Panel discussionFree

Communication and collaboration in a crisis

The notion of a genuine partnership between government and people, where each listen to each other and feel listened to is very attractive.

At the start of the pandemic Nicola Sturgeon referred to an ‘adult conversation’ between the Scottish Government and the Scottish public about how to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. In a similar vein, many advisors have pointed to the fact that policies are always more effective in engaging the public when they are produced with the public rather than just imposed upon the public. This notion of a genuine partnership between government and people, where all feel listened to is very attractive. But how is it achieved in practice? How can government communicate in a way that is engaging, compelling and comprehensible? How can the voices of all sections of the community – and not just those who are most privileged – be fed into the policy making process? Are there limits to the openness of government? This discussion will examine the response of the Scottish Government, and what it got right – and wrong – over the last 18 months.

Stephen Reicher, Vice-President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a member of the Covid-19 advisory groups to the UK and Scottish Governments discusses these issues with a stellar panel including Jason Leitch and Anne Templeton.