Communications Plan (Communications Sector)

What is a communications plan?

A communications plan explains exactly how the project team intends on communicating information on a project, event, publication, etc. Detailed communications plans are not developed for all projects. Often, only questions and answers, media lines or other communications products are necessary. For many projects, the project merely requires monitoring to identify issues which require communications products. A Communications Sector representative can advise when a detailed communications plan is necessary.

When and why do you write a communications plan?

Communicating information to staff, clients, the public, etc. should not be haphazard. Project teams should include a Communications Sector representative on the project team early in the planning stages of the project. The project team need to identify all stakeholders (in advance), what information to share and how it will be shared. All project sensitivities, communications challenges, opportunities and issues need to be analysed in advance in order that the communications plan can address them.

A good communications plan will enhance project delivery and mitigate unnecessary problems. The project team can ensure that the plan addresses all issues by involving all key stakeholders in its development and ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of, and in agreement with how project information will be communicated.

Who writes the communications plan?

The Communications Sector, with project team input, will recommend which products and activities are best suited to communicate the project information and will write the communications plan for the team.

Who do you contact for communications planning services?

The Communications Sector Account Executive for Real Property Branch.

What are some communications activities or products that may be used to communicate project information and who is responsible for developing them?

Generally, there are two types of communications activities and products:

  1. Products and activities that help meet the operational requirements of your project: The project team manages the day-to-day project communications, such as internal correspondence, communications with suppliers and clients, etc. Other activities which may be undertaken include:
    • Web site: For larger, long-term projects it may be useful to have a Web site where information on a project can be posted. The site can be updated as the project advances. The project team is responsible for writing the content for the project Web site and obtaining approvals.
    • Consultation: Major, complex or sensitive projects may require consultation with the public or staff to provide them with the opportunity to ask questions, view plans, etc. The project team is responsible for organizing these consultations, while the communications advisor will handle communicating of information to the target audience.
  2. Products and activities to assist policy and corporate communications requirements of your project:

    The Communications Sector manages communications activities such as: preparing questions and answers, public notices, media releases and media lines. The project team is responsible for providing the required information and the Communications Sector is responsible for drafting the material and obtaining all the necessary approvals.

    • Questions and answers: A collection of questions the public, clients, staff, managers, media, etc. may ask, along with their response. When we develop questions and answers, we ask ourselves:
      • What information will individuals need or want?
      • What perceptions, concerns or sensitivities might individuals have, and what questions might they ask in response to them?
    • Public notice: For projects that impact the public such as lane closures on a bridge, the public must be advised in advance, of any impacts.
    • Media release (and media backgrounder): Certain projects will require a media release i.e., major, complex or sensitive projects that impact the public or will be of general public interest.

Forms, samples and checklists

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