Government officials find that their communication strategies lack impact in shaping policies, a report by WPP’s Government & Public Sector Practice has found.

“[Officials] feel they are brought in at the wrong stage of policy development and delivery. As a result, respondents believe they struggle to deliver integrated communication, politicians fail to see the benefit of it, and government leaders insufficiently finance it because they perceive communication as an expense rather than an investment”, it states.

According to the report, 39 percent of government communication leaders believe they do not report to sufficiently senior levels so they are “unable to drive a strategic communication agenda” in government.

Further, some “feel that they are actively distrusted by ministers and senior officials on the grounds that they engage with the media”, the report adds, specifically among officials in lower roles who “identified a lack of credibility within their own organisation”, it writes.

The research outlines three ways government can improve on its communication: integrating communication work closely with policy teams at the outset; benchmarking communication strategies against impact, influence and effect; and hiring research and data specialists to make use of all relevant data.

60 percent of respondents say that communication is evaluated on reach and awareness, instead of policy objectives.

The report surveys government communication officials spanning 40 countries. It is overseen by an advisory board of global leaders in government, politics and communication, including Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.