6 Government Relations and Public Affairs

FIGURE 1.8 Government relations and Public affairs

In general, government relations and public affairs are the types of public relations that deal with influencing public policy issues, programs, and a government’s budgetary priorities at all levels of governance: local, regional, national, and even international. Government relations and public affairs are often referred to as synonyms, but there are differences between them. While government relations is a branch of public relations that facilitates communication between an organization and government publics, public affairs increases the scope to include relationships with legislators, various interest groups, and the media.

Figure 1.9 What is public affairs?

Government relations is often more organization-to-government interactions about regulatory issues that can potentially evolve into new legislation, regulation, or policy guidelines. Public affairs is more of the external process that deals with various activists and interest groups on matters of public policy issues.

Government relations and public affairs functions are often overlap and can be managed by the same team. This team may be involved in a variety of activities, such as lobbying and monitoring public policy changes, advising senior staff, consulting, advocacy, and informing stakeholders directly or through media. When legislation or public policy is affecting an organization, government relations specialists would first deal with this situation, and then public affairs team would join them to communicate with interest groups, publics, and the media on the issue.

FIGURE 1.10 Activist Group

On the other hand, if an activist group represents an issue, a public affairs team would be first engaged to find a solution and then interact with government to advocate for the organization’s agenda.




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