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Communications plan

From Open Government Pioneer Project

Communications plan


The aim of the communications plan is to:

  • Ensure all Partners are in agreement with the ways of working for programme comms
  • Ensure cohesive and consistent messaging about the Project by all Partners at any time
  • Identify and maximise opportunities to raise the profile of the programme externally
  • Establish ways of gathering assets across Partners to support both the comms strategy and as evidence for the programme evaluation Whilst each partner is responsible for the promotion of their specific contribution to the project, SCVO can support with messaging relating specifically to Project Board, Reference Group and governance arrangements as needed.

Communicating project outputs

All the core partners for this project are committed to:

  • Opening up the way we will communicate this project
  • Ensuring cohesive and consistent messaging about the project by all partners at any time
  • Identifying and maximising opportunities to raise the profile of the programme
  • Sharing ideas and assets across partners to make our approach to communications as effective as possible

Draft press release message

  • SCVO/WCVA/NIEL/Involve together with a consortia of partners from the UK home nations has been awarded a grant of £500k to take forward the Open Government Pioneers project. The UK and devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have committed to making the way they run their administrations more open and transparent. To make best use of this opportunity, the pioneers project will over two years bring to citizens a range of tools, techniques and peer support to scrutinise, participate and challenge their governments to serve their citizens better. The project is formally linked to the International Open Government Partnership, where citizens and civil society have been given an equal say in the commitments made by 70 countries to govern more openly, a key agenda of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Key messages

  • Open Government Pioneers is an exciting and unique collaborative project developed by SCVO, Northern Ireland Environment Link, Involve UK and Wales Council for Voluntary Action in collaboration with and with support from the Big Lottery Fund UK.
  • The ‘test and learn’ initiative is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and aims to open up the process through which government works towards the Sustainable Development Goals
  • At the heart of the Open Government Pioneers initiative is growing the movement of people and organisations that want to actively participate in their governments at Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland levels.
  • The focus for the project is securing government actions and commitments at the devolved UK nation level, using the Sustainable Development Goals as a shared framework for progress and strengthening the role of civil society as a key stakeholder, and conduit for citizens, in open governance reform and sustainable development
  • We will be using a mix of seminars, webinars, meetups, online digital platforms and crowdsourcing policy analysis to achieve these aims. It is a new and innovative approach which will encourage and support new digital ways for people to come together openly in order to secure change from their governments.
  • There is a strong international dimension to this project, as the project aims to build on the global Pioneer status that Scotland has been given as part of the international Open Government Partnership.
  • The project will make the most of the opportunity that an Open Government agenda provides to secure progress within the UK home nations towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • On a practical level, the project will build bring together and skill up people who want to participate more directly in their government in the UK home nations. It will support the sharing of learning and practical ways of using open government approaches with people from other countries. And it will ensure that participation by citizens has a real influence on government policy at the UK devolved nation level.
  • Each of the partners will be delivering individual and specific contributions to the project using dedicated coordinators and development staff. The project has developed a clear governance and management structure to ensure success and shared learning.

Key audiences

Audience Relevance Approach
Influencers - politicians, government officials, institutional partners Key people to bring on board as advocates and supporters of the Project One-2-ones with project partners, conferences, briefings and policy papers against SDG themes
Participants - civil society activists, engaged citizens Target audience for enhancing direct participation in the Open Government movement Engaging dedicated media and websites to draw in engaged citizens who want to connect with other to make change happen against SDG themes

Using the Project's digital platforms to engage people in the Project's activities.

General Public Key audience for bringing visibility to the Project, its scope and impact, with the hope of inspiring more people to become active participants Mainstream media engaged on specific hot topics related to government delivery e.g. privacy, corruption, transparency and their connection to the SDG framework

Media channels

What media channels should we use?

Please add to this list

Media Scope
Guardian Society UK wide
Third Sector News UK wide
Civil Society UK wide
Charity Times UK wide
WiredGov UK wide
Huffington Post UK wide
LocalGov England
Digital by Default News UK wide
Third Force News Scotland
Local Government Information Unit Scotland Scotland
Public Finance Magazine UK Wide
PoliticsHome UK wide

Communication protocols

Website and general information

The Wiki - The Wiki will provide the primary information site for the project, and will be an interactive resource for the project's overall development. This is a collaborative site maintained by SCVO under a Creative Commons CCL licence.

The Open Government UK Forums and Website - will provide the primary blog, news and article archive for the project. It will also host the forums used by the partners to develop the civil society networks in all the UK home nations. This resource is managed and maintained by Involve UK.

Additional digital platforms will be developed / or engaged during the course of the Project. This will likely include; crowdsourcing websites, ideation websites, e-petition websites, webinar hosting sites and platforms to support collaborative letters / reports.

Social Media

All Partners are asked to regularly promote Open Government Pioneers activity on their respective social media channels. On Twitter the agreed hashtag is #OpenGovPioneers

Media enquiries

Final copy for high profile announcements should be sent to all partners for information and comment at least two working days before issued to media

In the event of press enquiries or other stakeholder interest calls should be directed as follows:

Project specific enquiries

Enquiries related to each Partner’s specific project should be directed to and handled by the relevant comms or project manager within that partner organisation. Each partner should then subsequently enter these details onto the Shared Project Management System and record this for overall evaluation, directing to the Project Coordinator, SCVO (if required).

General enquiries

General enquiries should be directed to the Project Director (SCVO)

Sensitive issues

In case of any sensitive issues, media enquiries should be directed to the Chair of the Project Board and the Project Director who will respond and alert all partners. 

Public speaking and presentations at events

Event presentations - Presentations at stakeholder events offer a significant opportunity to promote the project and position the importance of deploying open approaches to civil society engagement in opening up government.

The Chair of the Project Board, Project Director and Delivery Group members will respond to and seek speaking slots for members to talk about Project and these will be shared with the Project's networks.

  • With sufficient notice (minimum 3 – 5 working days) a standard PPT slide or key bullet points can be provided by SCVO on the latest news from across the project.
  • When talking about Project in their own specific public speaking opportunities all Partners should record this within Shared Project management system.

BLF enquiries

Enquiries regarding the investment by the Big Lottery Fund should be directed to: TBC See also the BLF comms protocol - TBC

Marketing Launch, activities and timeline

Time Comms activity
Oct 2016 Official announcement

Supporting BLF media activity

Oct-Dec 2016 Comms set up

Identifying ways of working together on PR and comms across the programme and gathering essential assets

Dec 2016 Social media drive

Marking the Paris OGP Summit - blogs, tweets, articles

Jan 2017-Sep 2018 General Comms delivery

Creating, recording, sharing and promoting the programme's activity

Visibility of national, UK and international conferences

Delivery of specific participation campaigns as part of the project

Specific articles, blogs, letters, policy papers and digital outputs

Oct-Dec 2018 Project wrap-up

Communicating and celebrating the Project's story

Marking the Dec OGP Summit - blogs, tweets, articles

Branding arrangements

Identity Requirements
Open Government Pioneers Partnership Project logo to be designed and used by all partners for project related correspondence and briefings
Big Lottery Fund UK Logo to be displayed on formal correspondence and media briefings
Individual partners Own logos and branding arrangements apply for any non-project related activity and can also be used to supplement project related correspondence and briefings as above

About the Core Partners

Partner Description Project role
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.  A dedicated team is working across public, private and third sectors in Scotland to increase digital participation. ·         The lead partner for the project, and the grant holder for Big Lottery Fund.

·         SCVO is responsible for overall project development, and as secretariat to the Project Board.

·         SCVO leads on the project's activities in Scotland and the project's activities to connect with civil society people internationally in the other 14 Open Government Sub-national Pioneer areas.

Involve UK Involve is a think tank and charity specialising in public participation. Our mission is to inspire, innovate and embed effective citizen engagement, so that members of the public are able to take and influence the decisions that affect their lives. ·         The England lead for the Project, responsible for Project activity in England and for connecting Project activity with the UK Government Open Government Action plans.

·         Involve will also take a lead in maintaining and developing the digital platforms for this Project, including the Project website and online Forums.

·         Involve will also support the international connectivity for the Project, and lead on engagement with international partners from non-Pioneer areas.

Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) WCVA is the voice of the voluntary sector in Wales. We represent and campaign for voluntary organisations, volunteers and communities.

WCVA is a national umbrella body with over 3,000 organisations as members, and together with Wales' network of County Voluntary Councils and Volunteer Centres, we provide a support infrastructure for the whole of the third sector in Wales.

·         The Wales lead for the project, responsible for Project activity in Wales
Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) The Northern Ireland Open Government Network is an alliance of individual citizens and representatives of voluntary/community organisations with the following vision: “To contribute to delivering more open, transparent and accountable government that empowers citizens to shape decisions that impact on their lives.”

Northern Ireland Environment Link was appointed to act as secretariat to the Network in 2015. The secretariat was appointed to provide practical, technical and human resource support to the Steering Committee and members of the NI Open Government Network to deliver the two year action plan.  The Steering Committee meets every six weeks and is responsible overseeing and supporting the Secretariat to deliver the 24 month NI Open Government Network Action Plan.

·         The Northern Ireland lead for the project, responsible for Project activity in Northern Ireland

·         NIEL will also lead on the UK cross-jurisdictional coordination activity for the Project.

Big Lottery Fund (BLF) UK The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes. 

Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans. 

BLF UK is the core funder for the project, which is being delivered through their Accelerating Ideas programme strand.

Key contacts / spokespeople

Partner Organisation Named Contact Comms lead Communications Role
SCVO Ruchir Shah (Project Director) Paul Bradley Scotland and Overall project comms lead
WCVA Anna Nichol (Director of Public Affairs, WCVA) Lynne Reynolds Wales comms lead
NIEL Craig McQuicken (CEO, NIEL) Jonathan Bell – NI comms lead
Involve UK Tim Hughes England and UK OGN comms lead
Project Board Lucy McTernan, SCVO Chair of the Project Board
Big Lottery Fund UK Big Lottery Fund Media team: 0207 211 1888,, out of hours 07867 500 572 * Website: * Twitter: @biglotteryfund #BigLottery * Facebook: Enquiries about the grant
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