This talk won't be cheap

The Vancouver Island Health Authority's communications division will soon be getting some solicited advice. According to documents posted last week on BC Bid, the "over the past number of years, demands on the Division have increased." So the authority is commissioning a communications audit to "seek facts as well as perceptions" in assessing the division's "current activity and capacity in the areas of public relations, international and external communications, community engagement and government relations." No word on whether the audit will also assess the division's capacity for circumventing freedom of information requests. The following is a complete copy of the relevant portion of that request for proposal.

A. REQUIREMENTS AND RESPONSE

1. VIHA SITUATION/OVERVIEW

The Vancouver Island Health Authority is one of six provincial health authorities established by the Government of British Columbia in 2002. Through a network of 138 hospitals, clinics, centres, health units, and residential facilities, the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) provides health care to over 752,000 people (17% of BC's population) on Vancouver Island, on the islands of the Georgia Strait, and in the mainland communities north of Powell River and south of Rivers Inlet. More than 17,000 VIHA health care professionals, technicians, and support staff provide excellent care and services to people living within our region. As well, contracted service partners provide direction health services and support to people across the health authority. VIHA's annual budget is $1.6 billion.

VIHA's Five-Year Strategic Plan sets the overall direction for future health service delivery as the organization moves toward a vision of a single, full-integrated organization that provides the best care and service to VIHA residents, no matter where they live or how they access our health care system. The Ministry of Health Services works together with BC's health authorities to provide quality, appropriate and timely health services to British Columbians.

VIHA's Communications Division is currently comprised of 13 staff located across the Island (organization chart, Appendix B) and provides a variety of communications services to the organization in support of VIHA's overall goals and objectives. Over the past number of years, demands on the Division have increased. VIHA is committed to improving communications with its key stakeholders - both internal and external. In order to assess the effectiveness of current communication practices and develop a baseline for future assessment, a communication audit will be undertaken.

2. PROJECT SCOPE AND REQUIREMENTS

The proponent will conduct a strategic communications audit to assess terms of current activity and capacity in the areas of public relations, internal and external communications, community engagement and government relations. The goal of the audit is to seek facts as well as perceptions, and from these to propose recommendations that will ensure improved management of communications. The audit will be a systematic assessment, both formal and informal, of VIHA's capacity for and performance of, essential communications practices. At the conclusion of the audit, the proponent will develop, in conjunction with VIHA Communications staff, a comprehensive 3-year communications strategic plan and operational plan, which incorporates all aspects of internal and external communications and is focused on strengthening VIHA's communications strategies and programs.

The audit and subsequent report are requested to be completed by November 28, 2008.

The proponent will also provide ongoing consultancy support to the CEO and the Executive Team under terms to be mutually agreed on the basis of a "call off" contract for a three year term with a discretionary renewal term of one year.

2.3 RELATED CONSIDERATIONS

The audit will include reviewing existing results of focus groups, and surveys, as well as conducting new research with internal and external stakeholders. The audit will also include an assessment of the effectiveness and credibility of current communication vehicles and media, including publications, web site, intranet, town meetings, face-to-face communication, and other communication media.
2.4 OTHER REQUIREMENTS

The proponent will be an individual or group with significant demonstrated experience in providing successful public relations and strategic consulting advice to a major public sector organization in BC or Western Canada, ideally in a health care environment.

1 Comment

The Vancouver Island Health Authority has THIRTEEN!!!! communication staff? Whoa - that is really over the top.

What are they communicating that requires that many full time staff members? (aside from don't put anything in writing to thwart FOI requests - to).

Remind me again who these people are working for, and who is paying for their salaries and lifelong benefits?

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