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B43/1991 GUIDELINES FOR PHONE CONTACT BY BENEFITS PROGRAM STAFF WITH MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA
DATE OF ISSUE: 27 August 1991
GUIDELINES FOR PHONE CONTACT BY BENEFITS PROGRAM STAFF WITH MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA
1.Due to the potential for seemingly non-controversial matters to develop into major events when publicised by the media the following guidelines are issued for the assistance of Benefits Program personnel.
2.When receiving an enquiry from a member of the media all Branch Office Officers should receive the call with politeness, and find out:
(a)the name and the address of the caller;
(b)the caller's phone number;
(c)the name and the address of the media organisation that the caller represents;
(d)the information that the caller is seeking;
and then explain that they are instructed to refer such an enquiry to a more senior officer.
3.Throughout the discussion officers should use a friendly conversational manner and should not make the caller feel as though he or she is being interrogated.
4.The officer should advise the caller that he or she will pass the details onto the State Program Manager (Benefits)(SPM(B)) and that the officer will request SPM (B) to respond to the caller as soon as possible. The name and phone number of the SPM(B) should be provided to the caller. The officer should then provide the SPM(B) with a full report immediately.
5.The SPM(B) will then respond to the caller as appropriate. The SPM(B) should keep informed the Deputy Commissioner, relevant Assistant Secretary and, if appropriate, the Minister's Office.
6.If the information sought is of a sensitive policy or political nature then the SPM(B) should advise Central Office so that the call can be handled in accordance with Central Office Minute on Management of Media Issues dated 30 November 1989.
7.Assistant Secretaries, SPM(B)s and the DSH General Manager will be aware of the Secretary's Minute of 23 April 1991 concerning Management of Radio/Radio talkback issues.
8.SPM(B) should provide the National Program Director (Benefits) with a copy of any correspondence to and/or from Central Office Parliamentary and Public Relations Branch.
9.A Regional Office Officer should follow the same procedures as a Branch Office Officer except that he or she should provide the name and phone number of the Manager of the Regional Office to the caller and should report to that Manager immediately. The Regional Office Manager should advise the SPM(B) immediately.
10.It will be a matter of judgement whether the Regional Office Manager or the SPM(B) handles the enquiry.
11.The same procedures should be followed as for Branch Office Officers except that the Central Office officer concerned should advise the caller from the media that he or she will advise the Director in charge of his or her Section. The Director should advise the relevant Assistant Secretary immediately.
12.It will be a matter of judgement whether the Director or the Assistant Secretary handles the enquiry.
Defence Service Homes (DSH):
13.A DSH Branch Office officer should follow the same procedures as a Branch Office Officer except that he or she should provide the name and phone number of the State Manager to the caller and should report to the State Manager immediately.
14.The State Manager should advise the DSH General Manager immediately.
15.A DSH Central Office officer should follow the same procedures as for Central Office officers.
16.If there is any question about these guidelines please contact Warwick Moloney on 06-2896355.
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