About That IG Report

This is a good moment to talk about what a customer-centric government report should look like.

In 2010 then-President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act (not sure if this is the exact title) into law. It mandated federal agencies do exactly what that sounds like.

Before that the government issued best practice guidelines for the management of agencies which included quality communication for accountability.

The problem is that bureaucrats are punished for coloring outside the lines, and Presidents want to say what they want to say, and so nobody has really pushed hard for optimal communication with citizens.

Although there has been significant forward movement on the customer service front - both President Trump and President Obama have championed this.

As a federal communicator (all opinions my own) I helped write a white paper for the Federal Communicators Network arguing for standards in gov comm similar to what the UK has.

A good first start would be to assess which topics people want to know more about. Prioritize and deliver.

A good first start would be to assess which topics people want to know more about. Prioritize and deliver.

A 538 page IG report on a topic of significant public interests needs to be broken down into sections and subsections. In printable searchable HTML. With tags. And tables and charts and pull quotes.

A report like this needs to be offered with not just an executive summary but also a list of noteworthy stories for coverage and links to other information that can be used as a reference. Noteworthy means that the FBI IG thinks they will inform and educate.

Photos should be offered along with any report. Where are the images of the mountains of evidence, the agents at work, the debates and discussions? This is how government works - it is an optimal opportunity to educate people.

Why not have a “myth vs. fact” pullout? How about an FAQ?

Why not have a section of the website where the public can ask and answer questions? And official answers are marked with a star?

Please don’t tell me that the government can’t afford to communicate well about a subject they’ve spent so much time and money on.

Consider the unbelievable and unacceptable cost of poor government communication — anger, fear, confusion, distortion, manipulation, and hatred.

If you don’t want people relying on #QAnon, then do a better job communicating.

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