Analysing the Role of Public Relations in Service Delivery by Local Governments: The Case of Gulu District Local Government in Northern Uganda

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Uganda Christian University
The study analyzed the role of public relations in the delivery of public services under the Gulu district local government. The Excellence theory of Grunig and Hunt (1984) and Roger’s Diffusion theory of innovation (1962) informed the analytical framework of this study. In the case of Gulu district local government, the study used both qualitative and quantitative approaches where 243 respondents were sampled using purposive and convenience sampling to select the participants. The study found out that Gulu district local government had access to eleven Frequency Modulation Radio stations that they normally use to communicate public goods and services to the community in Gulu district. The study also found that there was an increase in hand washing practice because of involving the community through sensitization using different communication platforms. The study concluded that most programs under study never had a communication feedback strategy built in them to support the beneficiaries in the community to give their feedback on a particular program, therefore, the study recommended that Gulu district local government should develop a feedback communication strategy for all public goods and services as embedded under the water and road sector related activities which provides feedback to the district and community on areas which needs improvement especially through the water source committees and Community-Based Labour Intensive Model of Road maintenance that keeps communication alive even after a program or project is achieved. The implication of this study in public relations is that when PR in local government or any entity has deliberate feedback mechanisms embedded in all programming, the input of the community, beneficiaries on the services or goods provided to them as end users could support service delivery if the service providers (local government) give an action respond on the feedback of the end users (community). The study agreed that through this approach, public relations can improve service delivery in any setting in local government.