Issues Management training for Government

Issues Management Training for Government:  A skills development course in effective issues management

Ever ask yourself:

  • Why are we always putting out fires?
  • Where do all these crises come from?
  • How do we get ahead of the curve?
  • How can we turn these challenges to our advantage?

In short: How do we do a better job actually managing our issues, instead of being managed by them?

Public issues typically arise from an actual or perceived gap between a department’s performance and important stakeholders’ expectations of it in terms of its:

  • Service products
  • Processes
  • Policies
  • Practices
  • Programs and initiatives

Be they service clients, NGOs, the Minister, neighbours, pressure groups among others, stakeholders will be looking for areas in which results that affect them have not been as promised, as expected or as desired.  And they will look to hold the department, council or government-owned enterprise accountable.  That’s an issue.

Well-handled issues present opportunities to build awareness and trust among key constituencies in the organisation’s identity, reputation, policy and legal positions.  But if poorly-handled, organisations face the very real risk of litigation costs, a drop in share price, additional regulations, and the loss of reputation and consumer acceptance.

The difference between taking advantage of opportunities and suffering additional costs lies in the timely identification and prioritisation of issues, and the development of appropriate responses.  That’s issues management in a nutshell: a disciplined, organisational process to identify issues and develop responses when there’s still time to influence the final outcome.

Our solution is called “Eye of the Issue”.

Eye of the Issue by Reputation Australia guides cross-organisational teams through a straightforward methodology to take a satellite view of their organisation, identify and prioritise issues and develop strategies to deal with each of them, be they existing issues or emerging or potential ones.

The modular nature of the program means that any or all three of the units can be taken sequentially in the same day or spread out over time.

 Eye of the Issue – Modules

1) Best Practice

  • Issues Management involves the entire organisation – not just the PR people.
  • Success leaves behind clues, so during the workshop, we look at some examples of best practice in issues management.
  • Then the focus switches to your organisation and we examine who your stakeholders are and what their interests are within your organisation.

2) Analysis & Planning

  • Identifying key issue areas and prioritising them
  • Developing a structure and roles of the Team
  • Assembling external and internal contact details
  • Composing material – statements, backgrounders, fact sheets, questions and answers

3) Messaging & Spokespeople Training

  • Message development
  • Constructing messages for maximum effect
  • Handling difficult or aggressive questioning
  • Exercises simulating media interview and/or meetings with stakeholders in a real-life issues management scenario

Participants leave the training session with:

  1. Templates to apply to their own organisation to identify, assess and prioritise issues
  2. A plan for identifying and recruiting suitable members of an issues team
  3. A clearer idea on how to fortify their organisation by minimising or eliminating impact from damaging issues
  4. Greater confidence and competence in handling face-to-face meetings with stakeholders, including the media
  5. A recording of their practice meetings
  6. All these materials PLUS a copy of ‘Mastering Media in the 21st Century’.

Follow-up & Support

Once a month for 2 months after the workshop, we check in with you for an hour to provide additional support with your Issues management plan:

  • Strategic counsel on specific issues
  • A review of your plan
  • Support and advice in engaging though social media

Our Approach to Issues Management Training

  • We research your department, your policy area and your issues before each program to make them relevant and realistic.
  • Each course is structured to meet the needs of participants. This means that you get the maximum return on the time spent in the program.
  • Our consultants are committed to providing coaching in a small group environment.

The Reputation Australia team has been supporting government organisations at local, state/territory and Federal levels in a range of communication functions, including an analysis of their issues landscape and the stakeholder groups surrounding them.  We developed Issues Management plans for government for more than 30 years.

Our people are all seasoned veterans with a well-earned reputation in the field.

We have people on the ground in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart.  However increasingly, we are delivering programs in an online virtual environment opening up our training solutions and services to a broader audience spread across Australia and around the world.

Contact us to find out more about our solutions.