With Senate Estimates getting back underway this week, once again communications and parliamentary staff throughout Australia will find themselves under pressure to stay abreast of the various Committees and their ramifications in the outside world.
Keeping on top of proceedings has become a critical requirement in an era when a single question or response can reverberate around the country within moments of being uttered. But with so much happening simultaneously, absorbing and assessing discussions can be an all-consuming task.
The media monitoring and intelligence company Isentia provides services that help organisations quickly know what is happening in the fields and topics that matter most to them.
Isentia’s services have been honed through decades of providing up to the minute reporting and analysis on news media content. Now it is helping the broader community of communications and parliamentary professionals by extending its services to cover Senate Estimates and other significant Parliamentary Hearings.
“Senate estimates can present a headache for communications and government professionals trying to stay across agency or issue mentions over the four Senate Committee hearings happening simultaneously,” says Isentia’s Head of Government Business Kylie Dunstan.
“Now more than ever, communications and government professionals need an inside ear when it comes to the workings of government.”
An ear inside parliament
One of Isentia’s key new services is the delivery of real-time speech-to-text translations of committee meetings and hearings, and the ability to generate instant alerts when specific spokespeople, agencies or topics are mentioned.
“Media and parliamentary teams can be instantly alerted to specific topics or agency mentions and freely share video and audio files to enable teams to prepare materials, update briefs or to allow witnesses to respond in a Hearing as necessary,” Ms Dunstan said.
The powerful technology uses extensive noun libraries and regularly updated noun replacement services means Isentia can eliminate many of the ambiguities that arise in discussions around people and places – meaning no more proclamations from Ken Behrens.
Isentia also offers a daily analysis of proceedings produced by its Canberra-based team, which examines the lines of questioning and responses as well as capturing all questions on notice and tabled documents to supply the fullest possible picture of proceedings. This is also backed by a daily report on associated media coverage.
“The pace is so quick because the media cycle responds in real time to estimates,” Dunstan says.
“What we are doing is ensuring the people who are supporting the witnesses appearing at estimates or responding to media coverage of Estimate are getting that intel as quickly as possible. For communications and government professionals, this is as good as being there.”
Preparing for questioning
Isentia’s capabilities extend to equipping communications and government professionals with the information they need to properly prepare and brief speakers.
Trained media analysts scan speeches, as well as mainstream or social media mentions by senate committee members to paint a clearer picture of that person’s public statements ahead of hearings, including whether they have a strong voice for or against the issue at hand.
“There is much effort that goes into estimates preparation, performing issues mapping and developing briefs, which needs to be supported by good intelligence,” Dunstan says.
“The analysis provides a quick way of identifying everything a Senator has said in the preceding months. Our team can analyse and synthesise this coverage to highlight key issues or themes to help anticipate lines of questioning and allow witnesses to prepare their responses.”
Isentia can provide these capabilities across a number of forums, including Question Time and prominent committee meetings and hearings.
The future of Parliamentary intelligence
In addition to these new services, further developments are on the horizon for government and public professionals following Access Intelligence’s acquisition of Isentia on 1 September this year.
According to Access Intelligence’s Chief Executive Joanna Arnold, Australian clients will gain access to a wide range of technologies and systems which are already improving the flow of information from governments and public sector agencies in Europe and other parts of the world.
“Access Intelligence is a trusted voice in the public sector in the United Kingdom, offering reliable and independent services that get information into the hands of the people who need it quickly,” Arnold says. “It starts with recognising the importance of the media and ensuring that all key initiatives that are running are reaching all of the key communities within the public.
“These services are used by 85% of all public sector organisations in the UK, from the central government to boroughs and councils.”
Clients in the UK benefit from parliamentary monitoring and access to a database that is the who’s who of the UK political landscape, along with reports that analyse the complex political landscape and visualise stakeholder insight and trends across a range of channels.
Beyond just providing data, Arnold says Isentia aims to give clients in-depth insights that help them to take action from that data.
“We have enabled clients across Europe, the US, and Asia to understand how different messaging within the media is resonating with communities that matter to them,” Arnold says.
“Isentia’s goal is to become a partner in supporting government and public affairs clients in understanding every facet of the parliamentary ecosystem, by providing real time intelligence with strategic impact.
“In Australia, we want to be that fundamental partner by supporting Governments and the Canberra community in understanding every facet of the ecosystem they play in.”
To learn more about Isentia’s intelligent solutions or to request a demonstration, contact the government team at Isentia.