ARRP analysis: Only 4 Romanian Government offices are using efficiently their PR departments

Comm & Politics, PR, Studies

From February until May 2011, Romanian Association for Public Relations (ARRP) made an analysis according to which Romanian Government isn’t using to the full capacity its  communication and public relations department. Only 4 offices out of the 15 analysed knew how to use public relations as a management function, while the rest considered that communication department had mainly a technical or bureaucratic role, closer to direct relation with people than with the communication strategy.

A Government office, like any other organization, has objectives and must generate results. That is why Ministry’s communication strategy must be established in the same time with operational strategy and communicators must work together with the decision factors in order to generate results and communicate them correctly (…)

Only if Public Relations and Communication are integrated into the decisional process and communication strategy is, afterwards, declined on all hierarchic levels, the Office can efficiently communicate to its publics, no matter we talk about citizens, business medium, mass media or other internal or external decisional powers. Any decision taken by Office’s management influences the publics it interacts with, so PR specialists must permanently communicate the decisions, their motivation and their impact in order to be transparent, as it is normal in a democracy

Sandra Pralong

ARRP President

ARRP analysis was made by Alina Dolea, ARRP vice-president. It identifies 14 categories of functions that PR specialists are fulfilling during their daily activities and applies them to the PR and communication departments within Romanian Government Offices. According to the study, PR specialists’ functions differ from one Ministry to another.

Most of the time, PR means instrumental functions: writing and editing materials, media relations, internal communication, events organizing and public information functions. On the other hand, strategical functions such as research, consultancy and training, representing the Office as press officer or crisis management are little present in Romanian Government Offices profiles for communication departments.

In 2011, Romanian Government Ministries had

– departments that were using all the instrumental and strategical functions of Public Relations, having a strategical and efficient approach of communication: Romanian Foreign Office, Romanian Defence Office, Finances Office and Home Affairs Office

– departments that were using only some instrumental and strategical functions:  Ministry of Justice, Regional Development and Tourism Ministry, Education, Research, Youth and Sport Ministry

– departments with predominant technical and instrumental role – Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Economic, Commerce and Business Ministry, Communication and Informational Society Ministry

– departmetns where public relations weren’t understand or were still considered “relations with the public”: Agriculture and Rural Development Office, Environment and Forests Ministry, Health Ministry,  Ministry of Work, Family and Social Protection, Ministry of Culture and National Patrimony

At Governmental level, PR specialist role is diminished to providing information, mainly to mass-media. The PR specialist’s potential as manager that handles and plans strategically institution’s communication, offers consultancy and training to Ministry’s leaders, works to promote transparency and to efficiently communicate is, most of the time, unknown or ignored. Moreover, there are still Ministries where the communication structures are making a confusion between PR and relations with the public (…)

Alina Dolea

ARRP wants, this way, to give an alarm signal and proposes to the new Government and Prime Minister an active involvement from ARRP and its members in clarifying the PR specialists and communication departments’ attributions within Ministries and also an active involvement towards Romanian communicators improvement

Sandra Pralong

The research was made from February to May 2011 and included all the 15 Ministries in Romanian Government structure. To collect the information, a questionnaire was distributed to all Communication and PR departments of the Government Offices, than there were analyzed the structure of departments, organizational and activity regulations as published on Ministries sites and the organizational / reorganization decisions taken by Governmental Offices.

The complete analysis was published in Public Relations Review and can be found here.