Government Relations – why do I need it?

Citadel-MAGNUS offers government relations services to its clients with advice from consultants who have worked within state bureaucracies and at the most senior levels in executive government, at state and commonwealth levels.

A traditional lobbyist service puts the consultant at the centre of client interactions and requires public disclosure within a now heavily-regulated system. We are not lobbyists. Our business model aims at empowering our clients, with strategic advice and communication services from people with intimate knowledge of how government works. Our objective is to enable you to better understand and deal effectively with the bureaucracy, ministers and ministerial offices and parliament.

This is the first in our Government Relations series of articles by Tamatha Smith, a former Federal Government ministerial advisor and media advisor and Chief of Staff to ministers in the WA Government.

 

For many companies, government engagement is only done when they want or need something to support their business. If that engagement involves a regulatory interface, it is often coloured by resentment about the bureaucratic oversight.

For those on the ‘outside’, the workings of bureaucracy, executive government, Parliament and politicians in general can seem mysterious, intimidating and sometimes nonsensical. The advice of an experienced government relations practitioner, who has lived and breathed and survived life on the ‘inside’, can be invaluable.

The reality is, most businesses with a public interface will require some level of engagement with some or all levels of government at some point. Regulation is, after all, central to government operations. A decision of a regulator can make – or break – a business. There is little point railing against those processes. There is a lot of point in understanding them and getting the communication right to give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome.

The other reality is that reputation is crucial. How you operate your business – your community engagement, your social licence – matter very much to government decision makers. If your public engagement is poor and poorly managed and your corporate reputation is not a priority, your political engagement will be compromised.

If you have or are likely to have a need to engage with government at the local, state and/or federal level, you should have a government relations strategy as part of your stakeholder engagement program. That means investing time and effort in building those relationships as a normal part of doing business, not just when you want or need something.

A strategically managed government engagement program will help build and maintain reputation and ensure you know how to access information to best support business development and navigate often complicated approvals processes.

An adviser who understands the nature of government and politics (and the two aren’t the same thing) can provide valuable strategic input for any company that has or requires government interface.

Citadel-MAGNUS can provide insight and guidance to help steer your engagement to maximise benefit to your business.