by GK Strategy 19th December, 2017

Wondering how to communicate with the Scottish Government? Look at their communications plan

Last week, the Scottish Government published its Communications Plan for 2017/18, outlining its key priorities for communicating with stakeholders and with the public in Scotland.

The four priorities are:

  1. Future of opportunity – focused on infrastructure, sustainability and promoting economic growth;
  2. Services fit for the future – improving outcomes in education and early years, tackling public health challenges and promoting policing and community safety;
  3. Building a fairer Scotland – tackling poverty, promoting human rights and building affordable homes;
  4. A confident, outward-looking nation – promoting the new Culture Strategy and positioning Scotland in the context of Brexit.

Why should businesses take notice of this document?

Firstly, because the language used in these communications priorities will be reflected in the media, engagement with stakeholders and public discourse throughout the year. If seeking to engage positively with the Scottish Government in 2018, businesses should understand the Government’s priorities and the way in which it positions them, and should use language that chimes with these themes and expands on them.

For instance, energy and transport infrastructure is a key theme of this communications plan, but the focus is particularly on “cleaner, greener and healthier” transport and on low-carbon energy. This indicates that businesses looking to engage with the Scottish Government next year on infrastructure issues should focus on building strong arguments around sustainability and the environment, rather than focusing on economic or consumer arguments.

Secondly, this communications plan highlights a number of areas where there are challenges and opportunities for businesses coming down the line from the Scottish Government.

Food and drink manufacturers, in particular, should take note of the Government’s plans to place restrictions on high-fat, salt and sugar products and of its intention to take further action on alcohol abuse following the Supreme Court decision on minimum pricing, as their inclusion in this document suggests that there will continue to be a high-profile public element to this activity next year.

Energy companies will already be aware of the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty, but with the Warm Homes Bill promised in this Parliament and its statutory fuel poverty target, this will again be high on the agenda in 2018. Businesses and organisations that offer to work constructively to find solutions for the issues that the Government has highlighted in this communications plan should see a reputational benefit in doing so.

Following on from the further devolution of powers to Scotland in the Scotland Act 2016, it is more important than ever that businesses and organisations with operations in Scotland seek to engage positively with Holyrood, as well as Westminster and Whitehall.

In short, the communications plan published last week is a roadmap on key themes for policy and communications next year.

Interested organisations should take note.

GK can help your business successfully engage with policymakers in Scotland. To find out more, contact christine@gkstrategy.com

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