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Government advice needs to be clearer – Sugden

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EAST Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has pushed the Northern Ireland Executive to review and improve how it communicates with the public after what she called the “limited and confusing” messaging around coronavirus guidance.

Speaking in Stormont, Ms Sugden challenged First Minister Arlene Foster to review the Executive’s communication strategy – something the First Minister accepted should be done.

Ms Sugden appreciated the unprecedented nature of the crisis, but said it provided an opportunity to improve communications more generally within the Executive.

“Executive communications have been limited in that they have failed to understand the needs of the audience and what they can comprehend,” the MLA said.

“Each new announcement has brought so much confusion and anxiety and, in some cases, disregard for the restrictions being announced. We can remove that by improving our communications.”

People should be trusted to understand government guidance, Ms Sugden said. This was, however, only possible if it was communicated clearly and effectively.

Mrs Foster said her office would “look at an overall review of the issue” as well as its communications strategy.

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