The Information Services Department (ISD) has appealed to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to support their public relations officers (PROs) with the requisite resources to enable them to discharge their communication functions effectively.
It said providing the needed finances and logistics to the PROs would empower them to execute their communication, media and stakeholder work plans to improve the image of the government and the MDAs.
“PROs are not only at the MDAs to interpret and communicate the programmes and policies of the government to the public, but they are also to enhance the image of their organisations, a reason our ministers of state and chief directors should cooperate fully with them,” it said.
The Deputy Director in charge of the Public Relations Coordinating Division (PRCD) of the ISD, Mrs Ethel Codjoe Amissah, made the appeal at the 2020 ISD public relations managers end-of-the-year review meeting in Accra last Monday.
It was held on the theme: “Repositioning the PR manager for the jobs in the new normal: Post COVID-19 and political transition”.
The meeting brought together PROs of the various MDAs to take stock of the activities of their departments in 2020, and strategise on how best they could work harmoniously with the government and political communicators to uplift the image of the government and the MDAs in 2021.
“When a PRO brings his or her communications work plans every year and they are approved, the needed finances should be allocated so that they can execute their plans“, Mrs Amissah said.
“When a PRO does not get the needed resources to work, he or she is more or less redundant because they cannot do what they are expected to do, and you do not see the worth of that PRO,“ she added.
Mrs Amissah explained that the long-term effect was that the government policies and programmes would not be well communicated and interpreted to the public, and the government thus suffered for that.
Mrs Amissah told PROs to submit reports on the communication plans that they would be implementing each year for their respective ministries for approval.
The submission of such reports, she said, would also help to determine whether they were able to execute such plans at the end of the year or not.
She indicated that since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country this year, most PROs could not execute much of their work plans as activities in most MDA stalled.
“So, there is a backlog of work you as PROs need to do next year, and we are expecting that you will work harder and better in 2021 than this year,” she said to the PROs.
Working in harmony
The deputy director added that within the year, most PROs of the ISD had had difficult working relations with the government and political communicators, as well as personal communication assistants to ministers who seemed to consider that they could do the work of public relations officers, leading to conflict of functions.
“In the past we thought we could get these people to work with PROs, but in most MDAs, we do not have that luxury, thus the need for us to strategise on how best to work hand in hand with these communicators for the next four years,” she said.