Online policy making beyond departmental boundaries

We tend to think of the role on policy makers in our thinking on online policy development, but one of the things I’ve been thinking about recently, is that there are implications too for those in policy functions within many of the organisations that interact regularly with Government.   We only have to look at any major policy organisation’s website to see that – despite the fact that many will have really digitally engaged policy professionals within them – there’s still a traditional approach to producing the well-crafted and argued consultation response that sets out a detailed corporate position.

Tim has talked elsewhere about the other end of the spectrum – enabling people who know relatively little about a topic  to respond easily to consultations, and the need for individuals  to easily submit their opinions. And I’d agree completely that we need to make it easier for anyone to respond from that standpoint.   But, equally we shouldn’t forget or dismiss the needs of the professional policy organisation.  We’ll still need and value their corporate responses, and increasingly rely on them to enable us to spread our messaging far and wide.

So should departments  – as part of their implementation of their individual digital strategies – be focusing on working with those stakeholders to build up more strategic digital relationships.  Or should there be some kind of government-approach?


2 thoughts on “Online policy making beyond departmental boundaries

  1. They’re definitely a key audience to understand and help, as much as the public ones, I suspect. For instance, providing summaries, shareable extracts, platforms that go with the grain of their own internal consultation processes and not against them.

    I remember turning up a stakeholder’s team meeting to talk about a consultation we’d done ‘commentable’ style in the early days, and they were furious they had to cut and paste their response into thirty separate places, and make it public before the deadline date.

    Also – and I’ve not seen this resolved – they wanted to know whether tweets/blog posts from officials in their professional capacity represent the official line of the organisation, i.e. policy, or not? And if not, why bother?

    • Interesting perspective Steph! And you’re right, I don’t think we’ve fully resolved the boundaries of whether tweets & blogs count an official response, although I wonder whether the “why bother” question would still be asked.

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