Title Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Strategy by hft13158

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									                                        CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY
                                                               Paper 4 10/08/07




         CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY


                                FOR DECISION


Title:          Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Strategy

Prepared by: Francoise van Buuren, Head of Strategy and
             Communications

Purpose

To seek agreement from the Board for the proposed stakeholder engagement and
communications strategy.

Recommendations

   a) The Board recognises the important role communication plays to successfully
      deliver the National Park Plan through effective partnership working.
   b) The Board agrees with the communication objectives, target audiences and
      overall approach identified.
   c) The Board notes there will be a further informal discussion at a later date on
      how the Board can best support the Stakeholder Engagement and
      Communications Strategy.

Executive Summary

This Paper outlines a stakeholder engagement and communications strategy which
supports the CNPA as an organisation as well our role in leading and coordinating
the implementation of the National Park Plan. Given our role and limited resources,
it is essential our stakeholder engagement and communications activity meets
agreed objectives, adopts best practice in terms of sustainability, efficiency and
accessibility and meets the communication priorities identified. This paper sets out
how the communication objectives support our corporate objectives, who our key
stakeholders are, what our messages are and what initiatives can best deliver the
communication objectives.




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     STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS
               STRATEGY - FOR DECISION -

Background

1.    Communication plays an essential role in the work of the Cairngorms National Park
      Authority. As an enabling organisation, set up to lead and co-ordinate the collective
      delivery of the Park aims, the Park Authority must work closely with a wide range of
      partners and interested parties in order to get things done. Working in partnership
      requires excellent communications to ensure all parties understand and support the
      overall aims and objectives set out in the National Park Plan, are kept informed of
      progress, feel involved and able to contribute to the decision making process and are
      clear what their role is in helping to deliver the priorities for action.

2.    Given the many and varied interests in the Park and our limited available resources
      we must define the priorities for our stakeholder engagement and communications
      activity. There is a grave danger that by trying to communicate with everybody, and
      spreading resources too thinly, the organisation fails to communicate effectively with
      any particular group. A major element of the strategy must be to define the priorities
      for communication.

3.    The Stakeholder Engagement and Communications plan complements other areas of
      work being delivered by the CNPA and our partners. In particular, this links in with
      the priority for action on raising awareness and understanding of the Park, the
      Visitor Services Group Interpretation Framework agreed by the Board in May 2005
      and ongoing work by the Economic and Social Development Group in the areas of
      Tourism and Marketing, Community Relations and Social Inclusion, the Community
      Investment Programme and our various training initiatives. In addition, the
      development of our National Park Plan, Local Plan, Core Paths Plan, and other
      strategies all involved detailed consultation with our stakeholders and our ongoing
      operations such as the National Park Plan implementation mechanisms and pre-
      board, board and planning committee meetings all contribute towards our overall
      communications activity. It is important therefore that this paper is considered with
      these activities in mind.

CNPA Objectives

4.    Any communications strategy must be aligned to the overall aims and objectives of
      the organisation. The statutory purpose of the CNPA is to ensure that the National
      Park aims are collectively achieved in relation to the National Park in a co-ordinated
      way. This in practical terms can be described as:
          a) leading and co-ordinating the delivery of the National Park Plan to achieve
             the Park aims;
          b) gaining the support of our partner organisations to demonstrate best practice
             in partnership working;




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         c) adding value by maximising the use of available resources; and
         d) demonstrating the value of National Parks (and the CNPA) to Scotland.

CNPA Communication Objectives

5.    When considering the development of communications objectives for the CNPA it is
      essential the importance of partnership working is at the forefront. Effective
      communications – within the Park Authority and between the Park Authority and its
      key stakeholders and audiences – will be heavily reliant on the contribution of
      others. This varies in nature from the continued enthusiasm and support from key
      partners to the role of individual accommodation providers and landowners in
      “talking up” the Cairngorms National Park as a great place to live, work and do
      business. Many of CNPA key stakeholders are also methods of communication in
      their own right, to a much greater degree than is the norm for other organisations.

6.    The importance of this partnership working is reflected in the communications
      objectives set out below.

7.    The Cairngorms National Park Authority should aim to:
         a) Demonstrate the value National Parks offer Scotland as a whole and how the
            CNPA and its partners help to achieve the Park aims;
         b) Generate and maintain enthusiasm and support for the Cairngorms National
            Park both within and outwith the Park Boundary;
         c) Encourage and assist key stakeholders to act as ambassadors and to
            communicate accurate and helpful information about the Park.

Communications Issues

8.    A number of broader issues need to be taken into account when developing the
      communications strategy.

9.    The first is the importance of effective partnership working being heavily reliant on
      clear and effective communication mechanisms. In particular, there is a need to
      separate out the working relationships that are required in order to deliver day to
      day objectives, from the need for broader communication with various organisations.
      This is particularly relevant for partner organisations, especially the larger, more
      complex bodies. CNPA may have strong links with lead officers in, for example,
      Highland Council, on a day to day basis, but that does not mean the authority is
      necessarily communicating effectively with the chief executive, council convener,
      local councillors, strategic chairs etc. It is crucial to consider how communication is
      effectively maintained with all the relevant parties within any organisation.

10.   Secondly, in order to gain the whole hearted support of our partners – whether that
      is within the public, private or voluntary sectors – the outcomes we collectively
      achieve must be seen to be for the benefit of the National Park and not the Park
      Authority. If our role and the role played by our partners are to be understood it




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      must be made crystal clear that the Cairngorms National Park Authority is not the
      Park.

11.   Finally, given the nature of the business, it is important that CNPA adopts best
      practice in terms of sustainability and accessibility in all its communication activities.
      All activity should be considered in terms of its sustainability and whether
      alternative communication mechanisms might prove as effective, whilst using fewer
      resources. Equally, given our commitment to being an open and transparent
      organisation and the importance of creating a ‘Park for All’ it is essential that
      communication mechanisms demonstrate accessibility.

External Stakeholders

12.   There are myriad stakeholders for the Cairngorms National Park and a significant
      task is to prioritise them in terms of communications. The focus initially needs to be
      on those individuals and groups who either are critical to the successful delivery of
      the National Park Plan, or are both stakeholders in their own right, and also conduits
      in terms of information. The aim should be to create ambassadors who champion
      the Park, but realistically it may be more reasonable, in the shorter term, to expect
      them to be information intermediaries who pass on information that is accurate and
      correct any misinformation. In broad terms, the key stakeholders fall into five main
      categories, namely:
          a) Critical decision makers and influencers (politicians, media, Non-
               Governmental Organisations etc.);
          b) Public Sector partners signed up to the National Park Plan;
          c) Land mangers, Land owners/estates within the Park;
          d) Local communities;
          e) Local businesses, including tourism businesses and business associations.

Key Messages

13.   A set of core messages already exists for CNPA which were distributed to Board and
      Staff members in January 2007. Below are some key messages which relate to the
      role of the CNPA and the Park as a whole, however, more tailored messages will also
      need to be developed for the various stakeholder groups.
          a) The Cairngorms National Park was established in 2003 with four clear aims;
               to conserve and enhance the area’s natural and cultural heritage, to promote
               sustainable use of the area’s natural resources, to promote understanding and
               enjoyment of the Park’s special qualities, to promote sustainable economic
               and social development of local communities.
          b) The Cairngorms National Park Authority was set up to co-ordinate the
               delivery of these four aims by acting as an enabling organisation which
               promotes partnership and gives leadership to all those involved in the
               Cairngorms – public bodies, private organisations and the voluntary sector.
          c) The CNPA is committed to being an open, trustworthy and fair organisation
               which delivers its aims and objectives efficiently.




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         d) Scottish National Parks add value to Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage,
            the health, well-being, education and enjoyment of people who live in and
            visit the Park, and the local, regional and national economy.
         e) The Cairngorms National Park has a rich and varied landscape and wildlife
            which is of international importance.
         f) The Cairngorms National Park is home to 25% of the UK’s threatened species.
         g) Almost 40% of the Park is specially protected because of its landscape or
            wildlife.
         h) People have lived in the Cairngorms National Park for thousands of years
            and their activities have and will continue to impact on the landscape and
            wildlife of the Park (need for sustainable development & lifestyles).
         i) The Cairngorms National Park offers excellent sporting and outdoor activity
            facilities making a significant contribution to people’s health, well-being,
            education and enjoyment as well as the Scottish tourism product.
         j) The Cairngorms National Park is home to 16,000 people and welcomes 1.4m
            visitors every year making a significant contribution to the national, regional
            and local economy.

Overall Approach and Tactics

14.   There needs to be an emphasis on working with partners to promote messages and
      communicate information. Much of the work being carried out has to be done in
      partnership and it is vital that the various partners also play their part in
      communicating messages about the Cairngorms National Park. It is important for
      CNPA to keep partners well informed and make sure they feel involved and that
      their contribution is valued.

15.   The overall approach must therefore:
         a) encourage and build on partnership working and use partners as information
             intermediaries as much as possible;
         b) create an “account manager” system for dealing with the larger and more
             complex partner organisations to ensure there is a consistent approach to
             communications;
         c) establish a Park-wide PR forum to co-ordinate communications to make best
             use of available skills and resources and avoid duplication;
         d) target specific interest groups with information tailored for them, rather than
             trying to produce information of interest to everyone;
         e) facilitate two way communication and develop listening mechanisms;
         f) utilise face to face communication where possible and innovative, sustainable
             ways of stimulating discussion and debate;
         g) lay the foundations for communications in the future by working closely with
             children and young people to create ambassadors;
         h) generate a sense of pride in being part of the Cairngorms National Park.
Communication Action Plan




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16.   With limited resources, it is important to prioritise communication activity which
      meets the organisational needs of the CNPA. Below are the activities proposed.

Media Relations
17.   Media work will be a core element of the communications activity and will focus on
      both local media including community newsletters and websites and specialist
      publications aimed at land managers, developers, environmentalists and the tourist
      industry. Local newspapers and community newsletters will play a vital role in
      many local communities in the Park’s area and the CNPA should be supporting
      these publications where possible as they are part of the very fabric of the area. In
      addition to the mainstream media, articles should be placed in the publications
      produced by partner and other key organisations, such as RSPB and NTS. Both
      produce magazines with very high readership. Most organisations will also produce
      some form of staff magazine or newsletter and the communications team should aim
      to include material in these on a regular basis. A Park-wide press officers group
      should be created to ensure communications about the Park is co-ordinated with all
      our main partners.

CNPA Website
18.   The Cairngorms National Park Authority website was established to provide
      information about the Park Authority and its work. It is not aimed at promoting the
      Park and its special qualities but at keeping people informed and helping to co-
      ordinate work being carried out to deliver the National Park Plan and meet the Park
      aims. Work is currently underway to consider options on how a customer-oriented
      website on the Park itself can be developed in partnership with others which will
      meet the needs of visitors and other customer groups.

Working Groups, Forums and Briefings
19.   There are already a significant number of forums and groups that meet on a regular
      basis and it would be foolish to undermine these by overloading people with too
      many commitments. With the approval of the National Park Plan the forums
      managed by the CNPA have been reviewed to ensure they are aligned with the Park
      Plan’s strategic objectives and priorities for action.

20.   Seven delivery teams have been established which focus on delivering the priority
      for action outcomes by 2012. Three forums, in addition to the Local Outdoor Access
      Forum (LOAF), will focus on the three strategic objectives of the plan – Conserving
      and Enhancing the Park, Living and Working in the Park and Enjoying and
      Understanding the Park. These will evolve and replace the Integrated Land
      Management, Economic and Social Development and Visitor Services and Tourist
      Information forums respectively. The purpose of these forums is to allow all
      interested parties to be kept informed of progress being made against the National
      Park Plan and to offer advice on potential issues and future decisions which can be
      shared with the CNPA Board and other partner organisations. They will also provide
      a useful networking opportunity and provide a communication mechanism which
      reaches a wide range of interested parties.




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21.   In addition, a Strategy Group will oversee the longer term issues affecting the Park
      such as monitoring the ‘health indicators’ of the Park and developing the next Park
      Plan 2012-2017.

22.   Finally, one to one briefings with critical decision makers and influencers will make
      sure they are kept informed and understand the role of the CNPA and are aware of
      progress being made in delivering the National Park Plan. This will include
      Ministerial visits to the Park and regular meetings with key influencers and partners
      including the media.

Promotional and Print Material
23.   There is a need for a suite of printed materials, targeted at different audiences on a
      variety of topics. Care will be taken to avoid duplication with our partners and
      where ever possible the use of new technology should limit the need for printed
      material. Corporate materials about the CNPA are limited to our Corporate Plan,
      Annual Report and ‘The Work of the CNPA’ booklet. All other materials will make
      use of the Park brand and promote the Park or the work of the National Park Plan.

Events Programme
24.   In order to raise the profile of the Cairngorms National Park with some of our key
      decision makers and influencers the Park Authority and its partners need to have a
      presence on a national as well as local/regional basis. As national events can be
      expensive these must be carefully selected to meet specific communication objectives.
      Following the general and local elections in May we need to build up contacts with
      new Ministers, MSPs and local councillors and with the quinquennial review taking
      place next year we must ensure we are able to demonstrate the value the Cairngorms
      National Park and CNPA have delivered for Scotland as a whole. A shared presence
      at the Royal Highland Show with our Scottish Executive Environment and Rural
      Development partners provided an opportunity to target the new Ministers and
      other MSPs as well as farmers, land managers, children and young people. Equally,
      a shared event at Holyrood with Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park
      Authority can help promote the value National Parks deliver for Scotland as a whole.

25.   The various community events, agricultural fairs and Highland Games are part and
      parcel of the way of life for many in the Park. However, attending each event with a
      manned stall is very costly, both in terms of staff time and exhibition and print
      materials and we simply do not have the resources to do it. Participating in some
      and not others needs a clear rational to justify the effective use of public sector funds.
      As our public sector partners also have a need to reach local communities, a
      partnership approach where a Park branded stand is taken and manned by CNPA
      and our partners may provide an effective solution. Alternatively, where attending
      is not possible support could be offered by creating a banner or signage which could
      be erected which remind people that they are within the Cairngorms National Park.

Park Ambassador’s



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26.    Board members play a significant role in helping to raise the profile of the Park,
       clarify the role of the CNPA and explain what we and our partners aim to achieve
       through the delivery of the National Park Plan. This is an invaluable role whether it
       is done formally as hosts or speakers at conferences and events or informally when
       meeting members of the public at community meetings or local gatherings. Each
       Board member has their own network of people and organisations they are able to
       directly influence and by making the most of these opportunities a great deal can be
       achieved to gain understanding and support for the Park and the Park Authority.

Communication Activities Table by Objectives

  CNPA Objectives        Communications Activity        Lead               Target
                                                        Partners           Audience
  Lead & co-ordinate     Delivery teams, monitor &      CNPA               National Park
  delivery of National   report on outcomes (annual                        Plan partners
  Park Plan              report, annual seminar, 6-
                         monthly progress reports,
                         regular update e-bulletins,
                         share information on the
                         website), advisory forums,
                         strategy group
  Gain partner support   Strategy Group, account        CNPA, Strategy     National Park
  and demonstrate best   managers between CNPA          Group partners,    Plan partners,
  practice in            and partner organisations,     Park PR Group      decision
  partnership working    promote joint successes via                       makers &
                         Park PR Group                                     influencers
  Add value by           Strategy group, ‘On the        CNPA, Strategy     National Park
  maximising use of      Ground’/SEARS initiative,      Group, delivery    Plan partners
  available resources    delivery teams, a Park-wide    teams, Park PR     & decision
                         PR forum to co-ordinate        Group              makers &
                         communication activities                          influencers
  Demonstrate value of   National events, ministerial   CNPA &             decision
  the National Park(s)   & MSP visits and briefings,    LLTTNPA            makers &
                         annual reports, seminars,                         influencers
                         local events, media
                         relations




Communications Activities Table by Stakeholder Groups

  Stakeholder            Communications Activity
  Public Sector          Strategy group, account managers, Park PR Group, ‘On the




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  Partners (16 in total)   Ground’/SEARS initiative, delivery teams and advisory forums
  Local Communities        AoCC, advisory forums, delivery teams, Cairngorms Action
                           Training Scheme, Community Investment Programme, Park Life,
                           e-bulletin, John Muir Award, pre-board meetings, board
                           meetings, board at Community Council meets, CNPA
                           consultations, community planning & needs survey, media
                           relations, local events, Community Newsletter Awards, schools &
                           youth groups
  Local Businesses         Cairngorms Chamber of Commerce, DMOs & marketing groups,
                           advisory forums, delivery teams, Brand Management Committee,
                           tourism conference, CNPA training schemes, Park Life, e-bulletin,
                           CNPA consultations, community planning & needs survey,
                           media relations, local events
  Landowners & Land        Advisory forums, delivery teams, public grant schemes, CNPA
  Managers                 training schemes, Park Life, CNPA consultations, media relations,
                           events, 1to1 briefings
  Key decision makers      1to1 briefings, ministerial visits, national events & conferences,
  & influencers            mailings (e.g. annual report), media relations, advisory forums,
                           strategy group

Evaluation
27.    Carry out an opinion poll in 2008 and 2012 with our partner organisations, local
       communities, local businesses, land managers and owners and key decision makers
       and influencers to determine whether people:
          a) understand the role of the CNPA and its partners in helping to achieve the
              Park aims;
          b) are enthusiastic and supportive of the Cairngorms National Park both within
              and outwith the Park Boundary;
          c) are willing to act as ambassadors and communicate accurate and helpful
              information about the Park;
          d) understand the value National Parks offer Scotland as a whole.

Consultation

28.    This paper has been prepared following an informal discussion session with the
       Board on 26th January which presented some perspectives on our stakeholders’ views
       on the Park and the work of the Park Authority. Further discussions with David
       Green, Jane Hope and the Management Team on our stakeholders and our priorities
       for the coming five years and further work has led to prioritising who our target
       audiences should be and setting clear communication objectives for the organisation.
       In addition, input was sought from an external Highland based Communications
       Consultancy, Platform PR.

Policy Context




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29.    This paper supports the Park Authority’s role to lead and co-ordinate the collective
       delivery of the National Park Plan. It also supports effective partnership working
       through a focused approach to stakeholder engagement and communications.

Financial Implications

30.    The strategy recognises the important role communication plays to allow the CNPA
       to fulfil its role and meet its objectives. Given our limited resources it aims to focus
       our resources on specific target audiences and communication objectives. The Board
       agreed to allocate additional resources to the Strategy and Communications Group
       to help address Climate Change in June 2007. As much of the work on Climate
       Change is linked to the National Park Plan and as communication was recognised as
       a critical role the CNPA can deliver to help tackle climate change this additional
       resource will also support this wider need for effective communication. It is
       therefore anticipated that much of the work identified will fall within the resources
       allocated to the Strategy and Communications Group, however, it is important to
       recognise that support from the Board, other internal groups and external partners is
       essential if these communication objectives are to be met.

Next Steps

31.    The proposed strategy is aimed at fostering the support and active engagement by all
       our stakeholders, particularly our public sector partners. Agreement as to how we
       can jointly deliver the communication objectives needs to be sought. A Park PR
       Group which involves all our public sector partners in the first instance will help
       ensure a joined up approach is taken while delivery team members will need to
       consider how progress against the National Park Plan is communicated within their
       own organisations and with their network of contacts. In addition, an informal
       discussion with the Board is planned to consider how Board members in their
       ambassadorial role can best support our communication objectives. This strategy
       will be used to direct our stakeholder engagement and communications activity over
       the next five years and reports on progress will be presented to the Board as part of
       the regular Corporate Plan Theme five reports.

Francoise van Buuren
10th August, 2007

francoisevanbuuren@cairngorms.co.uk




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