Facing the challenges in public sector communication

Mrs. Maja Čakarun, Head of Public Relations of Zagrebacki holding gave us a lecture about Challenges in public sector communications

 If public relations is defined as the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics which provides an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment, the questions arises is it always the case in public sector communication?

We all agree that a clear and transparent public communication is essential for successful public organisation in order to get the message through and disseminate information to all accessible channels. Yet, media and general public are critical to the messages coming from public sector at the glance. Without careful communication planning, the best projects can end up in focus of media on how much money has been spent and was it really justified.
It could be argued that messages are often being misinterpreted and even misleading for the final beneficiary – the citizen. In those situations, a thought of placing an advertisement in mass media sounds as an inevitable and even wise option. However, this is rarely realized. After all, a sound financial management is obligatory, and highly advisable, for all public organizations.
Our task is to communicate public projects and its benefits to the community. Often this is not enough. What can we do more to fulfil a primary task – be at service to our customers? The answer is to continuously communicate more! First of all, two-way communication should be a common practice in public sector. Unfortunately, we are faced on a daily basis, that this is not always the case.
Listening more to the voice of the public and learning from citizen’s demands, can increase and improve the effectiveness and even influence the final results of an organization. At the end, it is a win-win situation. Citizens are satisfied to be heard and that their needs are perceived, and organization is satisfied to built up and strengthen relations with community as such. We are aware that reputation of organization can only be increased if needs of community are recognized by the management. It is the best thing to do to pave the way to trustworthy and credible organization. Though, there is no organization, whether public or private, which doesn’t place trust and credibility to the top of their agenda.