Abstract: The study examined the Role of Public Relations in Local Government Administration with a case study of Isin Local Government, Kwara State. Therefore, public relations has remained a powerful tool in building and maintaining good image in local government. The study was anchored on Grunig’s Four Models of Public Relations. A survey research method was used coupled with questionnaire as a data collection instrument that was administered to respondents. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage method). Findings showed that Isin local government administrators re.cognized the importance of the Public Relations department while, the major impact of public relations in Isin local government is that it enhanced mutual understanding, it bridged the communication gap and it enlightened the public on government programmes and policies. The research recommended that it is important for public relations officers to be a member of the management as earlier stated in the course of this research work, because public relations serve in an advisory capacity to the management and you can only advise people on what you know or take part in, so it is very important for a manager to be part of the decision making body (management).
1.1 Background to the Study
Many authorities have contributed immensely to the success of defining public relations. According to Arowosegbe (2005) cited in Jerkins (1985), defines public relations as the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. According to International Public Relations Institute (IPRI) has in this regard offered this all embracing definition of public relations as a management function of a continuing and planned character through which public and private organizations and institutions seek to win and retain the understanding, sympathy and support of those with whom they are or may be concerned by evaluating public opinion about themselves in order to correlate as far as possible their policies and procedure to achieves by plan and wide spread information more productive cooperatives and more efficient fulfillment of their common interest.
The concept of public relations is one of the fundamental principles in industrial relations, marketing and image building of corporate organizations, institutions of learning, government and individual interest.
Cutup, et al. (1985:4) posits that public relations is “the management function that identifies, establishes, and maintain mutually beneficial relationship between organization and the various public on whom its success or failure depends.
Bernays who is considered the founding father of modern public relations along with Ivy Lee in the early 1990s defines public relations as a “management function which tabulate public attitude , defines the policies, procedures and interest of an organization… followed by executing a programme of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.
According to Roger Hayward as quoted by Adegoke (2001) public relations is the propagation of the personality of the organization. This states the importance of communication between the organization and its publics.
Roger Hayward’s definition has something to do with the British Institute of Public Relations definition because both stated the duty of public relations officers in promoting, projecting and representing the organization and at the same time relating with the public’s of the organization both the internal and external public.
Public relations project the management personality of which the public relations department represents, through their activities with the use of their perspective tools (i.e. Print and electronic media).
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations as: “a distinctive management function which helps to establish and main mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and operation between an organization and its public”
The international public relations association of Mexico in North America defines public relations as:
“the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organisations’ leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which serve both the organisation’s public interest.”
It is obvious that the work of Public relations is needed in almost in every society, organisation, both the profit and non-profit organisation, to include higher institution of learning (universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and other colleges). In fact, individual in the society also need the service of public relations especially those individuals that are profession or expert such as musician, athletes, politician e.t.c .
To this end, the research examined the use of public relation practice in government institution using a case study of Isin Local Government, Kwara State. In this research PR efforts and usefulness shall be revealed especially as it helps in building and enhancing communication in the grass-root.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This research observed that in so many organizations, management neither recognizes nor appreciate public relations efforts especially in local government administrations i.e the management, individuals, or government institutions do not realize the potential of public relations activities in building and enhancing a good image and responsive communication for the success of the institution.
It has also been observed that the management’s attitude is lukewarm and non-challant towards public relations department or unit and it activities, as a result, they don’t want to spend money on its activities such as organizing seminars, workshops, symposium e. t. c, unlike marketing activities.
Equally, little of a few studies have been carried out on the role of public relations in local government administration unlike the role of public relations in manufacturing organizations and where available, they were either more than a decade which is obsolete (Tom, 1988); (Onojegwo, 2013). Again some of the work was not conducted in Nigeria which makes it a problem to replicate it findings in Nigeria.
It is against this backdrop that the study investigated the impact of public relations in enhancing the use of public relations practice in government institutions with a particular focus on Isin Local Government, Kwara State.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
i. To study the impact of public relations in Isin local government Ibadan.
ii. To examine if public relations has helped Isin Local government in building and maintaining
a mutual understanding between the council top management and its various publics.
1.5 Research Questions
i. What are the impacts of public relations in Isin local government Ibadan?
ii. How has public relations helped Isin Local government in building and maintaining a mutual
understanding between the council top management and its various publics?
1 .5 Scope of the Study
With the selection of Isin local government as a case study, this project work has been limited because visiting all local government cannot be possible.
However, the demography of the staff and management of Isin local government examined such as: age, sex, working experience, academic qualification considered before the distribution of questionnaires.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The research will benefit a lot of individuals, institution, local government and other organisation. Few among the beneficiaries include undergraduates and graduates of mass communication and public relations including the public relations practitioners.
Local Government Community: One of the beneficiaries of this work is local government community which include all the departments to know the role of PR and how to relate with PR for effective performance
Public Relations Students: Students, graduates and practitioner of public relations will also benefits from this work.
Academic World: The work will form part of the academic world if completed that other academician and students can use as a reference point.
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
Impact: This is synonymous to functions or contributions of public relations to local government easy administration.
Public Relations: This is a department or unit that is saddled with the responsibility of planning and sustaining mutual to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.
Publics: There are the set of individuals ranging from local government staff, workers, hosting community(ies) associated with Isin local government.
Mutual Understanding: This is a terms in public relations, is simply all about good rapport that brings symbiotic relationship between an organization and its various publics.
Local government: This is third ties of government such as Isin local government.