Tips for Explaining the Benefits of Competition
The Importance of governmentIt is imperative that competition agencies realise the significance of Government as a stakeholder and direct an appropriate portion of advocacy efforts at communicating with Government to ensure that competition authorities are able to influence policy outcomes in a way that realises the benefits of competition.
Adapting messagesNot all stakeholders are receptive to certain messages and means of communication. Competition authorities need to adapt their messages and approach to suit the specific stakeholder they are communicating with.
Selecting the most appropriate advocacy instrumentsCertain advocacy instruments are better suited to communicating with Government – these messages and instruments should be clearly defined based on the circumstances of the particular jurisdiction. For example; it may be appropriate to communicate with the public through the media and website, whereas it is more effective to communicate with Government through one-on-one meetings. Where possible competition authorities need to employ advocacy instruments that best suit the stakeholder, as well as the sector at stake.
Frequency of contactsThe frequency of communication should match the significance of government as a stakeholder – frequent contact is imperative in developing a sound relationship.
Directing advocacy effortsCompetition authorities need to educate policymakers on not only the benefits of competition, but also when it is necessary to consult competition expertise in formulating regulatory frameworks or drafting legislation. This can be achieved through educational seminars and conferences that target specific government agencies and aim to establish a dialogue between Government and competition authorities.
Central message to convey to policymakersIt is necessary to convey the importance of competition and the role that competition agencies can play in Government achieving its goals. For example; competition authorities need to be able to convey the role that they can play in helping Government to achieve its public procurement goals.
Building relationships while preserving independenceFor advocacy to be successful, it is important to be able to build strong and trusting relationships with government at all levels. It takes time to build the necessary trust between officials while preserving the independence of the agency, but good relationships and the building of trust between officials might be considered the cornerstones of successful advocacy.