How you can ensure your new mandate engagement is informed, evidence-based and targeted

20 April 2022 - by Matthew Jackson

With just over two weeks to go until election day, attention is already moving to the new mandate and the issues and decisions facing incoming MLAs, Ministers and Committees.

Despite sitting for just over two years of the 2017-22 mandate, against a backdrop of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, MLAs passed a total of 46 Bills, while Ministers launched key strategies, from Green Growth to Cancer and Energy.

This not only reflects the commitment of our elected representatives to legislative change; it also demonstrates the impact of effective engagement from organisations across a range of policy areas.

With MLAs returning after polling day with new priorities informed by election manifestos,  what they think of your organisation and issues matters.

How can you compete for political airtime that will be driven by legislative and NDNA commitments outstanding from the last mandate? Will you and your issues resonate beyond the pages of a policy document and make an impact over the next five years?

Now is the time to ensure that your new mandate engagement is informed, evidence-based and targeted. This is also the time to integrate your public affairs into your broader organisational strategy development, rightly placing your influencing priorities at the heart of your corporate strategy.

From PfG negotiations to Assembly Committees’ Forward Work Programmes, our MLA Research Panel will help you to:

  •        Understand what the new Assembly makeup means for your issues
  •        Assess political perception of emerging ideas, policies and campaigns
  •        Assess political appetite for your policy recommendations
  •        Measure your impact on the thinking and priorities of MLAs
  •        Benchmark your reputation as a thought leader, trusted partner or tenacious campaigner

How does it work?

The research is conducted bi-annually in partnership with Savanta ComRes, a specialist London-based polling and research organisation. The next poll will take place in June 2022.

Once you have secured your questions, the fieldwork is completed with a panel of MLAs completing online surveys.

Anonymity is important as our experience shows that anonymous self-completion surveys encourage candid responses, that means we won’t disclose which organisations are submitting or which MLAs are answering questions.

Our report reviews the quantitative and qualitative data. This is segmented by  community designation, political party, region, date of birth, gender and length of service in the Assembly. Our analysis and any recommendations are informed by our understanding of:

  •       your organisational priorities
  •       political party priorities
  •       broader public policy trends

We can also present the findings to your wider team, Board or Senior Management, as well as make recommendations in support of your public affairs strategy.

Since launching the Panel in 2007, regulatory and non-departmental public bodies as well as representative organisations, businesses, charities and campaigning groups have all benefited from investing in informed, evidence-based and targeted political engagement.

Strategically, organisations have taken the opportunity to explore post Brexit legislative options and scenarios.

Panel insights and evidence have enabled organisations secure important legislative change. From the ground-breaking, including the creation of the office of the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, to shaping the 2016-21 draft Programme for Government.

Specifically, since the Assembly and Executive returned in 2020, our insights have helped organisations shape key bills and strategies including the Organ and Tissue Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill, Climate Change Bill, Cancer Strategy and Energy Strategy.

To speak with one of our consultants or to find out how the Panel can support your public affairs strategy, contact