Trumps Tweets are not the Standard for Government or Public Sector Digital Communications

Government or Public Sector Digital Communications


Accredited online diploma launched to summit digital skills gap and plummeting trust in public sector

Government or Public Sector Digital CommunicationsThe Trump Tweet is a feature of the daily news cycle but it’s not the standard government or public sector digital communications according to the author of a new diploma which aims to bridge the digital skills gap for in-house communications professionals.

Joanne Sweeney-Burke of Digital Training Institute says public sector bodies are trying to catch up with the private sector in its sophistication and use of digital communications tactics and tools. The under-investment in people throughout the recession has left in-house public sector marketing professionals playing catch-up.

The Europe-wide digital skills gap is 22% and this presents many challenges in terms of efficiencies, maintaining public confidence and the delivery of public services. There are countless examples of major government or public body furores where a breakdown in communications was blamed.

“Trust in public sector bodies, according to the OECD is in decline at 43%. Trust is important for the success of a wide range of public policies that depend on behavioural responses from citizens. Digital communications can support governments and all forms of public sector agencies in their quest for public trust,” says Joanne.

New skills required for Digital Age

The reliance on external providers for digital communications exacerbates the skills and knowledge gap says Joanne, who hosted Ireland’s first public sector digital marketing summit in June with 130 delegates attending, and plans afoot to host it in Brussels next February before it returns to Dublin in June 2019.

“Scaling digital knowledge internally will empower staff who are faced with a suite of new demands from a communications perspective. Government and public sector employees must be able to respond to, and even anticipate breaking news online, counteract fake news, track public sentiment on issues of public importance, analyse owned and big data as well as deliver on trust marketing.

“The communications landscape has changed and the public sector need to catch up because citizens are more demanding and expect customer care via social media and the delivery of a range of public services on their smartphone.

“There are a suite of new digital skills that public sector marketers must rely on, on a daily basis including community management, social listening, data analyses and visual storytelling to name a few.

Unique programme for public sector communicators

The first wave of public sector marketing professionals begin the new accredited Diploma in Digital Communications for Public Sector next week (September 3rd).

The 12-month accredited online diploma empowers communications professionals to lead out on digital transformation in their employing organisations. The modules are designed to have an immediate impact in the participating public sector or government agency.

Joanne says public interest messaging and citizen engagement is more challenging in the Digital Age.

“Share of voice online around any major political, public affairs or public information campaign is dominated by members of the public who can really shape policy and media narrative because of their ability to share and engage in online conversations.”

Don’t fight transformation

Joanne says the business of communications has been disrupted like every other sector.

“The world we now live in, is changing faster than we can say digital transformation. Legislation cannot keep up with the pace of the fourth industrial revolution, nor can industry, academia or politics. Every single sector you can think of is being disrupted.

“This lighting speed of technological change is also impacting skills and knowledge and has created a massive vacuum. You have no choice but to embrace it and find digital transformation champions in your organisation.”

So what can be done to tame the tide of change, if you want to ride the digital waves? According to Joanne it’s possible to leap-frog where you need to be in one year.

“I believe we must up skill, transition and embrace change with both hands, until the digital skills gap is a thing of the past. I designed this programme over an 18-month period with a number of key deliverables top of mind.

“Firstly, I wanted it to be relevant to the daily work of public sector marketing professionals. It was also important to provide strategic approaches and frameworks. I just didn’t want to provide the tactical training like how to run a Facebook Ads campaign. While all of that is included, the transformation piece requires the development of their critical thinking.”

The online Diploma is accredited in 22 countries and learners can join at any time to begin their 12-month digital transformation knowledge and skills journey. Find out more at

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