The Irish Sea Pilot: Report on the communications strategy
Vincent M.A., Atkins, S.M., & Lumb C.M.
© Defra 2004


Strategic communication with stakeholders was a priority for the Pilot from the outset. In addition to stakeholders of the Irish Sea itself, a wider community having an interest in the Pilot was identified, including government administrations, policy makers and national bodies which had to be informed and consulted about the Pilot's progress. Consideration of the purposes of communication and audiences enabled a defined set of objectives to be set. The Pilot had to:
  1. inform all those interested in the Pilot of its purpose, timescale, progress and conclusions;
  2. identify sources of information essential to the successful operation and delivery of the Pilot;
  3. consult stakeholders at key milestones on progress, draft reports, objectives and conclusions to ensure that as far as possible, the Pilot was meeting the requirements of marine nature conservation and the wider social and economic needs of Irish Sea communities;
  4. consult stakeholders in relation to current and proposed legislation, regulation and enforcement measures and responsibilities;
  5. promote the Pilot's outcomes around the Irish Sea, within and outside the UK, with the European Commission (EC), with other countries bordering on the north-east Atlantic and with OSPAR.

The staff time and other resources available to the Pilot for implementing the communications strategy were limited, and the most cost effective means practicable were needed. Email and internet communication would be used as much as was acceptable to the intended audiences. Following a preliminary investigation with a cross section of stakeholders, a communications strategy (in full at annex 1) was adopted. containing the following elements:
  1. a stakeholder database would hold contact details including email addresses as far as possible;
  2. a website would hold background information, consultation documents progress and task reports, and would be used to publicise and promote the Pilot;
  3. a regular bulletin or Irish Sea Pilot Newsletter, would be produced periodically, and widely disseminated, and articles would be submitted for inclusion in the newsletters of other organisations;
  4. presentations would be given to selected workshops, seminars and conferences, where a large number of stakeholders could be reached at one time or where a workshop was organised so as to engage a small number of key stakeholders actively;
  5. bilateral meetings would be held with stakeholders whose contribution to the Pilot or its outcomes was deemed to be critical;
  6. links would be maintained with other Government initiatives arising from the publication of Safeguarding our Seas (Defra 2002).


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Please cite as: Vincent M.A., Atkins, S.M., & Lumb C.M., (2004), The Irish Sea Pilot: Report on the communications strategy