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For the past few years, British businesses have been in a state of flux. They’ve been waiting, uncertain and on edge, for the inevitable: a general election.

Yet, with the wait now over, instead of feeling a sense of relief, businesses face the complexity of a potential new government—the first in 14 years—and the abundance of change that will bring, from adjustments to public spending, new policy priorities, and potentially the biggest turnover of MPs since 1945.

After nearly two years of short-shelf-life prime ministers and ever-changing policies, many businesses have lost faith in government engagement. In fact, in a 2023 Office for National Statistics survey, 57 percent of people surveyed stated they have little or no trust in the UK government.

Additionally, for small and midsize businesses in particular, it's an ongoing struggle to dedicate time and resources to lobbying and public affairs, especially when their efforts lack clear results.

We don’t know about you, but we think it’s time to change that. Government engagement should work for you, not against you. When approached in the right way, it can help you gain a competitive edge, raise the profile of your brand, and allow you to advocate for real change that can benefit your business and your customers.

At Ardesey, we’re firm believers in simple, honest, and effective communication. As an end-to-end communications, marketing, and engagement consultancy, we understand that lobbying and government engagement can feel like hard work. After all, politics is a fast-moving and, at times, complex beast. But it doesn’t have to be—with the right support, you can cut through the noise.

You might find yourself wondering how to approach your local MP. Or, perhaps, you’re trying to figure out how to make time to engage with a new government. And when you do, how will you know whether your efforts have made an impact?

For the next few weeks, we’re going to be answering these questions and helping you prepare for the general election and its aftermath. Follow our LinkedIn series to find out how to effectively engage with government and influence policy, establish tangible goals for your public affairs campaigns, and, most importantly, not get bogged down in the complexities.

We’ll be using our tried and tested guiding principles to help you find a path forward in the lead up to election day and in the weeks following it, no matter what the results may be. We’re going to help you reframe lobbying and government engagement by focusing on the power of:

  • Collaboration. Successful engagement doesn’t happen in a vacuum. By expanding your network, you can connect with relevant people who can help you develop your plans, refine your approaches, and navigate tricky decisions;
  • Questioning. We’re not ashamed to admit when we don’t know the answer to something. In fact, we like to think that’s our superpower—questioning. Being able to ask the right questions to the right people in the right way is key to effective communication. The same applies to government engagement;
  • Being human. It’s common when engaging with government bodies and MPs to forget that you’re dealing with real people. By stripping back the facade and focusing on human-centric communication, you’ll get to where you want to be fast, and it’ll be a far more enjoyable process;
  • Substance, not spin. Politics fills our news cycle, and it can be easy to get swept up in the media frenzy. But with limited resources and time constraints, it’s important to stay laser-focused on what matters to your business and your lobbying efforts—and filter out the noise;
  • Authenticity. We regularly meet with businesses that want to engage at a local level, with MPs or the metro mayors, for example. Approaching these interactions authentically is key—when you ask for something, it needs to reflect your business and its mission;
  • A marathon mindset. To navigate change well, it’s important not to rush. We like to approach lobbying and government engagement with a marathon mindset—it requires time, effort, and strategy to get right. The finish line might be a long way off, but to reach your goals, now is the time to start making moves;
  • Engaging from the start, not the end. Too often, businesses only consider political engagement after decisions have been made and announced by government. But the best way to accrue results is by engaging early—that’s where you can make the greatest impact. We give our clients the earliest notice of emergent opportunities and risks and advise them on the best course of action.

So, there we have it - some human principles to underpin engagement with government following the election. It might feel like an uncertain time with a new set of risks, but it needn't be. We’re excited to see what the next few weeks bring, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Stay tuned.

by Rachael Clamp