Multnomah Education Service District

Pooling Professional Expertise for Education

MESD Communication Audit
 
Internal Communication Audit Report
 
March 17, 2016
Multnomah ESD embarked on a communication audit process in November 2015.  The purpose of the audit was to gather information from employees, board members, and administrators to inform MESDs communication goals, strategies and plan.  Phase 1 of the audit process focused on internal communication customs, practices, and procedures. The audit process included an electronic survey and 5 focus groups with over 30 representatives of classified staff, certificated staff, administrators, and board members. It also included a thorough review of materials and communications compiled and distributed by MESD programs, services, and departments.  The data from the survey in aggregate form is available in this report, along with the analysis of the auditors, and their recommendations. Many thanks to everyone that participated in the survey and focus groups.  The agency will now proceed into a review and reflection phase of this Phase 1 Internal Communications Audit report.  Details about next steps and participation in those steps will be published when available.  Phase 2 External Communications will begin in the fall of 2016.  Details about the phase will be published when available.
 
 
 
Welcome to the Communication Audit page!  This page contains information about the 2015 MESD Communication Audit including an executive summary of the audit process, the agency's need for an audit, audit scope, information about the auditors, and the audit schedule.  MESD has engaged ESD 112 as its auditor. 
 
Your participation is important!  The audit has multiple opportunities for staff and stakeholders to engage in the process.  Staff and stakeholder participation is important to provide data and feedback that will inform MESD decisions about communication procedures, practices, strategies, and materials to ensure that MESD staff and stakeholders receive  important information in a timely and accessible manner.  Please visit the Audit Engagement Matrix for details about how the audit provides staff and stakeholders with opportunities to participate.
 
Questions, More Information or Comments? For questions or more information about the Communication Audit please read the materials below.  This page will be updated with links, dates, and details as they become available during the process.  If the information below does not provide the information you seek or if you wish to comment on the overall process please submit a comment in the field provided below.  Please note MESDs community guidelines apply to all comments.

Audit Schedule

Audit Schedule
 
Note - For those wishing to participate in the classified or certificated focus groups please contact your AFSCME or MESDEA Association Presidents.  For those wishing to participate in the  supervisor or key communicator focus groups please contact your Cabinet member.  Board members please contact board leadership if you wish to participate in the board focus group. Parents and External Focus Group participants will be contacted by MESD. 
 

General Audit Information

Executive Summary

MESD is committed to open, transparent, and effective communication as a necessary component of the agency’s organization and operation. As provided in MESD Board policy, MESD’s ability to provide communication requires a communication plan, and the maintenance and operation of an effective communications program.[1]

 Best practices inform the agency’s decisions regarding communications.  The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) is a recognized professional association which guides best practices for district communications.  The NSPRA recommends a communications audit when:

●     The agency wants to  improve communication and support for its operations;

●     When a new superintendent or board majority takes office;

●     When a new public relations professional comes on board;

●     When a communication audit hasn't been conducted for five or more years.[2]

 The MESD has experienced all of these changes in the past nine months. Additionally, MESD does not currently have a communication plan as required by Board policy.  [3]

MESD’s ability to craft a communication plan and maintain and operate an effective communications program requires that we:

1)    Identify a position to oversee an all-agency communication audit which will gather data about the agency’s internal and external communication needs and existing communications infrastructure to inform the development of an MESD communication program

2)    Develop and maintain an MESD communication program with resources sufficient to meet the agency’s communication needs and to implement a board approved communication plan

3)    Develop and regularly update a board approved communication plan.

The Public Information Officer is tasked with the oversight and implementation of external and internal communications for the agency.  The PIO is prepared to oversee an audit to review and gather data about the agency’s communication needs and existing communications infrastructure. The data will inform updates to MESD’s communication program. In order to proceed with the audit the agency needs an independent communications auditor.

[1] MESD Board Policy KB Adopted 5/9/2014

[2] http://www.nspra.org/nspra-communication-audits

[3] MESD Board Policy KB Adopted 5/9/2014


Agency Need

The agency needs a communication plan to support internal (staff focused) and external (district, partner, community) focused communications. By working with an independent auditor with skills and expertise in ESD communications, MESD will meet the following MESD policy goals & agency needs and reap the following benefits:

●     Ensure that MESD provides meaningful opportunities to seek and use public input on issues affecting the operation of MESD

●     Deepen district and partner understanding of the goals, needs and accomplishments of the total educational program

●     Ensure the construction and maintenance of a planned, systematic, two-way process of communication between the Board & Superintendent and MESD employees, component districts and the community

●     Ensure the use of a variety of communication channels including meetings, letters, circulars, seminars, publications and personal contacts

●     Ensure that MESD has the information sharing and discussion channels necessary for resolving difference and eliminating misunderstandings

●     Ensure that MESD encourages informal as well as formal communication[4]

[4] MESD Board Policy KB Adopted 5/9/2014 
 

Mission Alignment

This project aligns with MESDs mission of improving the lives of children and family through education, health, and support services by ensuring that the agency has the ability to effectively communicate with its staff, partners, districts, and community. 

Scope

The Communications Audit will include and result in the following: 

Needs Assessment

●     On-site, individual and small group interviews with staff and stakeholders of MESD (see staff and stakeholder engagement matrix for details)

●     Analysis and summary of interview comment similarities and common themes

●     An electronic survey to be emailed to staff and stakeholders

 

Analysis of Current Communications                                                                     

●     Discussions with staff who are responsible for communications ie. webpages, newsletters, social media, parent letters, staff correspondence, communications with districts etc.

●     Review and analysis of how communication functions are staffed, how departments are utilizing services, how communications projects are identified and tracked, what kinds of entrepreneurial possibilities exist      

 
 
Analysis of Materials, Messaging & Communication Tools                   

●     Review, analysis and written summary of MESD printed and electronic materials in terms of messaging, visual appeal, impact, user-friendliness and timeliness. This will be done for internal and external audience marketing and communications materials.  It will include specifically the Ask Jim Blog, videos, the all-staff email, All Access newsletter, social media (facebook, youtube, twitter) advisory councils, publications (Accountability Report), department newsletters, and other tools.

●     Recommended strategies and infrastructure for enhancing agency materials, messaging and communication to internal and external audiences.

●     Recommended strategies for internal & external communication protocols

●     Staff and client feedback about the communication efforts and tools will also be reflected in this section

 

Website Navigation & Design Review

●     Review, analysis, and written summary of website appeal, functionality, site map navigation and design impact

●     Recommendations on improving the site based on customer/intended-user feedback                     

                                               

Final Report & Summary

●     Summary of all data gathered from the interviews and surveys, observations, and materials

●     Recommended strategies to help MESD reach its communication goals

●     Summary handout and PowerPoint presentation to share data, findings and recommendations to agency and board  

 

Costs

Professional Services fee not to exceed $9500 for Audit which amount shall be expended from the public information budget. 
 
 
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