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Planning and procurement

7.1 Communications planning and evaluation


Communication is an integral part of the development, management and delivery of government policies, programs and services. As such, communication requirements should be fully accounted for when budgeting for new initiatives.

Communications is a shared responsibility that requires the support, co-operation and interaction of various personnel throughout an agency (see section 9 - Roles and responsibilities).

Communications planning – through the development of a communications strategy or plan - identifies the communication objectives of a project, the means by which they can be achieved, and methods of monitoring and evaluation.

It is particularly important that communication issues are considered in drafting and developing Cabinet submissions likely to generate public interest. The inclusion of a communications strategy with Cabinet Minutes (see Requirements) aims to provide Ministers and Cabinet with a basic outline of how agencies intend to communicate particular decisions to the public. It also provides evidence that communication issues have been properly considered.

The Government Communications Office reviews Cabinet Submissions prepared by agencies to ensure appropriate measures and adequate resources are recommended to meet planned communication objectives.

Policy requirements

Agencies must:

  • Ensure all Cabinet Minutes involving policy changes, public announcements, new initiatives and major decisions include a communications strategy that has been approved by the relevant agency’s communications manager or their delegate. Exceptions to this must be approved by the Government Communications Office. The communications strategy will also be attached to the signed Cabinet decision communicated to the responsible Heads of Agency.
  • Pre-test and evaluate advertising campaigns valued at more than $50 000 (see section 8.1 Advertising).

It is recommended that:

  • a communications strategy or plan be developed at the initiation of a project
  • qualitative and quantitative research (including concept testing) be used to inform the development of a communications strategy (see section 8.12 Social and market research)
  • agencies seek the advice of the Government Communications Office on issues and themes that may have whole-of-government implications that require co-ordination of communications planning across multiple agencies
  • communications activities be monitored to allow improvements or adjustments to be made as needed during implementation
  • communications strategies are formally evaluated to assess their effectiveness (including cost-effectiveness).


7.1.1 Issues management


Strategic issues management enables the anticipation and tracking of problems and opportunities that can impact on the Government and its stakeholders. Through issues management, government can identify and address any gaps between the expectations of its stakeholders and its performance and take action that may involve organisational change and/or a communications strategy/campaign.

Effective communication is an integral part of issues management, because of the potential for an unmanaged issue to negatively impact an organisation’s reputation, ability to deliver services and its stakeholders.


The terms crisis and issues management are often used interchangeably, however there are some fundamental differences and they have been separated in this Policy.

Issues management aims to anticipate emerging issues and plan to influence their development and impact – in some instances, it may aim to prevent an issue becoming a crisis.

Crisis management is generally reactive, dealing with emergencies and disasters that are often unpredictable and/or unpreventable (see section 7.1.2 Crisis and emergency management).

Policy requirements

To ensure effective issues management, agencies must:

  • prepare a communication strategy that takes into account the information needs of internal and external stakeholders and includes an environmental scan of likely problems and opportunities
  • have in place internal processes and procedures for communicating with staff
  • have a designated unit or officer responsible for managing media activities and for liaising with the Government Communications Office and their Minister’s Office
  • identify managers or staff with the knowledge and/or technical expertise to provide input to media responses or to speak as official representatives of their agency.


7.1.2 Crisis and emergency management


Effective communication is imperative before, during and after times of unrest and uncertainty to:

  • prevent injury or loss of life
  • help limit damage to assets, reputation and property
  • help maintain the delivery of public services
  • assist in the process of recovery
  • minimise impact on stakeholders
  • influence and inform public debate and discussion
  • help establish, maintain or restore public confidence in government.


The terms crisis and issues management are often used interchangeably, however there are some fundamental differences and they have been separated in this Policy.

Issues management aims to anticipate emerging issues and plan to influence their development and impact (see section 7.1.1 Issues management).

Crisis managementis generally reactive, dealing with emergencies and disasters that are often unpredictable and/or unpreventable. A crisis or emergency is an event or significant threat that could endanger human life, property or the environment, or cause or threaten to cause injury or distress to people; and requires a significant response from an agency. A crisis need not pose a serious threat to human life or property but will have a broad ranging impact on the Tasmanian community or sections of the community.

Policy requirements

Agency emergency management protocols must include a communication plan/protocols that:

  • clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of communications and media liaison staff, including using their expertise in preparing messages for staff, other government agencies, the general public and the media
  • ensures messages are consistent by coordinating the release of information through all channels, including departmental intranet and internets
  • ensures there is a small pool of capable and trained spokespersons available
  • meets the requirements of the Whole of Government Media Protocols issued by the Government Communications Office (GCO).

Agencies must practise the efficacy of communications plans when testing or exercising emergency management protocols.

The Government Communications Office must be immediately notified in the event of a crisis or emergency.


7.2 Communications procurement


The procurement of communications goods and services should be planned and executed to deliver the communications objectives of the project, while encouraging fair and open competition between suppliers and achieving best value for money.

Procurement should comply with the purchasing principles embodied in Treasurer's Instruction 1101:

  • value for money
  • open and effective competition
  • purchasing ethics and code of conduct
  • enhancing opportunities for local business.

Policy requirements

The procurement of communication goods and services must comply with the requirements of the Treasurer’s Instructions on procurement, including Common Use Contracts and Master Ordering Arrangements (MOAs) for television, print media for vacancy, tender and public notices and radio advertising.

Further information is available from, including the publication Purchasing Goods and Services - A Guide for Government Buyers which summarises the requirements of the Treasurer’s Instructions. Alternatively, advice on the appropriate process can be obtained from your agency’s procurement area.

The dollar value for procurement must include full-cost figures for every stage of production or service (e.g. creative services, production, distribution, advertising). 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.

The Tasmanian Government’s online Register of Communications Consultants and Service Providers is provided to help agencies identify providers of communications goods and services. It is not mandatory to seek quotes from registered providers.

In addition to the Treasurer’s Instructions, the following requirements must be met in procuring communications goods and services:

Goods and services valued at $10 000 or less (exclusive of GST)

  • Approval to initiate the procurement must be obtained from the relevant agency's communications manager.
  • Treasurer's Instruction 1105 states that a quotation process may be used and the number of quotations sought is a matter of judgement.

Goods and services valued between $10 000 and $100 000 (exclusive of GST)

  • Approval to initiate the procurement must be given by the head of the relevant agency or his/her delegate after advice from that agency's communications manager and the Manager - Strategic Communications and Marketing (DPAC).
  • Treasurer's Instruction 1106 requires that agencies seek at least three written quotations, unless otherwise authorised by the Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance or other authorised delegate.
  • Treasurer's Instruction 1106 requires that at least one quotation must be sought from a local business where local capability exists.

Goods and services valued at $100 000 and over (exclusive of GST)

  • A public tender must be conducted except where an exemption from the Treasurer's Instructions has been granted by the Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance OR where an approved pre-existing contract for communications services exists with a provider.
  • Tender specifications and expenditure must be approved by the relevant head of agency or board (where applicable) and the Premier (through the Manager - Strategic Communications and Marketing in DPAC) .
  • The Tender Evaluation Panel must include the agency communications manager or their delegate and the Manager - Strategic Communications and Marketing (DPAC) or their delegate.

Advertising campaigns

There are additional planning and approval requirements specific to advertising campaigns (see section 8.1 Advertising).

7.3 Intellectual property rights


Government agencies must be aware of their rights and obligations under intellectual property laws – including copyright, trademarks and moral rights - to ensure they both protect the interests of government and avoid infringing the rights of others. Agencies should be mindful that copyright applies to a wide range of formats, from printed material to contributions to websites (user-generated content).

The copyright in materials created by Tasmanian Government employees in the course of their employment and by any other person under the direction or control of the Crown is owned by the Crown, except by prior agreement to the contrary. Note that copyright ownership rests with the Crown, not with individual agencies or officers.

Intellectual property rights should be considered when establishing partnerships between the Crown and third parties.


Copyright provides legal protection for people who produce things like writing, images, music and films by preventing others from doing certain things - such as copying and making available online - without permission (Source: Australian Copyright Council, <>, accessed 16 July 2010).

Moral rights are the rights of individual creatorsin relation to copyright works or films they have created. Moral rights are separate from the ‘economic rights’ of the copyrightowner, such as the right to reproduce the work or communicate it to the public. Moral rights protect against the derogatory treatment of works such as failing to attribute the owner of moral rights and not allowing the work to be changed. The creator of a work, who holds moral rights, is not necessarily the owner of copyright in the work (Source: Australian Copyright Council, Information sheet G043 Moral Rights, June 2006).

Trademarks are a word, phrase, letter, number, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or a combination of these used to protect a brand name and distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another. (Source: IP Australia, <, accessed 16 July 2010).

Policy requirements

Agencies must:


Administrator Crown Copyright
Department of Justice

Phone: 6233 6401