Stephen Law offers us a video of the Permanent Secretary for Government Communications telling a bunch of people that communications are goods things and that he is goods at doings them. I watched a minute or two, which was enough to confirm me in my surmise that I didn’t want to watch more than that. Stephen explains why.
He has little to say, surely? Strip out the “successful behavioural outcomes”, “partnership”, “stakeholder”, “co-creation”, “we’re on a journey” jargon and rhetoric, and his message boils down to:
• The public used to be seen by Government as passive recipients of information, not as customers to engage with, which they now are, ‘cos of the internet, twitter, etc. Citizens can now provide feedback on services.
• There should be more effective working together between government departments.
• Government needs to apply psychological research if Government wants to affect behaviour, not just make ads saying: “stop smoking”, “eat less fat”, “do more exercise”, “get a job”, etc.
Now, surely, all of this is pretty trite and obvious, not cutting edge insight? Won’t everyone in the audience already know this? Most of us know it, surely. It’s platitudinous.
Yes but you need a highly-paid expert to say it so that…well so that he can earn his high pay. What else would you have him do? Teach philosophy?! Come now.
3. Much of what Tee says seems to serve primarily as a device for reminding us of how successful he has been. The talk is in large part a puff for himself and his career.
4. Is Tee himself a good communicator? I found this presentation dull, uninformative, and I suspect it’s unlikely to motivate his audience to do anything different. The one concrete bit of advice he gives them is: think of how your next communication might be tweeted.
As I say, Tee earns over £160,000 per year of taxpayer’s money (equivalent to, say, the combined salaries of three university professors). Maybe he’s very good at managing. But I’d say he’s a rather poor communicator and, on the basis of this performance, a bit light on ideas.
You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.