The stars are aligned: Why political cycles present a unique opportunity for engagement

Elin de Zoete

Political cycles aren’t something people normally think about when they’re launching a campaign, putting in a planning application or driving a project forward. In fact most people probably don’t think about them ever.

But whether we’re in year one of a parliament or year four or five matters greatly. And with different institutions working to different timetables it is a veritable minefield if there are different stakeholders involved.

So we now find ourselves in a rather refreshing place – our stars are aligned with our national institutions, as it were. Mystic Meg would be delighted. Westminster, although not without problems post-referendum, is only one year in to a five year term and our devolved institutions of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all starting afresh with new parliaments. This presents organisations and indeed public affairs agencies with a unique opportunity for engagement.

In the first two years of a parliament, more than at any other time, the door is open. New Governments, Ministers, Shadows and MPs are getting their feet under the desk, trying to absorb policy knowledge and most important, are determined to make a difference. During this period more than any other then politicians read briefings, listen to new ideas and are willing to be brave – after all the next election is just a far off cloud on the horizon.

Year three and we’re more than half way through – people are demanding outcomes, improvements and are asking the question – are they better than the last lot? From then on until polling day decisions are made with the ballot box firmly in mind.

So, now is the time to engage, to be bold and put our thoughts, campaigns and developments to decision makers. Hurry, before the clouds come in.

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