It’s no secret that storytelling plays a huge role in public perception — after all, why else would big brands spend billions on public relations and content marketing campaigns?

For governments, winning the support of their constituents is a much harder task. Public trust in government institutions is nearing historic lows; dropping to 35% in the UK, and to as little as 16% in the USA. Fixing this problem doesn’t have an easy solution, but a good first step is to encourage transparency and participation in democratic decision-making.

People want to see justifications for the policies that affect their daily lives. They want the reassurance that their taxes are being spent wisely, and that those in charge are held accountable when things don’t go according to plan. Above all, they want to feel that their voices are heard, and that decisions aren’t just made on a whim..

This is why we created Pages for Citizen Space. In essence, it’s a simple and effective landing page that unlocks the power of visual storytelling for governments. Here, you can collect all of the relevant material on a local issue or policy and present it in one convenient place — providing clarity for local residents, media, and stakeholders. With a focus on user-centric design, Pages makes local democracy more accessible and drives engagement throughout the consultation life cycle.

Let’s imagine that a council is about to launch a new development, such as the restoration of a town hall. With the old ways of communication, residents might have first heard about it in a local newspaper column or a leaflet posted through the door. Whilst it’s better than nothing, there are two problems with this approach to public consultation:

  1. ‘Headline’ content doesn’t always paint the most comprehensive picture of a project. Everyone has different opinions on how public policy should be conducted, and it’s important for people to have easy access to all supporting resources: community impact assessments, sustainability reports, accessibility documents, FAQs, and more.
  2. Secondly, traditional formats fall short of effective engagement because they lack interactive features. This can create a sense of disconnect between people and decision-making, as if it’s something they’re observing in a bubble that exists outside of their own lives. Contrast this to digital pages, which can include multimedia, interactive features, link out to feedback channels, and provide rolling updates on project progress.

So, what constitutes ‘good storytelling’ in a public policy environment?

Let’s start with the basics — information must be easy to find, well-structured, and written in clear language. Citizen Space is built to WCAG 2.1 web accessibility standards, meaning text automatically resizes to fit all devices and is compatible with assistive tech like screen readers or magnifiers. Pages are built to be easily navigable for anyone regardless of their ability with computers. And, in the physical locations of projects, you can place QR codes on posters to provide a seamless digital link for residents.

From here, your project pages should have a beginning, a middle, and an end — just like any good story should. East Sussex Council’s ‘People Bank’ page is a great example of this. Let’s take a quick look at their page’s structure.

Firstly, the reader is introduced to what the People Bank project is, with a clear mission statement from the team.

As you scroll down, you’re presented with a timeline of recent events and case studies. You only need a quick glance to get the gist of how People Bank is improving social care in East Sussex, and you can click on the links for more detailed reports and survey results. At the end of the page, it concludes with a call to action — you, the reader, can volunteer and also be a part of this success story. Everything is organised nicely and the story is told well.

Presenting complex information in a way citizens can engage with is a straightforward choice for government institutions in the digital era. The power of storytelling is unquestionable; you just need the right tools to unlock its full potential and reach.

With Citizen Space Pages, you can elevate public engagement to the next level — informing local residents about matters that affect them, driving traffic to ongoing consultation events, and encouraging civic participation. Plus, it makes it easier for civil servants and stakeholders to keep track of progress and consolidate their workflows on a centralised project hub.

Getting started couldn’t be easier. You can pick from one of three pre-built Pages templates and work with your Customer Success Manager and expert team of Content Designers to apply your own branding and imagery, with no coding knowledge required. Or, reach out to our team to discuss professional services if you’d like a unique landing page design for your website. 

A standard Citizen Space subscription lets you create one page. To add the capability to create multiple pages, please contact us and we’ll walk you through how to upgrade your package.