How to realise a proactive, systematic approach to public affairs and lobbying?
Decisions by politicians and officials can have an impact on a company’s operations, the reputation of its director or the ambitions of an association. That’s why it’s important for you to influence those decisions. To do so, you need to follow a proactive, systematic approach to public affairs and lobbying, focused on the interests of your company, association, NGO or government agency. Nowadays the different tiers of government are more interconnected than ever before. So it’s also important to know whether you should target your government relations efforts on The Hague, Brussels, or a particular municipality or province, or even several levels at the same time.
Public affairs and lobbying are part of your overall operations
Investing in public affairs, lobbying and government relations support has become a permanent feature of an organisation’s overall operations in the Netherlands. Officials, companies and civilians all want to manage their relations with politicians and stakeholders.
When lobbying for political interests, the laws of economics apply: an organisation will always aim to secure a stronger position than its competitors. This means that lobbyists also compete with one another for influence. Not only companies, but also civil-society organisations invest in government relations in The Hague. Over the past decade there has been a strong and visible trend towards government agencies in the Netherlands employing their own lobbyists. For instance, Dutch municipalities and provinces are becoming better equipped at systematically and effectively influencing other government bodies.
Bringing policymakers and companies closer together
Lobbying and public affairs in the Netherlands has become increasingly professionalised in recent years. If you want to make policymakers sit up and take notice, it’s not enough to have a distinctive message.
You need to manage stakeholder relations according to a number of general principles: say what you’re doing, share, and be transparent and accountable. By investing specifically in political accountability, your organisation will be able to achieve this. These efforts bring policymakers and companies closer together, which encourages a better understanding of each others’ interests, improves trust and increases support for policy.