Considering the role that reputation has to play in every facet of public life in modern Britain, Igniyte explores the key role of reputation management in the public sector.
What Lengths Do the Government Have to Go To?
Increasingly, reputation management is vital across every industry and every sector, yet when it comes to the public sector, it is even more prevalent.
The rise of online technology is placing a new strain on Whitehall to protect the reputations of the individuals and institutions that comprise the public sector. Unlike a private company, which strives to maintain its online reputation in order to safeguard its profit margins, the government has a far heavier burden.
As online technology becomes more critical to the everyday running of the public sector, the government is having to go to greater lengths to protect its reputation online.
Code of Behaviour
Responsible for maintaining the health of citizens throughout the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is a prime example. The NHS as an organisation, and its day-to-day responsibilities are potentially at risk if the organisation is dealing with patients’ reservations due to something they have read online.
As such, the government has gone to the lengths of requiring professionals working in the NHS to adhere to a Code of Behaviour. On the list of unacceptable behaviours for staff, the NHS has included provisions such as ‘befriending patients or service users on media sites e.g. Facebook, or making comments relating to individuals who work for NHS Professionals or patients.’
Breaching provisions such as this will be viewed as gross misconduct by the NHS, resulting in dismissal. The fact that the punishment for such an act is so severe, is not only a deterrent, but indicates the lengths the government will to go to in order to protect the reputation of the public sector online.
The Official Secrets Act
Another example of the efforts the government is willing to go to is the Ministry of Defence (MOD). As the part of the public sector responsible for national security, if an MOD employee leaks private information online, their actions have the potential to put citizens throughout the UK at risk.
To combat such an eventuality, the MOD requires all of their employees to sign the Official Secrets Act. The act is designed to protect official information, and declares the leaking of that information in any capacity – including online – as a disciplinary offence. Breaching the Act can even result in legal action being taken against the employee in question.
Reputation Management Plays a Vital Role in the Public Sector
Reputation Management has a vital role to play when it comes to the public sector. The government are willing to go as far as initiating disciplinary action, dismissal and even criminal proceedings against an employee who damages the reputation of the public sector online. Without its reputation, the sector would be unable to fulfil the functions it is designed to carry out to ensure the safety, health and security of citizens throughout the UK.