Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Supporting the Partnerships Victoria in Schools Project

The Victorian Government is building 11 new schools through a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement. In Australia, using PPPs for major government infrastructure projects remains contentious and requires careful stakeholder engagement and issues management.

SenateSHJ was engaged to develop the communication strategy and implementation tools under tight timeframes. We used a workshop approach which brought together key Partnerships Victoria in Schools Project (PViSP) team members and government departments to prioritise stakeholders and issues. We developed an overarching story that would drive how the project was communicated, and provided actions and timelines.

An important part of the strategy was to have a comprehensive understanding of each local community so we could provide a strategic and tailored communication approach. This involved visiting each area where the new schools would be built to understand local community demographics, geographic layouts, community resources, issues and needs.

To support the roll-out of the project we developed a communication kit for the PViSP team that was circulated to Ministers and departmental media units. This provided project information to promote consistent and clear communication about the project that reinforced the communication strategy. The kit included information such as questions and answers, tools to track and map stakeholder relationships, timelines and activities relating to project milestones and ministerial events.

The success of the strategy also saw us appointed to support its implementation and provide advice during the evaluation of the final three consortium tender bids.