Requirements for an Effective Public Affairs Program

More than two dozen methods of evaluating public affairs programshave been described (Patton, 1982). Based on the literature and onthe professional experience of committee members, the committee identifiedeight requirements for a model public affairs program supportingthe CSDP (Table 1). Each requirement is discussed in the text.

Considerable research has been done on what does and does not workin the one-way communications of public relations, which businessesdepend on to reach and influence their customers. Companies, nonprofitorganizations, and government agencies routinely hold focus groupsand conduct surveys to elicit feedback from the public. Much lessis known about how to ensure meaningful public involvement in decisionmaking. Historically, governments and businesses have made decisionsand then announced them to the public. For many years, governmentalbodies relied on large public meetings for public involvement. Infact, it has been shown that large, open meetings are not the bestway to elicit thoughtful input into decision making (Adrian and Press,1977; Chess and Purcell, 1999; Fiorino, 1990; Laird, 1993). But nostep-by-step blueprint has been developed for designing a successfulpublic involvement component of a public affairs program.

TABLE 1 Requirements for a CSDP Public Affairs Program

  1. A clearly stated mission and associated vision of the role of publicaffairs and a clear, strong commitment from senior management.

  2. An organizational strategy with clear metrics for meeting missionobjectives.

  3. Allocation of sufficient funds and personnel to meet mission objectives.

  4. A planning process that encourages strategic thinking about routineactivities, as well as about unusual events.

  5. Implementation processes and tools consistent with mission objectivesand established principles for public affairs programs.

  6. A lessons-learned program to take advantage of internal experiencesand the experiences of others and ongoing, periodic reevaluationsof mission, vision, and implementation.

  7. The capability to identify (even anticipate) serious problems andthe flexibility and creativity to address them.

  8. Demonstrated impact on the risk management process and program performance.



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A REVIEW OF THE ARMY'S PUBLIC AFFAIRS EFFORTS IN SUPPORT OF THE CHEMICAL STOCKPILE DISPOSALPROGRAM Requirements for an Effective Public Affairs Program More than two dozen methods of evaluating public affairs programshave been described (Patton, 1982). Based on the literature and onthe professional experience of committee members, the committee identifiedeight requirements for a model public affairs program supportingthe CSDP (Table 1). Each requirement is discussed in the text. Considerable research has been done on what does and does not workin the one-way communications of public relations, which businessesdepend on to reach and influence their customers. Companies, nonprofitorganizations, and government agencies routinely hold focus groupsand conduct surveys to elicit feedback from the public. Much lessis known about how to ensure meaningful public involvement in decisionmaking. Historically, governments and businesses have made decisionsand then announced them to the public. For many years, governmentalbodies relied on large public meetings for public involvement. Infact, it has been shown that large, open meetings are not the bestway to elicit thoughtful input into decision making (Adrian and Press,1977; Chess and Purcell, 1999; Fiorino, 1990; Laird, 1993). But nostep-by-step blueprint has been developed for designing a successfulpublic involvement component of a public affairs program. TABLE 1 Requirements for a CSDP Public Affairs Program A clearly stated mission and associated vision of the role of publicaffairs and a clear, strong commitment from senior management. An organizational strategy with clear metrics for meeting missionobjectives. Allocation of sufficient funds and personnel to meet mission objectives. A planning process that encourages strategic thinking about routineactivities, as well as about unusual events. Implementation processes and tools consistent with mission objectivesand established principles for public affairs programs. A lessons-learned program to take advantage of internal experiencesand the experiences of others and ongoing, periodic reevaluationsof mission, vision, and implementation. The capability to identify (even anticipate) serious problems andthe flexibility and creativity to address them. Demonstrated impact on the risk management process and program performance.