University Council

Public Relations and Communications (GLP8)


Governance Level Principle - No. GLP8

Relevant UTAS Ordinance and/or
Rule Reference No.
Ordinances 1 (Role of Council), 3 (The Vice-Chancellor), 6 (Council Delegations)
Relevant State/Federal Govt.
Legislation
University of Tasmania Act 1992
Commencement Date 8 April 2005
Review Date 8 June 2010

 

1. Statement of Context

The University of Tasmania seeks to maintain a high profile and a clear image, locally, nationally and internationally through effective promotion of its identity, vision and reputation. Strong engagement with its communities is also a key priority.
The University's contribution to the State and its communities, and the achievements of staff, students and graduates are celebrated and widely communicated.

2. Objectives

The objectives of this principle are to:

  • establish who officially speaks on behalf of the University;
  • encourage external engagement by members of the University community as expert commentators;
  • ensure coherent management of public issues and minimise risk management issues relating to the University's official interaction with the media; and
  • establish broad guidelines for official University communication and engagement with representatives of external institutions.

3. Protocols

3.1 Only authorised people should officially speak on behalf of the University about the management of the University as an institution

To ensure that accurate and consistent information is passed to the public and the media on matters relating to the management of the University as an institution, Council authorises these representatives to officially comment for and on behalf of the University in the areas where they have responsibility:

  • Chancellor;
  • Deputy Chancellor;
  • Vice-Chancellor;
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor;
  • Pro Vice-Chancellors;
  • Chair, Academic Senate;
  • Deans;
  • Executive Director, Finance and Administration;
  • Academic Registrar;
  • Director Public Relations and University Extension; and
  • Director, Policy and Planning;
  • or their nominees.

No other member of the University community should act as an official University spokesperson on the management of the University as an institution.

3.2 Members of the University community are encouraged to provide public comment as academic experts

Freedom of ideas and freedom of speech or expression are important elements of the academic fabric of the University. Also, active external engagement is a key priority – the University must serve its communities and become a sought-after local, national and international partner across all its fields of endeavour.

As academic experts, members of the University community are therefore encouraged to engage in external public discourse, where they are suitably qualified to do so, on matters such as:

  • issues of public interest;
  • issues pertaining to higher education; and
  • specific areas of expertise.

In doing this it is important that people make it clear that the views expressed are their own. These views should not be presented as being the official views of the University.

3.3 Contact with the media on potentially significant and/or controversial issues should be elevated to an appropriate level

Where it is suspected that an issue will have significant impact on the University and/or is controversial, media contact should be elevated to an appropriate level so that a suitable response can be appropriately co-ordinated. In the first instance, the Director, Public Relations and University Extension should usually be contacted. In terms of critical incidents, direct notification to the Executive Director Finance and Administration and/or the Vice-Chancellor may be necessary.

3.4 Official communication and engagement with representatives of external institutions should be appropriate

A common sense approach is necessary for official communication and engagement with representatives of external institutions. It is important that any communication and engagement occurs at an appropriate level and in an appropriate manner.

As a guide, official communication and engagement should generally be on a peer-to-peer basis. For example, the Chancellor or the Vice-Chancellor would normally be involved in direct contact with a Head of Government. Likewise, the Vice-Chancellor would normally be involved in official communication and engagement with another Vice-Chancellor or the Chief Executive of another major institution.

Information about official external communication and engagement is to be appropriately recorded, retained and, where appropriate, disseminated to those with a legitimate need to know.

4. Implementation

The Vice-Chancellor has responsibility for the implementation of the Public Relations and Communications Principle and the development and implementation of supporting plans, operational policies and procedures.

All members of the University community are responsible for ensuring their external engagement and interactions with the media support this principle and related plans, operational policies and procedures.

Council is responsible for over-viewing the performance of the University in terms of official external engagement and interactions with the media.

 

Approved by Council on 8 April 2005
Reviewed Council June 2006 (Resolution no. 06/3/43)