DUBAI — Government advisory firm Consulum has launched a refreshed capacity building practice to help governments and other public sector clients build or redesign their communications to overcome critical communications challenges.

The consultancy, which works with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and which previously worked with the Hong Kong government, aims to help government leaders and organisations integrate strategy, policy, and communications to drive economic and social development, and enhance their standing on the world stage.

Consulum partner David Bishop, head of the capacity building practice, said while most governments recognise communication as a fundamental tool, few give rigorous thought to designing the communications operation.

“This means that strategy, policy, and communications can easily fall out of alignment, meaning that policy is not delivered effectively. Errors, criticism, and failures can negatively impact strategy – and the careers of those involved.”

He told PRovoke Media: “Consulum has doubled in size over the past three years and we’re in an exciting stage of transition, from strategic communications to government advisory. We now have many more people from government backgrounds, and we’re expanding our toolkit to reflect that. We’ve been looking at this offer over the past six months and we’re offering more the management consultancy – it’s about real world solutions to the problems that governments are facing, and looking at strategy and policy alongside communications.”

Consulum has also introduced other new services for government clients as part of its evolution, around competitiveness, policy development and aviation – with advisory around air routes and tourism and economic competitiveness – as well as introducing a creative offering.

In terms of the thinking behind the refreshed capacity building practice, Bishop said: “We now have global challenges that no-one below the scale of national government can deal with. Geopolitical events are reshaping the way people see the world around them, we have big economic challenges and the impact of climate change. The business of being a government is going to be more complicated as we move forward.

“Governments need to act, and communications is critical to persuading people to do something different, and bringing stakeholders along with support and advocacy. When governments are successfully organised to deliver effective communications, they will be the most successful.”

The consultancy has designed a three-step methodology, ACE (assess, create, embed) for communications transformation. The assessment step involves agreeing a clear vision, aligning purpose and strategy and assessing barriers, while the second step is concerned with designing an effective operating model with a system of governance and accountability, capability and people, and processes and workflows.

Finally, the ‘embed’ stage of the process is focused on the human elements of a communications organisation: capability development, with tailored training and upskilling to enable the uptake of new tools such as AI monitoring or analysis. It also focuses on values, culture, and performance.

Bishop said: “A successful government communications operation does not happen by accident: it is the product of a deliberate design process that aligns an organisation’s purpose, strategy, and operating model.”

He said the firm’s approach was “informed by global best practice, the principles of effective organisational design, and a real-world understanding of what works in this unique and challenging environment.”