from there." - Jodie ConduitThe project will advance knowledge on how managers, consultants, and leaders can cultivate a shared commitment among a group of individuals or team toward a common cause that benefits the broader community and their environment.The trio also discuss how Government can play a crucial role in bringing together community initiatives to help drive behaviour change."I think government really is an enabler, a facilitator of change. But I think more than that, when we get movements happening that have become bottom up movements, ultimately, you do need someone to come in and provide some level of structure and organisation. And, for real change to happen in the long term, you really do need the government to take ownership and share responsibility." - Dr. Taylor WillmottFor more information about this research head to: you have any questions about this episode or would like to get involved in this research please reach out to Dr. Taylor Willmott via: taylor.willmott@adelaide.edu.au Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP# 131 The OECD report on Public Sector Communications
Jun 8 2022
EP# 131 The OECD report on Public Sector Communications
Your host, CEO and Founder of contentgroup, David Pembroke, is joined by two of the OECD's policy analysts, Karine Badr and Carlotta Alfonsi, to discuss the OECD's Report on Public Communications. The trio walk through some of the key findings of the report and share the process in which the data was obtained. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, government was rushed into the opportunity of utilising new digital channels for engaging with and listening to citizens. The OECD report was based on the OECD 2020 Understanding Public Communication Survey results provided by 46 countries and the European Commission. The questionnaires targeted centres of government (CoGs) and ministries of health (MHs), to ensure both a whole-of-government perspective as well as a sectoral one from a key service-providing ministry were captured."Citizens actually look at the government as unitary. They don't understand or necessarily care about the silos of the internal bureaucracy of government. So when they see disjointed or not coordinated messages coming their way, it can create confusion, and it can actually undermine the efficacy of each of the communication of different ministries that might on their own be quite well crafted and effective. And I think COVID-19 provided a very good demonstration of the need for coordination and most of all of cohesive communication." - Carlotta AlfonsiThis episode touches on the key challenges faced by government communicators. For example, more than three quarters of CoGs (76%) and MHs (79%) identified lack of human resources and skills as one of the top three challenges in conducting core communication functions. Another point the trio touch on is that of evidence and data. Specifically its place within the current structure of many governments and its challenging demand for a specialised skill set."The issue about structures and capacity really links to kind of ensuring that public communication is considered as a profession in itself. And it's historically not always been the case, but as any profession it requires standards, guidance, skills. And so we've really seen how capacity, structures, skills, training came up for most countries that we've talked to. " - Karine BadrTo view the executive summary of the OECD report click hereDiscussed in this episode:Research process for the OECD reportThe key Findings of the OECD reportChallenges faced by Government communicators*01:00 The OECD is not an international organization but rather an inter-governmental one. *03:33: The survey for the report was launched in January 2021 and not 2022. David Pembroke has recently released a blog focusing on the key takeaways of the report which can be found here. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP #130 Good Professional Communication is a Performance
May 27 2022
EP #130 Good Professional Communication is a Performance
"We often think of performance in a pejorative way, as though that's a bad thing. The thing about performance is that if it is genuine and a reflection of the message that you genuinely feel and want to communicate, then the performance component of that is just the way in which you manage to achieve that task most effectively." - Richard MorecroftIn this episode of GovComms we are joined by Former principal news presenter for ABC Television, Richard Morecroft. Speaking of where his love for broadcasting began Richard shares that "I was just fascinated by the whole gamut of being able to potentially be a broadcaster, be an ABC announcer, which is what I wanted to be and eventually auditioned to be and was fortunate to get a job to be."Host, CEO and Founder of contentgroup, David Pembroke, breaks down with Richard the key components of making a good communicator; "A communicator who wants to do the best possible job needs to understand what they look like, what they sound like, how they come across, and that understanding, being able to look at themselves and to make a professional, genuine assessment is a hugely important skill."The pair touch on how technology has paved a new path for government communications and Richard exclaims his optimism for this new age. However the discussion also explores the challenges faced by communicators such as reduced audience attention span, reduced event significance and the difficulty of breaking through the huge amount of information available online.Discussed in this episode: The importance of genuine, honest communication Presentation skills every communicator needs Why one needs to check the motivation, purpose and message of their materialTo contact Richard Morecroft: richard.morecroft@hotmail.com Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP#129 Part Two: Being Citizen Centric
May 10 2022
EP#129 Part Two: Being Citizen Centric
In this weeks episode, we bring you part two of our interview with the CEO of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Sanjay Pradhan.The current war in Ukraine, Sanjay explains, is providing a window of opportunity for democracies to ban together and challenge authoritarianism. "I believe in galvanising action, I believe in galvanising coalitions ...to get to the root of the problem. One route is a stronger Western alliance, or a democratic alliance as you said, but another route must be to really empower citizens and make real reforms " - Sanjay PradhanSanjay chats with CEO and Founder of contentgroup, David Pembroke, about the importance of holding social media platforms accountable. He shares his thoughts on the use and misuse of information and how information can be used to polarise citizens. The pair touch on why citizens need a voice in policy and how comms can be used as a positive medium for citizen engagement. Being citizen centric involves a three way communication consisting of government to citizens, citizens to government and governments to respond and provide feedback directly to the citizens. Finally, Sanjay and David discuss Open Government Week coming up between the 16th and 20th of May. The event is a giant festival for open government across the globe. Inviting government, civil society and other reformers, the event harvests an opportunity to start co-creating reforms that can really make a difference. For more information head to: Discussed in this episode: The war in Ukraine's impact on democracyThe importance of government communications Putting citizens back in the heart of government Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP#128 Part one: Democracy Beyond the Ballot Box
Apr 26 2022
EP#128 Part one: Democracy Beyond the Ballot Box
This weeks GovComms podcast welcomes a special guest, the Open Government Partnerships CEO, Sanjay Pradhan.Sanjay joined the OGP in May of 2016. Before reaching the OGP, Sanjay served as the World Bank’s Vice President for Leadership, Learning and Innovation and the Vice President of the World Bank Institute, and the Director for Governance. Host, CEO and Founder of contentgroup, David Pembroke, chats with Sanjay about the mission of the OGP and its role in tackling governance challenges faced by ordinary citizens. Using three examples from Nigeria, Ukraine and Costa Rica, Sanjay breaks down the impact of the OGP in the real world. The pair explore the true impact OGP has in making governments more transparent, more participatory, more inclusive, and more accountable"When you think of democracy, you think of the ballot box, citizens cast their vote, but all these problems existed beyond the vote. They continue to not get these services. So OGP is a way to indeed focus on the ballot box, but also beyond the ballot box empowering citizens to shape and oversee their government every year, every day, not just once in a few years when we cast our precious vote. "The pair also discuss how digital technology has influenced transparency of governments.Sanjay discusses how OGP can counter the rise of authoritarianism by tackling both domestic and external drivers.Be sure to tune in to the Next GovComms release for Part two of our discussion with Sanjay. Discussed in this episode:Building Citizens trustInclusion of Marginalised groupsTaking democracy Beyond the Ballot box. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP#127 Back to Basics
Mar 28 2022
EP#127 Back to Basics
This weeks episode of GovComms welcomes, Melanie Gibbons Communications Advisor at Elm Communications. Melanie has over eighteen years’ experience in communications across government, not-for-profit and the private sector in Australia and the United Kingdom. Before moving into consultancy, Melanie worked in the Commonwealth Government for over a decade. Your host, CEO and Founder of contentgroup, David Pembroke opens by asking Melanie how she found moving from working in government to the private sector; "I decided to... have a bit of a break from being a public servant. I never thought of myself as a very good public servant. I always tried to break the processes and break the mould a little bit, but now I've actually found that is a really good grounding for going back and working into government because I understand procurement, I understand the hierarchy. I understand what's like working with the minister's office."Melanie shares her insight that going back to basics may be the next thing for government. She explains that "we've gotten quite caught up in social media and creativity and video production and animation and delivering all the big shiny things, which I think are amazing. But what we know is that trust in government has decreased and continues to decrease." In order to tackle this decline for citizens trust in government, Melanie suggests 'going back to those basic strategy skills, stopping and thinking about who your audience is, worrying less about the grand production that you could put on and going, "Well, where are my audience and what are they reading? What do they need to know and what's the information they need?". Melanie's discussion with David closes with the topic of Human-centred design and how it is the at the core of good communication planning. Discussed in this episode: Top tips to maximise trust in citizensThe core of good communicationWhere to find good communicators Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
EP#126 Never backing away from the truth
Mar 7 2022
EP#126 Never backing away from the truth
In this GovComms episode your host, CEO and Founder of contentgroup, David Pembroke chats with Stephanie Speck, the Executive Director and Chief Comms Officer for the Department of Education & Training, Victoria.The pair begin by discussing the topic of truth. How to encourage someone to speak the truth, why you should speak the truth and why your external perspective as a communications professional is valuable.Stephanie shares where her journey began... in Papa New Guinea. She explains that "people are people are people anywhere in the world", that you are able to love all people, and that once you see the humanity in every person you meet, this is something that's very easy to do. This outlook on the world started her journey towards wanting to fix problems and issues she felt were unfair, inequitable or got in the way of people exercising their human rights.David and Stephanie also touch on the battle between expediency and resilience."I think that really undervalues the strategic power of comms. Comms, if its about changing things, is a management tool. You use it to understand where your problems are... so you can move to a tactical perspective on where you want to be. " - Stephanie Speck.Discussed in this Episode:Changing the narrative through engaging with your audience onlineWhy you cant have a strategy without content anymoreYou don’t need to know everything but you need to know people who do.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.