Will AI revolutionise government affairs?

In today’s fast-paced world, the landscape of government and public affairs might be about to undergo a profound transformation.

Ellwood Atfield’s clients are diverse, from multinational corporates to leading charities. Across the board, they will be impacted by strides made in artificial intelligence (AI).

The profession, primarily reliant on policy expertise, an intrinsic understanding of Parliamentary and Whitehall procedure, and years of experience honing the art of influencing, is embracing cutting-edge technologies to enhance efficiency, inform decision-making, and address complex challenges more efficiently.

There are several areas where AI may improve the ability of government affairs practitioners to respond rapidly to a complex and fast-moving legislative landscape, as well as supporting routine monitoring functions.

One of the most significant impacts of AI on government affairs is its ability to quickly process and analyse vast amounts of data. Government affairs and policy professionals often deal with a myriad of information sources, including Hansard or parliamentary records, regulatory sources, Government data releases, news media articles and releases, public opinion data, data publications from thinktanks and other bodies like the ONS. AI-powered algorithms can significantly streamline data collection and analysis, providing professionals with timely and relevant insights. This will make a big impact on Bill analysis and comparison, tracking stages of legislation and briefing on developments.

AI driven analytics tools can also do some of the heavy lift in developing policy positions and providing collateral for campaigning by trawling colossal datasets, from numerous sources, to identify emerging trends, and assess the potential impact of policy changes more accurately.

Predictive analytics is another area where AI is could make a significant impact on government affairs professionals. By leveraging historical data and machine learning algorithms, government affairs and policy practitioners could predict the potential impact of proposed policies or regulatory changes. This would allow users to proactively adapt their strategies and influence the policymaking process effectively (for instance around Budget, CSR, and manifestos) shifting lobbying and campaigning activity onto more of a proactive footing vis-à-vis policy and legislative developments.

AI modelling can simulate various scenarios, helping professionals anticipate the consequences of different policy outcomes. This foresight could enable practitioners to develop more comprehensive advocacy strategies although use is not currently widespread and wholesale adoption not an imminent prospect.

For organisations navigating complex regulatory landscapes, AI can be leveraged to monitor changes in policy, track compliance requirements, and assess the potential legal and financial risks associated with specific policies. These AI systems can provide real-time alerts and recommendations, allowing government affairs professionals to stay ahead of regulatory changes and take proactive measures to mitigate risks. Many of Ellwood Atfield’s clients are membership organisations and trade associations. For government, public and regulatory affairs professionals operating within membership bodies, these AI tools may streamline the process of analysing and generating briefing collateral to advise and support their members, providing more rapid support and enabling those membership bodies add more value in the trade association-member company dynamic.

As AI continues to advance, its potential impact on government affairs and policy practitioners becomes increasingly evident.

So, what does all this mean for government affairs and policy practitioners? I met with a contact, a Head of Government Affairs in the pharmaceutical industry last week, who’s team is using an AI platform, who described AI as a “digital assistant”, supporting more routine elements of workstreams such as monitoring and basic written content. This is how to understand it within the context of corporate affairs teams. The integration of AI in government affairs is not a replacement for human expertise, but a powerful complement.

Professionals in this field can harness the capabilities of AI to navigate the complex world of policy and regulation more efficiently, ultimately leading to better-informed decisions and more effective advocacy efforts. The industry has overseen digital and technological transformations before, and will continue to adapt to innovations in AI, but could this be the most significant?

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