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Communications Toolkit

 Good communication underpins our democratic system of government. It develops partnerships, informs policy development and improves service delivery, anticipates issues and manages expectations and enhances community participation in government.

The community expects that any government will keep it informed about programs, services and matters which may affect its benefits, rights and obligations.

The community also expects government to listen: to find out its views, priorities, needs and expectations. It wants communication that is understandable and that takes into account the needs of a diverse society.

Internal Communications

Good internal communication (within the organisation) underpins good external communications with the community and stakeholders.

It leads to increased morale and staff engagement and has a knock-on effect on the performance of employees and, in turn, on the reputation of the organisation.

Assistance for Council Employees

The following links provide access to resources and tools to assist local government employees who are involved in planning, developing, implementing and evaluating communications activities and campaigns.

They come from within Australia and from other countries. Not one alone provides the definitive answer for your council. They are examples of leading practice to assist you to develop the most appropriate communications policy and procedures for your council.

To go directly to a section on this page, click on the topic headings below. Otherwise scroll down the page to find what you are looking for.
Toolkits
Useful articles and publications
Dealing with the media
Diversity
Plain English
Online communications
Sponsorship
Copyright
Personal Information Protection Act
Other Resources

 Toolkits

Tasmanian Government Communications Style Guide and Tool Kit
A comprehensive toolkit which covers everything from consultation principles, corporate image, issues and crisis communication, to developing a creative brief. Specifically designed for the Tasmanian Government, this is nonetheless a source of quality examples that could be adapted to suit a local council situation.

Our Community
A diverse toolkit designed to provide practical resources to build greater public awareness and support for any message. Tools to help you to develop a strong, consistent and compelling message and to successfully communicate that message and build media support and coverage. Designed for the not-for-profit sector, but equally helpful for local government.

Connecting with Communities (IDeA) UK
IDeA research has found a strong link between residents' satisfaction with their council and how well the council keeps them informed. The information and resources in the 'Connecting with Communities' section of the IDeA website are designed to help local authorities to improve their communication with residents and other key stakeholders.

Local Government Consultation and Engagement (Vic)
Local governments can strengthen their confidence, capacities and connections through effectively engaging their communities. This website, produced by the Victorian Local Governance Association, provides online tools to achieve effective community consultation.

Maroochy Shire Public Participation Toolbox (Qld)
The Maroochy public participation policy and toolbox were developed to facilitate improved decision-making and improved understanding between the council and the community. This site offers a step-by-step guide for developing a public participation process and associated tools.

ADBasics (USA)
Useful insight into what makes advertising successful and what you can do to ensure any advertising you do will get the results you want. Includes a toolkit which covers how to write a creative brief, how to write an advertising strategy and understanding the art and science of persuasion.

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 Useful Articles and Publications

The Business Case for Communications (IDeA) UK
A concise review of why investing in good communications makes sense. Written for chief executives and managers.

Communication: The Key to Retaining Your Workforce (ceoforum.com.au)
Good communication is a cornerstone to harnessing and improving commitment and motivating employees. But not all communication is equal.

Tips for Better Communication (Andrew Reimer)
Communication is a skilled that can be learned.

Communications: As Vital as Breathing (Marg Mottee)
This paper was delivered at the 2005 Tasmanian Local Government Conference. Marg Mottee provided oversight to the development of the Kempsey Shire Council communications and public relations strategy which twice won the NSW RH Dougherty Award for Excellence in Communication.

What Makes Communities Click? (LGAQ)
Project report on the role, and potential role, of Queensland local governments in building communities and building social capital. Useful insight into the role of council communications in enhancing social cohesion. (5MB)

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 Dealing with the Media

Tips for dealing with the media Tips for dealing with the media (41 kb)

Dealing with the media Dealing with the media (41 kb)

 Diversity

Local Government and Cultural Diversity (DIMIA)
Online resource helping local government to respond to cultural diversity.

Diversity Australia (Australian Government)
Helpful resources for marketing, customer service and access and equity in multicultural Australia.

Respecting Cultures (Arts Tasmania)
Brochure available online in PDF format. Contains guidelines setting out appropriate ways of interacting with Tasmanian Aboriginal communities and artists. Includes a checklist of protocol points. Particularly useful when organising events or exhibitions.

Communicating Positives: A guide to appropriate Aboriginal terminology (NSW)
Written for NSW health department staff, this useful document provides guidance on appropriate word usage when working with Aboriginal people and communities.

Better Information & Communication Practices (FACS)
Online booklet to enable effective communication with people with disabilities. Provides contact details for organisations that can provide advice and services to meet the communication needs of particular disability groups.

A Way With Words (Vic)
Common language and appropriate terminology when interacting with people with disabilities.

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 Plain English

Plain English at Work (DEST)
A guide to help organisations develop plain-English documents.

Plain English Toolkit (IDeA)
Toolkit designed for local government in the UK.

 Online Communications

Tips and information for better online communication. Writing for the Web (173 kb)
A guide to website usability. Website Usability Tips Website Usability Tips (135 kb)

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 Sponsorship

Sponsorship Q & A (The Sponsorship Unit)
Very helpful website providing the ins and outs of sponsorship.

 Copyright

Australian Copyright Council
Introductory information about copyright.

 Personal Information Protection Act 2004

A guide to this legislation, prepared by LGAT for councils. Personal Information Act 2004 Guidelines for Councils Guidelines Personal Information Act 2004 (304 kb)

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 Other Resources

Local Government Public Relations Association of Australia
The LGPRA holds an annual conference and provides related member services.

Tasmanian Network

In Tasmania, a number of council officers maintain contact as part of a network to advance the quality of council communications. If you are a council employee and wish to know more about how Tasmanian councils manage their communications, or you wish to join the network, click here and type 'Inquiry Communications Network' in the subject line.

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