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Communications methods

8.1 Advertising

Principles

The Tasmanian Government may legitimately use public funds for advertising to inform the public of their rights, obligations and entitlements, as well as explain government policies, programs and services. As with any of its communications activities, the Tasmanian Government is responsible for ensuring relevance, accuracy, objectivity, accessibility, compliance and accountability through diligent and appropriate planning.

Definitions

Campaign advertising is a sustained series of advertising used to motivate, inform, educate or change attitudes or behaviour among a broad range of citizens, and can appear in any media or combination of media.

Non-campaign advertising is routine advertising carried out by agencies around their operational activities. This may include - but is not limited to - recruitment, employment, educational courses and enrolment, auctions and tenders, announcements, public and statutory notices and emergency notices.

Policy requirements

All government advertising must be readily identifiable by the target audience as coming from the Tasmanian Government (see section 5.1 Tasmanian Government corporate identity).

Campaign advertising

When planning and procuring campaign advertising, agencies must:

  • comply with the requirements of the Treasurer’s Instructions, including Common Use Contracts and Master Ordering Arrangements (MOAs) for Television, Advertising - Print Media Services for the placement of vacancy notices, tenders and public notices and Radio Advertising
  • ensure the dollar value for campaign procurement includes full cost figures for every stage of production or service (e.g. creative services, production, distribution, advertising etc) and for each communications activity employed (e.g. print, web, television). It is not acceptable to procure services or goods separately – where they are part of a single campaign – with the intention of reducing the value of the procurement and therefore circumventing approval and quotation requirements.

For campaign advertising valued at $50 000 or less (exclusive of GST):

  • Approval to proceed must be given by the head of the relevant agency or his/her delegate after advice from the agency’s communications manager who may require a strategy or planning document. The campaign will be assessed against Policy statement 8.

For advertising campaigns valued at more than $50 000 (exclusive of GST):

  • The campaign must be pre-tested to ensure it meets stated objectives and the results forwarded to the agency communications manager and the Manager - Strategic Communications and Marketing (DPAC).
  • Approval to proceed must be given by the head of the relevant agency or his/her delegate, the agency’s communications manager and the Manager - Strategic Communications and Marketing (DPAC). A campaign strategy or planning document may be required by any of the people with approval authorities. The campaign will be assessed against the criteria contained in the Policy Statement.
  • The campaign must be evaluated by the agency communications manager or delegate to assess its effectiveness in achieving stated policy objectives and the results forwarded to the Manager - Strategic Communications and Marketing (DPAC).

Selling or accepting advertising

It is recommended that agencies consult the Manager - Strategic Communications and Marketing (DPAC) before publishing advertisements in their print and electronic communication materials, or selling advertising space or time to the private sector or to any source outside government, particularly where advertisements are likely to be contentious(see section 8.8 Sponsorship).

Non-campaign advertising

All vacancy notices, tenders and public notices must be placed in the consolidated format in Tasmanian papers, and in interstate, and overseas newspapers and/or journals in accordance with the whole-of-government contract Advertising - Print Media Services for the placement of vacancy notices, tenders and public notices (contract A003).

Exceptions to this include:

  • where there is a recognised need for a display advertisement to be placed in the early general news (EGN) or other non-classified section
  • advertisements that market educational courses.

Where an agency wishes to run a campaign or notice outside the consolidated format, permission must be sought from the Manager – Strategic Communications and Marketing (DPAC) outlining justification for the variation.

8.2 Publications

Principles

Publications in various forms are used to deliver information to the public about Tasmanian Government programs, services and policy. Publications may include:

Definition

A work is deemed to have been published if reproductions of the work or edition have been made available to the public, whether by sale or otherwise.

Requirements

When publishing documents agencies must:

Resources

8.3 Multimedia productions

Principles

Multimedia productions, such as DVDs, audio CDs, podcasts and software applications, can be engaging tools for providing information to the public.

Multimedia productions can also be effective ways to communicate with people with low levels of literacy or other barriers to the use of written publications. However, agencies must consider the intended target audience when publishing multimedia productions, particularly if it may include individuals whose access to technology is limited, or who prefer to receive government information through more traditional means.

Requirements

Note: for requirements for TV and radio advertising, please see section 8.1 Advertising

Agencies producing multimedia productions must:

  • clearly identify all Tasmanian Government productions as produced by or for the Tasmanian Government. This can be achieved through use of the Tasmanian Government logo for productions incorporating visual elements, or through the use of a spoken statement for audio-only productions ensure all publications are deposited in accordance with legal deposit requirements (see section 6.1 Availability) aim to make all multimedia productions as accessible as possible to all individuals or groups within the community (see section 6.2 Accessibility)
  • for film and video productions include the title, director(s), producer(s), source (department/agency) and date of publication/production
  • for all video productions, such as DVDs and television programs, provide captioning in accordance with the Tasmanian Government Captioning Policy. Other multimedia productions that rely on audio for content should be made available in a text-based format
  • ensure the permission of subjects is gained from all subjects in productions (see Acknowledgement of Use of Image (Adult and Minor) Form).

Resources

8.4 Tasmanian Government websites

Principles

Government websites are key platforms for providing public access to information and services. They are also a critical part of government’s internal communication and information sharing infrastructure. Agencies must aim to meet the public expectation that information on government websites is accurate and up-to-date.

Requirements

Agencies must manage their websites and portals in accordance with the Tasmanian Government Website Standards. In particular, the following broad principles, contained within the Tasmanian Government Website Standards, apply to Tasmanian Government websites:

  1. Public information is made available online except where the head of agency determines not to publish on the web because of:
    • high cost relative to the benefit of electronic accessibility
    • low usage
    • high publication complexity
    • low suitability for web delivery.
  2. Details of public information unavailable on the web must be discoverable on the web. A brief summary must be provided together with details on how to access a copy via email, telephone or mail.
  3. Agencies must ensure access to, and usability by, the widest possible target community appropriate to the service or information resource.
  4. Agencies are responsible for the content and must ensure services and information resources provided online are comparable in quality and functionality to those delivered by other means.

When creating websites, agencies should carefully consider whether it is appropriate to publish the information on an existing website or a new website. In particular, information about projects with limited lifespan or expected low public interest may be more appropriately and efficiently published on either the agency’s main website or another existing site.

To ensure publishing standards and communications requirements are met, agencies must:

It is recommended that agencies aim to meet the Tasmanian Government website standards where practical when websites are developed in partnership with third-party organisations.

Resources

8.5 Non-Tasmanian Government websites

Principles

There are a variety of reasons why it may be more appropriate to publish content on a third-party website (external site) rather than a Tasmanian Government website. Certain sites may provide functionality that cannot be provided on internally-run sites (such as allowing user contribution of content), or may be more effective at reaching the target audience than Tasmanian Government websites.

Examples of external websites that could be used to publish content include:

  • social networking sites
  • wikis
  • media sharing sites
  • blogs
  • forums.

External websites, particularly social media sites such as social networking, wiki and blog sites, usually require regular updates and interaction from both the content provider and the public to be successful. External websites will also have terms and conditions of use that will impact on how the Tasmanian Government can use the site.

Policy requirements

To ensure publishing standards and communications requirements are met, agencies must:

  • ensure all new pages and sites set up to represent the Government on external websites are authorised by the agency communications manager or their delegate
  • clearly identify the Tasmanian Government as the source of information published on external websites, either through the use of the Tasmanian Government logo, or through a statement of ownership
  • provide a link back to the agency’s website, as well as a mechanism to contact the agency about the content
  • develop a process to guide how the agency will manage and moderate feedback, comment and formal complaints made via an external site that allows for user comments or interaction (e.g. a social networking site or wiki)
  • set clear moderation expectations of agency staff as to what kind of comments are unacceptable when using an external site, and how to respond to comments
  • ensure the services and information resources provided via non-Tasmanian Government websites are comparable in quality and functionality to those delivered on Tasmanian Government websites or by other means
  • ensure records of government-sourced content and business transactions that occur on external websites are accurately recorded, in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 and the Libraries Act 1984. On external websites the Tasmanian Government does not need to record the look or functionality of the site as the Government is not the owner of the website
  • respect privacy rights and copyright ownership in compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act 2004 and the Copyright Act 1968
  • aim to provide information available on external websites through another means to individuals who may have limited or no access to the internet; where this is not possible (e.g. due to high frequency of information updates), ensure important or critical public information is available through other means
  • ensure the permission of subjects is gained when publishing photographs or videos on non-Tasmanian Government websites (see Acknowledgement of Use Image (Adult and Minor) Form).

When publishing on non-Tasmanian Government websites, it is recommended that agencies:

  • carefully consider whether the external website is an appropriate platform to reach the intended target audience
  • carefully consider the resourcing required to make social media communications successful before commencing projects using these channels
  • carefully consider whether the resources required to develop and maintain content on an external website are proportional to the anticipated public benefit
  • consider removing content from external websites where the project they relate to has finished and the content will no longer be maintained, while ensuring archiving and recordkeeping requirements are met
  • read the website’s terms of use and consider their implications for the intended use of the site. The site’s terms of use may also affect the Tasmanian Government’s status as the intellectual property or copyright owner of content.
  • consider producing guidelines that set out how staff should conduct themselves when representing their agency on sites that allow public comment and response, in accordance with the State Service Act 2000 and Ministerial Direction No. 10 of 2003 (Internet and email use by State Service officers and employees).

Resources

8.6 Media relations and spokespersons

Principles

For many Tasmanians, media channels such as newspapers, radio, television and the internet are a primary source of news and information about government policies, programs and services.

The media play a significant role in reporting and commenting on government policies, programs and services and it is important that agencies acknowledge and respect this role and the needs of media outlets. While it is not possible to ‘manage’ media, establishing good working relationships with media can provide another useful channel for communicating with the community.

Ministers are accountable for presenting and explaining government policies, programs and services to the public. Ministers are the principal spokespersons for the Tasmanian Government and its agencies but may assign other people to speak in an official capacity on issues or subjects for which that Minister has responsibility and expertise.

Policy requirements

With the exception of Cabinet Ministers, no individual is to make a public statement without approval of the statement or the spokesperson by the relevant Minister or head of agency or his/her nominee.

Government roles which may be an exception to this include:

  • Police Media and Marketing Unit - when dealing with an operational police matter
  • Fire and emergency services - where there is an emergency operational matter such as fire, flood or storm
  • Director Public Health - where there is a public health matter
  • Statutory office holders - with independence from government such as the Auditor-General, the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, the Ombudsman, the Courts, the Director of Racing, the Rail Safety Regulator, the Director of Industry Safety and the Transport Commissioner
  • particular roles as identified and approved by agencies e.g. Learning Services General Managers and school principals dealing with an operational education issue.

When responding to media enquiries and using government spokespersons, agencies must:

  • abide by the Whole of Government Media Protocols issued by the Government Communications Office (GCO) in the Premier’s Office
  • establish internal processes and procedures in accordance with the Right to Information Act 2009, for responding to media enquiries and requests that may come directly to their media unit or through the GCO
  • identify appropriate spokespersons with the knowledge and/or technical expertise to provide input into media responses or to speak as official representatives of their agency if approved by the relevant Minister or head of agency
  • liaise with other relevant agency communications units if a media issue has ramifications for other agencies, e.g. swine flu, critical incidents.

When responding to media enquiries and using government spokespersons, it is recommended that agencies:

  • have a designated unit or officer responsible for managing media activities and for liaising with the GCO and their Minister’s Office
  • provide in-house or external media training for those managers or staff designated to speak as official agency representatives
  • ensure designated spokespersons receive instruction, particularly in media relations, to carry out their responsibilities effectively, including awareness of and respect for:
    • privacy rights
    • security needs
    • matters before the courts
    • government policy
    • Cabinet confidentiality.

Resources

8.7 Media announcements

Principles

Media announcements may be attended by Ministers or senior officials to generate media coverage for Tasmanian Government policies, programs and services.

Examples of activities that may warrant a media announcement include the:

  • launch of a new program
  • handover of grant money to a community organisation
  • opening of a new tourist attraction or building
  • release of a report or research
  • announcement of a partnership
  • release of government advice or announcement of policies on issues of public interest such as public health matters
  • response to a crisis
  • a matter of public safety.

Policy requirements

When undertaking a media event or announcement, agencies must:

  • consider whether a media announcement is appropriate for the issue
  • in consultation with the relevant Minister's Office, determine if the Minister or other Member of Parliament (MP) nominated by the Minister will represent the Government at the announcement
  • plan and co-ordinate media announcements with the relevant MP’s office
  • advise their agency communications unit of the proposed activity as early as possible
  • ensure all presentation or speech material is consistent with government policy
  • ensure all government materials, displays or presentations are clearly identified in accordance with the Tasmanian Government Style Guide and Logo Policy.

8.8 Events and exhibitions

Principles

Government attendance at events and exhibits provides an opportunity to reach a large number of Tasmanians and gives the public an alternative way to access government information and speak with staff face to face.

Policy requirements

In planning and delivering an exhibit or event, agencies must:

  • advise their agency communications unit of the proposed activity as early as possible
  • ensure attendance at the events is based on sound business principles and is a cost-effective method of communicating and disseminating information
  • ensure adequate planning and preparation is applied to deliver a professional government image with high-quality display materials in terms of format and presentation
  • ensure government materials, displays or presentations are clearly identified in accordance with the Tasmanian Government Style Guide and Logo Policy
  • ensure any goods and services used in the development or execution of shows and exhibitions are procured in accordance with the Treasurer’s Instructions (see section 7.2 Communications procurement).

It is recommended that agencies:

  • adopt a coordinated approach to participation at events where a number of agencies are represented
  • aim to attract staff with suitable customer service aptitude and skills to represent the Government at the event or exhibition.

8.9 Sponsorship

Principles

Sponsorship is used to build an association between two organisations via the exchange of money, goods or services from which both will benefit. Opportunities for sponsorship may present in many forms, offering diverse marketing opportunities, each unique in size, location, audience reach, objectives and benefits.

The decision to enter into a sponsorship agreement must be driven by sound business principles and only undertaken if it is likely to produce significant net benefit for government and its clients with no detriment to the public interest.

When seeking sponsorship, government should do so in a manner that will withstand public scrutiny and is fair to existing and potential parties.

Definitions

The terms sponsorship and partnership are often used interchangeably, however there are some fundamental differences and as such they have been separated in this Policy (see section 8.10 Partnerships).

Government will encounter sponsorship from two distinct perspectives:

  1. As the proposed sponsor. Another organisation, either public or private, will seek the support of government through the provision of financial or other resources, and in return will offer perceived benefits through association with the sponsored initiative, project or event.
  2. As the sponsored organisation. The Government will seek provision of financial or other support from another organisation, and will provide perceived benefits in return.

Sponsorship is not:

  • a grant where the grantor receives no direct economic benefit in return for the assistance provided
  • a donation (in cash or kind) for which little or no acknowledgement or commercial return is expected
  • a discount for normal services
  • an endorsement of any product or service
  • part of normal assistance programs run by government.

Policy requirements

Government must only sponsor, or offer for sponsorship, a specific initiative, project, event or communication, for example:

  • conference, public event or material associated with an event
  • specific project or programs, such as Crime Stoppers or Neighbourhood Watch.

Government must not sponsor, or offer for sponsorship:

  • corporate identities i.e. the actual agency or organisation
  • core services or any activity or communication that the public has the right to expect would be provided unencumbered by private or commercial interests
  • corporate stationery, forms, annual reports or similar materials
  • web home or content pages, except for web pages specifically devoted to a sponsored project or event
  • corporate uniforms, except for specific event promotional clothing
  • external corporate signage on buildings
  • fleet vehicles except for advertising on public transport or promotional vehicles for sponsored events or projects.

When entering into sponsorship agreements agencies must:

  • make the details of the sponsorship the subject of a written agreement that clearly details all terms and conditions of the sponsorship including the delivery of obligations, reporting, use of corporate identity, cancellation and operational responsibilities
  • ensure government sponsorship or support is recognised in accordance with the Tasmanian Government Style Guide and Logo Policy
  • identify and implement clear assessment procedures for the development/authorisation of sponsorship arrangements
  • consult with their agency’s communications manager before entering into sponsorship negotiations
  • gain approval to issue or accept a sponsorship agreement, regardless of value, from the agency’s communications manager and when over $10,000 in value approval from the head of agency (or their delegate)
  • assess any proposed arrangement for its:
    • cost effectiveness
    • maintenance of government credibility
    • management of risk
    • compliance/compatibility with agency policies or directions.

Specifically agencies must assess the sponsorship offering based on its:

  • contribution to achieving the Government’s mission and strategic direction
  • ability to provide meaningful benefits to Government and its clients
  • cost effectiveness compared to other marketing and communications tools.

No agreement shall be made without careful assessment of the risks to government, its core business and its public reputation through association with the sponsorship parties. Agencies must ensure:

  • the products and ethics of the sponsorship organisation are consistent with and complementary to the vision and objectives of government. In making the decision, consideration should also be given to the organisations third party associations or other sponsors to ensure they are also complementary and will not impact negatively on the Government
  • the sponsorship organisation is not in a line of business or does not have a public reputation that may be an inappropriate associate for the Government, for example, alcohol, gambling or drug companies
  • there is no real or perceived conflict of interest, for example, implication of favoured treatment, overt endorsement of products and/or services, privileged access to Ministers or public servants, or any other disproportionate benefit beyond the specific scope of the sponsorship activity
  • the benefits to each party in a sponsorship agreement are proportional to their contribution and must be confined to a specific activity or project.

When entering into sponsorship arrangements it is recommended that:

  • agencies consult the Manager - Strategic Communications and Marketing (DPAC) where a proposed sponsorship may be considered contentious or of higher than normal risk
  • agencies consider seeking the assistance of Crown Law to incorporate the appropriate terms and conditions in sponsorship agreements
  • an evaluation of the sponsorship occur at the conclusion of the agreement to assess the performance of the sponsorship and the relationship between the sponsorship parties.

Resources

8.10 Partnerships

Principles

Partnerships are mutually beneficial and co-operative relationships in which partners may share values, objectives, resources (human, material or financial), roles and responsibilities in order to achieve jointly desired outcomes. Partnerships may exist between two or more parties and can include partners external to government.

To develop cohesive and integrated services, the Government may decide to enter into partnerships that bring together parties with expertise and resources not currently held by government and in doing so improve outcomes and foster a spirit of cooperation within the community.

The decision to enter into a partnership agreement must be driven by sound business principles and only undertaken if it is likely to produce significant net benefit for government and the community with no detriment to the public interest.

When negotiating a partnership, government should do so in a manner that will withstand public scrutiny and is fair to existing and potential parties.

Definitions

The terms partnership and sponsorship are often used interchangeably, however there are some fundamental differences and as such they have been separated in this Policy (see section 8.8 Sponsorship).

Partnerships are distinct from sponsorship in that they are:

  • typically of greater duration and span multiple events or activities
  • more often entered to fulfil the strategic goals rather than the marketing goals of an organisation
  • composed of organisations working collaboratively together and sharing equally in the outcomes of the initiative.

Policy requirements

When entering partnerships, agencies must:

  • ensure the partnership is the subject of a written agreement that clearly details all terms and conditions of the partnership including the delivery of communication requirements associated with the partnership such as, use of corporate logos and protocols for publically releasing information generated as a result of the partnership
  • ensure the Government contribution to the partnership is identified in accordance with the Tasmanian Government Style Guide and Logo Policy
  • ensure consultation between staff responsible for arranging or administering partnerships and their agency’s communications manager before entering into any negotiations
  • gain approval from the relevant head of agency (or their delegate) to accept a partnership agreement with communications implications, regardless of value
  • implement clear assessment procedures for the  development/authorisation of partnership arrangements.
  • assess agreements to ensure:
    • maintenance of government credibility
    • cost effectiveness
    • management of risk
    • compliance/compatibility with agency policies or directions.

Specifically, agencies must select potential partner organisation/s based on their:

  • contribution to achieving the Government’s mission and strategic direction
  • ability to provide meaningful benefits to the Government and community
  • cost effectiveness compared to alternative options to achieve the same business results.

No agreement shall be made without careful assessment of the risks to government, its core business and its public reputation through association with the partnership parties. Agencies must ensure:

  • the products and ethics of the partnership organisation/s are consistent with and complementary to the vision and objectives of government. In making the decision, consideration should also be given to the organisations third party associations or sponsors to ensure they also complement and will not impact negatively on the Government.
  • the organisation/s is not in a line of business or does not have a public reputation that may be an inappropriate partner for the Government, for example alcohol, gambling or drug companies
  • the benefits to each partner in the agreement are proportional to their contribution
  • there is no real or perceived conflict of interest, for example implication of favoured treatment, overt endorsement of products and/or services, privileged access to Ministers or public servants, or any other disproportionate benefit beyond the specific scope of the partnership agreement.

When entering into partnership arrangements, it is recommended that:

  • agencies consult the Manager - Strategic Communications and Marketing (DPAC) where a proposed partnership with communications implications may be considered contentious or of higher than normal risk
  • agencies consider seeking the assistance of Crown Law to incorporate the appropriate terms and conditions in partnership agreements
  • an evaluation of the partnership occurs at the conclusion of the agreement to assess the performance of the outcomes and relationship between the parties.

Resources

8.11 Internal communications

Principles

Internal communications supports the achievement of organisational goals by:

  • creating a positive organisational climate where feelings of trust, awareness, openness, security, involvement and confidence predominate, particularly between the executive group, managers and employees
  • articulating the organisation’s vision and objectives
  • establishing two-way communication channels
  • recognising and celebrating staff innovation and achievements
  • enhancing employee engagement.

Effective internal communications is a shared management responsibility that requires support from the entire management team.

Employees who are thoroughly engaged in the life of their organisation can be valuable allies in external communications - helping to inform the public, professional colleagues and prospective employees about the Government or individual agencies.

Policy requirements

When undertaking internal communications to foster an engaged workforce it is recommended that agencies:

  • develop and implement strategies that:
  • encourage proactive and interactive communications throughout the organisation
  • recognise the contribution of staff (and volunteers) to service delivery and to meeting business objectives
  • enable the two-way exchange of information
  • establish clear processes and channels for communicating with employees
  • are regularly evaluated and reviewed.
  • communicate with employees openly, frequently and, where possible, before or at the same time as information is communicated to the public, or as soon as possible thereafter
  • remind employees of their obligations under the Tasmanian State Service Principles and Code of Conduct, and Ministerial Direction No. 10 of 2003 (Internet and email use by State Service officers and employees) when encouraging information sharing and discussion with colleagues through internal communications channels.

Information sharing within agencies contains some privacy and security risks. Confidential and sensitive information, including information or documents communicated electronically, must be handled according to the agency’s security arrangements, the Personal Information Protection Act 2004, the Archives Act 1983 and the Right to Information Act 2009.

Resources

8.12 Social and market research

Principles

Social and market research are used to gain a better understanding of society and to identify the perceptions, attitudes, behaviours, needs or emerging concerns of members of the community.

It may be used to assess the public's response to proposals or to possible changes or initiatives; to assess the effectiveness of policies, programs and services; to measure progress in service improvement; to inform a course of action; or to inform marketing decisions.

Definitions

Social research is a process of gathering information about the social environment of a society and interpreting it to make a sound decision on a course of action.

Market research is the process of collecting and analysing data obtained from a sample of individuals or businesses relating to their characteristics, behaviour and attitudes.

Monitoring refers to the ongoing process of assessing whether communication activities are proceeding on target in accordance with the communication strategy.

Evaluation is carried out at the end of a specified phase of a communication project to assess whether the goals and objectives of the communication strategy have been met. NB: Monitoring and evaluation are not addressed in this section of the policy. For more on monitoring and evaluation please see section 7.1 Communications planning and evaluation.

Personal information is defined in the Personal Information Protection Act 2004.

Policy requirements

When contracting social and market research for the purpose of quantifying, qualifying or evaluating the views, attitudes or perceptions of a given population, agencies must:

  • comply with the requirements of the Treasurer’s Instructions and the specific requirements for the procurement of communications goods and services (see section 7.2 Communications procurement)
  • ensure the contractual or procurement arrangements adequately protect any personal or confidential information collected as part of the social and market research.

Copies of final reports of social and market research if published must be deposited with the State Library of Tasmania as well as with the National Library of Australia. A disclosure period of 90 days applies for all reports. Electronic submission of final reports is acceptable.

Commercial in confidence information must be appropriately managed and stored.

Resources