Communications and consultation staff within amalgamating councils have a dual role in the process. They must both assist those leading the amalgamation in undertaking internal and external communications activities about the amalgamation, as well as take stock of, and plan for, the future operations of the amalgamated unit. The activities immediately below apply to the latter. Establishing a framework for engaging consultative committees and interest groups in the new council, including policies and procedures, is also discussed below
Internal and external communications and consultation activities regarding the amalgamation process are documented in the Guidance for Leaders section, as a critical function in the amalgamation process. Though not listed here, communications staff and any working group established will work alongside leaders in also delivering those activities.
The Office of Local Government provides guidance for council community engagement. A checklist of considerations for amalgamation-related consultation (PDF, 156KB), along with other helpful information, can be found on the Resources page.
Stage 1 - Review
- Establish a communications working group within the project management framework. Critical paths and/or timelines to be established.
- Determine the current state of internal and external communications systems. This includes collating and reviewing systems and processes, policy, standards and reporting relating to internal and external communications activities. The 'Resources' page provides two checklists for communications: Internal communications (PDF, 100KB) and External and media communications (PDF, 163KB).
Stage 2 - Plan
Review all current systems and processes, policy and reporting requirements for each council. In doing so:
- Audit communications processes for effectiveness.
- Identify better practice processes across the merging councils.
- Align strategies.
- Address any ICT systems issues.
- Develop a communications framework and plan for the new entity. This will be unique to each entity due to size, resources and functionality and may include all policy, process and systems, internal and external communications, events, public relations, branding etc. The 'Resources' list provides a Marketing and Communications Framework (PDF, 468KB).
Stage 3 - Mobilise
- Finalise the new communications framework and plan, and all supporting policy, procedures, reporting requirements and any budget implications.
- Continue to link with key internal working groups where applicable and support community consultation and engagement strategies.
Stage 4 - Implement
- Implement the new communications framework and plan.
- Ensure all procedures are communicated and accessible to employees.
- Develop and implement any training requirements.