Anybody who serves as an advisor to government needs to understand that the ultimate client is the people. It’s their government. It’s their public services. It’s their money.
DSI Civic operates in partnership with ASGK Public Strategies, a nationally respected communications company specializing in public sector communications. As part of its overall services package, DSI brings skilled communications professionals to assist on each project.
DEVELOPING THE NARRATIVE
In light of the complex and often difficult choices involved in restructuring a government under financial duress, it is essential to define the problem to the public, clearly outline the steps that will be taken to solve the problem, and clearly articulate the benefits that will be accrued when the process reaches its successful conclusion.
These facts need to be woven into a cohesive narrative to gain and maintain public acceptance.
Public officials cannot navigate the restructuring process successfully without the “permission” of the public. For this reason, DSI Civic’s team includes experts in public engagement and communications. We will work with you to boil down the complex financial fact-set to information that can effectively educate the public.
We will also help you manage public engagement to ensure that communications are on-point, consistent, and mutually reinforcing.
ROLLING OUT PROGRESS TOWARDS THE GOAL
The public will want to monitor restructuring progress, to be reassured that the project is moving forward at a satisfactory pace. As restructuring progresses, DSI Civic will work with your team to present news updates to opinion leaders, community leaders and the general public.
In contrast, without a well-planned and proactive approach to communications, the weight of restructuring decisions will almost certainly turn public opinion against those who have to make the difficult but necessary choices.
Reports on progress will be presented in a way that helps advance public understanding and support for the decisions and steps that are necessarily part of the process.
RESPONDING TO CRITICS
Undoubtedly, implementation of restructuring decisions will draw protests from critics.
That’s a normal and healthy part of public decision-making. Maintaining a course of restructuring that will lead to stable municipal finances is dependent on an effective response when criticism occurs. DSI Civic’s communication advisors will work with your team to anticipate attacks and criticism–and then to formulate responsive, factual answers so the public will have the benefit of both sides of the story.
From press releases and public pronouncements to speeches and media appearances, we will help design communications that provide the necessary context for the public to remember that the purpose of the difficult choices is to ascend from financial instability to the benefits of solid financial footing.
Even the best laid plans can’t anticipate the timing of natural disasters, lawsuits, instability in the financial markets, and other developments that can throw implementation temporarily off course. We will work with you and your team to proactively inform the public about how unanticipated events are affecting the progress of restructuring.
Adjustments for crises and unintended events are major news stories that can have a big impact on public perceptions. We will help you to ensure that restructuring adjustments are communicated to the public in a way that maintains confidence in leadership and the program.
FINANCIAL AND COMMUNICATIONS EXPERTISE
Financial expertise is necessary, but not sufficient on its own for a public-sector financial-restructuring project. So, advising you on engagement with key stakeholders, and the public at large is an integral part of DSI Civic’s services—which will help build a broad constituency around the sound financial plan we help construct.