This policy supports employees in promoting the role of the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) as a provider of educational leadership through the development of quality policies, programs and practices in school curriculum, assessment and examinations, the registration and accreditation of schools, teaching standards and teacher accreditation.
1. Objectives – policy statement
1.1 The education of students from Year K to Year 12, school registration and accreditation, teaching standards and teacher accreditation attract considerable media attention and NESA sees the media as a valuable channel to communicate with the community.
1.2 NESA supports proactive engagement with the media to maximise awareness of the service we provide and minimise the appearance of misleading and/or incorrect information.
1.3 All employees should ensure they meet their responsibilities under this policy.
2. Media unit
2.1 The Media Unit provides services related to internal and external communication including media management.
2.2 The Media Unit offers a 24-hour media advisory service with duties including media liaison and critical issue management.
2.3 The Media Unit Officer on call should be the first point of contact for all media enquiries.
3. Public comment
3.1 Public comment by employees includes public speaking engagements, comments on radio and television or in letters to newspapers, in social media, and expressing views in books, journals or notices if it is expected that the comments will spread to the community at large.
3.2 Employees, as individual members of the community, have the right to make public comment and enter into public debate on political and social issues. However, there are some circumstances where this is inappropriate. For example, situations when the public comment, although made in a private capacity, may appear to be an official comment on behalf of NESA. In such circumstances, employees should preface their remarks with a comment that they are made in a private or union capacity and do not represent the official view of NESA.
3.3 As a general rule, employees can disclose official information that is normally given to members of the public seeking that information, but should only disclose other official information and documents when:
- proper authority has been given
- required to or authorised to do so by law, or
- called to give evidence in court.
In these cases, comments made by employees should be confined to factual information and should not express an opinion unless required to do so (for example, when asked to do so in court).
3.4 All staff engaging in public comment through the media should adhere to this policy.
4. Speaking to the media
Authority to comment
4.1 The CEO, Executive Directors and Chair of the Board have the authority to directly provide comment in accordance with NESA policies and be quoted as spokespersons in the media.
4.2 Executive Directors’ authority to comment and be quoted is limited to operational matters within their directorates.
4.3 The Media Unit is the primary point for the distribution of information to media outlets and/or journalists.
4.4 All requests received from the media should immediately be referred to the Media Unit.
4.5 The Media Unit will then ask the media representative to detail the information they seek and any relevant deadline, and to identify their accreditation and media organisation.
4.6 The Media Unit will then coordinate all content for the response in liaison with the relevant NESA officer/s for that request.
4.7 All responses will be edited by the Media Unit and prepared for the approval of the CEO or, where related to operational matters, to the relevant Executive Director prior to dispatch to the media by the Media Unit.
4.8 A copy of the final information provided to the media will be relayed to the relevant NESA officer for their records.
4.9 Any subsequent media coverage received will be recorded and sent to relevant staff.
4.10 The Media Unit also undertakes a proactive stance to media liaison. Besides attendance at executive meetings, they regularly consult with NESA officers to prepare information for the media on areas of interest to a wider audience.
5. Release of animated and static images
5.1 Approval is to be sought for all images of NESA officers and members of the community prior to release.
5.2 The NESA unit that commissions the images is responsible for storing the approval with the images in TRIM.
5.3 Images of students under the age of 18 require parental approval prior to release to the media.
6. Social media
6.1 NESA encourages use of social media technologies to enhance communication, collaboration and information exchange in support of organisational and NSW Government objectives.
6.2 The use of social media technology follows the same standards of professional practice and conduct associated with all communication activities in the public sector. NESA officers are expected to use common sense and judgement when making comment on social media.
6.3 NESA includes use of social media channels as part of its broader communications strategy and ensures that all activities are guided by a comprehensive plan detailing the rationale for use of social media, planned commencement and end dates, and detailed plans for the update and ongoing moderation of comments and feedback.
6.4 NESA reserves the right to edit social media contributions that:
- are defamatory, abusive or hateful
- include offensive, obscene or abusive language
- violate copyright or other forms of licences and consents
- encourage conduct that might constitute a criminal offence or give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any local, state, national or international law
- contravene the information security policies, code of conduct, communication/social media policies of NESA
- discuss or identify specific personal or departmental-related information.
7. Media contact
Media Unit: 02 9367 8248