9. Roles and responsibilities
Under the Tasmanian Parliamentary system, Ministers are accountable for presenting and explaining government policies, priorities and decisions to the public.
Ministers, both collectively and individually as members of Cabinet, are the principal spokespersons for the Tasmanian Government and their respective agencies. It is their role to provide leadership in establishing the priorities and overall themes of government communications.
9.2 Heads of Tasmanian Government agencies
Heads of Agency include secretaries of Government departments and chief executive officers of agencies.
The head of agency must play an active and visible role in steering and maintaining a viable communication function for their agency.
The head of agency leads, and is responsible for, the overall management of communications and its integration with other key functions, particularly policy and program management. The head of agency champions the agency’s internal communications.
Heads of agency are accountable for ensuring that:
- agency communications are aligned with government priorities, themes and key messages for communications
- the communications function is fully integrated into the planning, management and evaluation of policies, programs and services
- the Tasmanian Government Communications Policy is implemented within their agency.
9.3 Government Communications Office
The Government Communications Office, in the Premier’s Office, has responsibility for providing strategic advice and support on communications issues to the Tasmanian Government and managing day-to-day media relations, including media enquiries and releases.
The Government Communications Office is specifically responsible for:
- collecting and analysing information to provide high-level advice to government
- advising agencies of the Government’s priorities, themes and key messages for communications that underpin or inform Government/agency communications plans and activities.
- coordinating major government communications programs and promotions
- liaising with and providing advice to Ministerial offices on day-to-day media issues
- managing day-to-day media relations, including media enquiries and Ministerial media releases, coordinating media relating to whole-of-government activities, including State Budgets and other major announcements
- overseeing the development and implementation of media strategies
- overseeing the Premier’s website
- reviewing and approving communications strategies, and creative concepts for campaigns as defined in section 8.2 Campaigns.
9.4 Manager, Communications and Protocol Unit, Department of Premier and Cabinet
The Manager, Communications and Protocol Unit in the Department of Premier and Cabinet is responsible for managing the Tasmanian Government Communications Policy and the Tasmanian Government Communications Website, including advising agencies on communications policy interpretation and application and evaluating the effectiveness of the policy in helping the Government to meet its objectives.
The Manager, Communications and Protocol Unit (DPAC) is specifically responsible for:
- providing communications advice to agencies as required
- maintenance and development of the Communications Website, including the resources toolkit
- providing advice and approvals for communications procurement, including reviewing tender specifications and participating on tender evaluation panels
- providing advice and approvals for campaign advertising and the sale of advertising and reviewing evaluation of advertising campaigns where required (see section 8.1 Advertising)
- providing advice on sponsorships, particularly those considered contentious or of higher than normal risk (see section 8.10 Sponsorship)
- liaising with the Department of Treasury and Finance in the negotiation of whole-of-government communications contracts
- providing advice to agencies on communications in a crisis or emergency as required, including sourcing communications staff to assist in the case of sustained incidents
- involvement as required in emergency communications management and planning, including whole-of-government and national counter-terrorism arrangements
- initiating professional development opportunities for communications staff across government.
9.5 Agency communications managers
The role of agency communications staff will differ in each agency, according to structure and business needs. However, the principal role of agency communications managers – or their equivalent under another position – is to coordinate the communications activities of their agency; to support the effective communication of agency services, projects and programs to the public; and to ensure adherence to the Tasmanian Government Communications Policy.
This is achieved through communication functions including, but not limited to: corporate identity, internal communications, advertising, print and online publishing, social market research, media relations and event management.
Agency communications managers operate most effectively as members of the senior management team.
Agency communications managers must:
- oversee the development, implementation and evaluation of communications plans for their agency; allocation of communications resources; and management of issues
- ensure agency communications planning and activity is coordinated, integrated and consistent with agency objectives, particularly where communications staff are not centrally located
- assist communications officers through professional development, learning and training projects
- implement and communicate the Tasmanian Government Communications Policy within their agency, including the Tasmanian Government Style Guide and Logo Policy
- liaise with the Manager, Communications and Protocol Unit (DPAC) regarding interpretation and application of this policy
- liaise with the Government Communications Office to ensure all communications and marketing activities are consistent with whole-of-government priorities
- liaise with other agencies on cross-government or whole-of-government issues and projects
- develop effective, ‘workable’ communication plans before an emergency or crisis occurs and practise the efficacy of communications plans by testing or exercising emergency management protocols.
9.6 Agency staff
The communications function is a shared responsibility that requires the support, co-operation and interaction of various personnel throughout an agency.
A wide range of government staff are involved in communications activities, including senior managers, policy advisers, program managers and other functional specialists such as researchers, human resource officers, librarians and executive assistants. All staff must meet the requirements of the Tasmanian Government Communications Policy in all aspects of their work.
Managers and supervisors must ensure that the agency communications manager, or his/her nominee, is informed of and/or consulted on internal and external communications activities where appropriate under this policy and agency policies and procedures.