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Auditor-General Audit reports for 2012-13 No. 54 Performance audit Administration of Government advertising arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013


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Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Performance Audit

Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

A u s t r a l i a n N a t i o n a l A u d i t O f f i c e

 

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2013 

ISSN 1036-7632 ISBN 0 642 81380 9 (Print)  ISBN 0 642 81381 7 (On‐line) 

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ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

2

   

© Commonwealth of Australia 2013 

ISSN 1036-7632 ISBN 0 642 81380 9 (Print)  ISBN 0 642 81381 7 (On‐line) 

Except for the content in this document supplied by third parties, the Australian National Audit Office logo, the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, and any material protected by a trade mark, this document is licensed by the

Australian National Audit Office for use under the terms of a

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 Australia licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/au/

You are free to copy and communicate the document in its current form for non-commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the document to the Australian National Audit Office and abide by the other licence terms. You may not alter or adapt the work in any way.

Permission to use material for which the copyright is owned by a third party must be sought from the relevant copyright owner. As far as practicable, such material will be clearly labelled.

For terms of use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, visit It’s an Honour at http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/coat-arms/index.cfm.

Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to:

Executive Director Corporate Management Branch Australian National Audit Office 19 National Circuit BARTON ACT 2600

Or via email: webmaster@anao.gov.au

 

     

 

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13

Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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Canberra ACT 26 June 2013

Dear Mr President Dear Madam Speaker

The Australian National Audit Office has undertaken an independent performance audit across agencies with the authority contained in the Auditor-General Act 1997. I present the report of this audit to the Parliament. The report is titled Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013.

Following its presentation and receipt, the report will be placed on the Australian National Audit Office’s Homepage—http://www.anao.gov.au.

Yours sincerely

Ian McPhee Auditor-General

The Honourable the President of the Senate The Honourable the Speaker of the House of Representatives Parliament House Canberra ACT    

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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AUDITING FOR AUSTRALIA

The Auditor-General is head of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). The ANAO assists the Auditor-General to carry out his duties under the Auditor-General Act 1997 to undertake performance audits, financial statement audits and assurance reviews of Commonwealth public sector bodies and to provide independent reports and advice for the Parliament, the Australian Government and the community. The aim is to improve Commonwealth public sector administration and accountability.

For further information contact: The Publications Manager Australian National Audit Office GPO Box 707 Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: (02) 6203 7505 Fax: (02) 6203 7519

Email: webmaster@anao.gov.au

ANAO audit reports and information about the ANAO are available at our internet address:

http://www.anao.gov.au

Audit Team Brendan Mason Alison Palmer Stuart Turnbull

 

   

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13

Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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Contents Acronyms ....................................................................................................................... 8 

Glossary ....................................................................................................................... 10 

Summary and Recommendations ............................................................................ 11 

Summary ...................................................................................................................... 12 

Introduction ............................................................................................................. 12 

Audit objectives, criteria and scope ........................................................................ 16 

Overall conclusion ................................................................................................... 17 

Key findings by chapter ........................................................................................... 24 

Summary of agency responses .............................................................................. 30 

Recommendations ....................................................................................................... 35 

Audit Findings ............................................................................................................ 37 

1.  Introduction ............................................................................................................. 38 

Government advertising .......................................................................................... 38 

The campaign advertising framework ..................................................................... 38 

Audit approach ........................................................................................................ 42 

2.  Household Assistance Package Advertising Campaign ......................................... 46 

Campaign overview ................................................................................................. 46 

Campaign development .......................................................................................... 48 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines ..................................................................... 51 

Campaign evaluation .............................................................................................. 62 

Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 64 

3.  Regional National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign .............................. 66  Campaign overview ................................................................................................. 66 

Campaign development .......................................................................................... 68 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines ..................................................................... 70 

Campaign evaluation .............................................................................................. 88 

Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 89 

4.  Metropolitan National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign ......................... 92  Campaign overview ................................................................................................. 92 

Campaign development .......................................................................................... 94 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines ..................................................................... 95 

Campaign evaluation ............................................................................................ 105 

Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 107 

5.  Commonwealth Funding of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaign ................ 109  Campaign overview ............................................................................................... 109 

Campaign development and approval .................................................................. 115 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines ................................................................... 118 

 

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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AUDITING FOR AUSTRALIA

The Auditor-General is head of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). The ANAO assists the Auditor-General to carry out his duties under the Auditor-General Act 1997 to undertake performance audits, financial statement audits and assurance reviews of Commonwealth public sector bodies and to provide independent reports and advice for the Parliament, the Australian Government and the community. The aim is to improve Commonwealth public sector administration and accountability.

For further information contact: The Publications Manager Australian National Audit Office GPO Box 707 Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: (02) 6203 7505 Fax: (02) 6203 7519

Email: webmaster@anao.gov.au

ANAO audit reports and information about the ANAO are available at our internet address:

http://www.anao.gov.au

Audit Team Brendan Mason Alison Palmer Stuart Turnbull

 

   

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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6.  Administration of the Campaign Advertising Framework ...................................... 127 

Introduction ........................................................................................................... 127 

Progress against previous ANAO recommendations and suggestions ................ 127  Peer Review Group ............................................................................................... 138 

Finance’s revised role ........................................................................................... 139 

Ongoing Independent Communications Committee review of campaigns ........... 141  Application of the Guidelines ................................................................................ 142 

Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 143 

Appendices ............................................................................................................... 145 

Appendix 1:  Agency Responses ........................................................................... 146 

Appendix 2:  Campaign Promotional Materials ..................................................... 155 

Appendix 3:  Examples of Campaign Advertisements .......................................... 159 

Index ........................................................................................................................... 163 

Series Titles ................................................................................................................ 164 

Current Better Practice Guides .................................................................................. 171 

Tables

Table 2.1 Summary of the HAP advertising campaign ....................................... 47 

Table 2.2 HAP campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements ....................................................................... 52 

Table 2.3 HAP Campaign—Principle 1 .............................................................. 54 

Table 2.4 HAP Campaign—Principle 2 .............................................................. 57 

Table 2.5 HAP Campaign—Principle 3 .............................................................. 59 

Table 2.6 HAP Campaign—Principle 4 .............................................................. 60 

Table 2.7 HAP Campaign—Principle 5 .............................................................. 61 

Table 3.1 Summary of the regional NBN advertising campaign ........................ 67 

Table 3.2 Regional NBN advertising campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements .......................... 70  Table 3.3 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 1 ............................. 74 

Table 3.4 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 2 ............................. 74 

Table 3.5 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 3 ............................. 78 

Table 3.6 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 4 ............................. 78 

Table 3.7 Messages of different NBN communications activities ...................... 82  Table 3.8 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 5 ............................. 86 

Table 4.1 Summary of the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign ................. 93  Table 4.2 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements .......................... 96  Table 4.3 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 1 ....................... 98  Table 4.4 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 2 ....................... 98  Table 4.5 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 3 ..................... 101 

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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6.  Administration of the Campaign Advertising Framework ...................................... 127 

Introduction ........................................................................................................... 127 

Progress against previous ANAO recommendations and suggestions ................ 127  Peer Review Group ............................................................................................... 138 

Finance’s revised role ........................................................................................... 139 

Ongoing Independent Communications Committee review of campaigns ........... 141  Application of the Guidelines ................................................................................ 142 

Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 143 

Appendices ............................................................................................................... 145 

Appendix 1:  Agency Responses ........................................................................... 146 

Appendix 2:  Campaign Promotional Materials ..................................................... 155 

Appendix 3:  Examples of Campaign Advertisements .......................................... 159 

Index ........................................................................................................................... 163 

Series Titles ................................................................................................................ 164 

Current Better Practice Guides .................................................................................. 171 

Tables

Table 2.1 Summary of the HAP advertising campaign ....................................... 47 

Table 2.2 HAP campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements ....................................................................... 52 

Table 2.3 HAP Campaign—Principle 1 .............................................................. 54 

Table 2.4 HAP Campaign—Principle 2 .............................................................. 57 

Table 2.5 HAP Campaign—Principle 3 .............................................................. 59 

Table 2.6 HAP Campaign—Principle 4 .............................................................. 60 

Table 2.7 HAP Campaign—Principle 5 .............................................................. 61 

Table 3.1 Summary of the regional NBN advertising campaign ........................ 67 

Table 3.2 Regional NBN advertising campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements .......................... 70  Table 3.3 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 1 ............................. 74 

Table 3.4 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 2 ............................. 74 

Table 3.5 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 3 ............................. 78 

Table 3.6 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 4 ............................. 78 

Table 3.7 Messages of different NBN communications activities ...................... 82  Table 3.8 Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 5 ............................. 86 

Table 4.1 Summary of the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign ................. 93  Table 4.2 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements .......................... 96  Table 4.3 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 1 ....................... 98  Table 4.4 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 2 ....................... 98  Table 4.5 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 3 ..................... 101 

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Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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Table 4.6 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 4 ..................... 102  Table 4.7 Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 5 ..................... 104  Table 5.1 Specific Purpose Payments—Healthcare ........................................ 110 

Table 5.2 Summary of the advertising campaign on Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals ........................................................... 114 

Table 5.3 Perspectives of the Australian and Victorian governments .............. 122  Table 6.1 Status of previous ANAO recommendations .................................... 128 

Table 6.2 Status of previous ANAO suggestions ............................................. 130 

Figures

Figure 2.1 Unprompted awareness of the HAP ................................................... 63 

Figure 4.1 Attitudes towards key campaign messages ..................................... 106 

Figure 4.2 Attitudes towards statements about the NBN ................................... 107 

Figure 5.1 Actual and projected Commonwealth healthcare funding, 2009-10 to 2015-16 ......................................................................... 111 

Figure 5.2 Commonwealth funding to Victorian hospitals advertisement .......... 119  Figure 6.1 Campaign advertising expenditure by FMA Act agencies, by financial year: 2008-09 to 2011-12 ................................................. 134 

Figure 6.2 Monthly campaign expenditure on media placement— December 2012 prices ..................................................................... 137 

   

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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Acronyms

2010 Guidelines  /the Guidelines  Guidelines  on  Information  and  Advertising  Campaigns  by  Australian Government Departments and Agencies (March 2010)  

ANAO  Australian National Audit Office 

CAB  Department of Finance and Deregulation, Communications  Advice Branch 

CALD  Culturally and Linguistically Diverse  

CAS  Central Advertising System 

CEF  Clean Energy Future 

CMUL  Communications Multi-Use List 

COAG  Council of Australian Governments 

CPGs  Commonwealth  Procurement  Guidelines  2008  (Financial  Management Guidance 1) 

DBCDE  Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital  Economy  

DCCEE  Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 

DoHA  Department of Health and Ageing 

FaHCSIA  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and  Indigenous Affairs 

Finance  Department of Finance and Deregulation 

FMA Act  Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 

FMA  Regulations  Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997 

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Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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HAP  Household Assistance Package 

ICC  Independent Communications Committee 

MBA  Media Booking Authority 

MMA  Master Media Agency 

NBN  National Broadband Network 

PM&C  Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 

PRG  Peer Review Group  

Treasury  The Treasury 

 

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13

Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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HAP  Household Assistance Package 

ICC  Independent Communications Committee 

MBA  Media Booking Authority 

MMA  Master Media Agency 

NBN  National Broadband Network 

PM&C  Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 

PRG  Peer Review Group  

Treasury  The Treasury 

 

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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Glossary

Campaign  advertising 

Campaign advertising involves paid media placement and  is  designed  to  inform,  educate,  motivate  or  change  behaviour. 

Communications  strategy  A  communications  strategy  provides  the  conceptual  framework for a campaign, including the rationale for the 

approach,  the  audience  segmentation,  and  the  reasoning  for  the  media  mix.  It  stipulates  how  all  the  various  components  of  the  campaign  will  be  coordinated,  integrated  and  managed  in  order  to  efficiently  and  effectively achieve the communications objectives.1 

Creative material  An advertisement or set of advertisements for a campaign. 

Promotional  material 

Also described as ‘below‐the‐line’ or ‘collateral’ materials,  promotional  materials  include  physical  items  which  are  generally developed as part of public relations activities to  support an advertising campaign. 

Total  campaign  spend  Those elements which collectively make up the value of a  campaign, as identified in paragraph 11 of the Guidelines on 

Information  and  Advertising  Campaigns  by  Australian  Government  Departments  and  Agencies  (March  2010).  Elements  include  research,  public  relations,  advertising 

and  other  consultants,  production  and  placement  of  advertising  and  production  and  dissemination  of  other  campaign materials. It does not include departmental staff  and associated costs. 

 

                                                       1 Department of Finance and Deregulation, Campaign Planning Guide for Australian Government Departments and Agencies, September 2012, p. 51.

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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Glossary

Campaign  advertising 

Campaign advertising involves paid media placement and  is  designed  to  inform,  educate,  motivate  or  change  behaviour. 

Communications  strategy  A  communications  strategy  provides  the  conceptual  framework for a campaign, including the rationale for the 

approach,  the  audience  segmentation,  and  the  reasoning  for  the  media  mix.  It  stipulates  how  all  the  various  components  of  the  campaign  will  be  coordinated,  integrated  and  managed  in  order  to  efficiently  and  effectively achieve the communications objectives.1 

Creative material  An advertisement or set of advertisements for a campaign. 

Promotional  material 

Also described as ‘below‐the‐line’ or ‘collateral’ materials,  promotional  materials  include  physical  items  which  are  generally developed as part of public relations activities to  support an advertising campaign. 

Total  campaign  spend  Those elements which collectively make up the value of a  campaign, as identified in paragraph 11 of the Guidelines on 

Information  and  Advertising  Campaigns  by  Australian  Government  Departments  and  Agencies  (March  2010).  Elements  include  research,  public  relations,  advertising  and  other  consultants,  production  and  placement  of  advertising  and  production  and  dissemination  of  other  campaign materials. It does not include departmental staff  and associated costs. 

 

                                                       1 Department of Finance and Deregulation, Campaign Planning Guide for Australian Government Departments and Agencies, September 2012, p. 51.

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13

Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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Summary and Recommendations

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13 Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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Summary

Introduction 1. Advertising  is  an  important  and  legitimate  element  of  government  communication  and  information  strategies.  Governments  use  advertising  to  inform  the  public  about  government  policies,  programs  and  services  which  affect  their  entitlements,  rights  and  obligations.  In  2011-12,  total  campaign  advertising2 expenditure by Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997  (FMA Act) agencies was some $224 million.3 

2. While  campaign  advertising  is  a  legitimate  and  accepted  element  of  government communication and information strategies, there have long been  concerns  that  governments  may  use,  or  may  be  perceived  to  use,  taxpayer  funds to gain political advantage, rather than to meet the genuine information  needs of citizens.4 

The campaign advertising framework

3. The Australian Government significantly enhanced the arrangements  applying to government advertising in 2008.5 The new arrangements made it  clear  that  campaign  development  was  to  be  wholly  undertaken  by  the  commissioning department or agency, addressing one of the most challenging  areas in relation to earlier campaigns, that of achieving clarity in the roles of  Ministers and their offices on the one hand and agencies on the other.6 The  2008 Guidelines provided that campaigns could be approved for launch only  when the responsible agency chief executive had certified that the campaign  complied with the Guidelines and relevant government policies. At t hat time, 

                                                       2 Campaign advertising is defined as involving: ‘paid media placement and is designed to inform, educate, motivate or change behaviour’. Non-campaign advertising is defined as: ‘simple, informative advertising that generally appears only

once or twice, contains factual statements and typically has a low creative content’. Source: Department of Finance and Deregulation, Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, March 2010, paragraphs 9 and 10. 3 The total campaign advertising expenditure includes media placement costs, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ and GST. See paragraph 6.7 for further discussion. In 2011-12, media placement costs were reported by the Department of Finance and Deregulation to be $139.7 million, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ were $63.6 million, and GST costs were $20.3 million. Media placement costs for the 2012 calendar year were reported to be $111.9 million. 4 Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Government advertising and accountability, 2005, p. xiii. 5 The arrangements were informed by recommendations of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit and a Senate Inquiry. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, paragraph 3. 6 ANAO Report No.2, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review 2008-09, p. 9.

Summary

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13

Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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for campaigns with expenditure over $250 000, the Auditor‐General provided a  report  to  the  responsible  minister  on  the  proposed  campaign’s  compliance  with the Guidelines, based on a limited assurance approach.7 The Government  decided in early 2010 to revise the 2008 arrangements by not continuing the  Auditor‐General’s  review  role  and  establishing  an  Independent  Communications Committee (ICC) to provide advice on compliance to agency  chief  executives,  who  would  in  turn  provide  a  certification  to  the  relevant  Minister.8  The  Auditor‐General  was  requested  to  undertake  performance  audits of the administration of government advertising, and has agreed to do  so. 

4. As part of the revised arrangements in 2010, the Government updated  the  Guidelines  on  Information  and  Advertising  Campaigns  by  Australian  Government Departments and Agencies (the 2010 Guidelines/the Guidelines) to  reflect its revised policy position, replacing the guidelines introduced in 2008.  The  Guidelines,  combined  with  certain  advertising‐specific  procurement  arrangements  and  the  Australian  Government’s  financial  management  requirements, make up the campaign advertising framework applying since  March 2010 to all departments and agencies subject to the FMA Act. 

5. The 2010 Guidelines outline the following three underlying principles  governing  the  use  of  public  funds  for  all  government  information  and  adverti

sing campaigns: 

(a) members  of  the  public  have  equal  rights  to  access  comprehensive  information about government policies, programs and services which  affect their entitlements, rights and obligations; 

(b) governments may legitimately use public funds to explain government  policies, programs or services, to inform members of the public of their  obligations,  rights  and  entitlements,  to  encourage  informed  consideration of issues or to change behaviour; and 

(c) government  campaigns  must  not  be  conducted  for  party  political  purposes. 

                                                       7 The review of a proposed advertising campaign’s compliance, undertaken by the ANAO as the basis for the Auditor-General’s report, was designed to provide limited assurance in accordance with the relevant Australian

Standard on Assurance Engagements. The limited assurance approach was designed to ensure sufficient appropriate evidence was obtained to enable an assurance conclusion to be formed in relation to an advertising campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines. 8 ANAO Report No.38, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review July 2009-March 2010, provides further background on the changes.

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Summary

Introduction 1. Advertising  is  an  important  and  legitimate  element  of  government  communication  and  information  strategies.  Governments  use  advertising  to  inform  the  public  about  government  policies,  programs  and  services  which  affect  their  entitlements,  rights  and  obligations.  In  2011-12,  total  campaign  advertising2 expenditure by Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997  (FMA Act) agencies was some $224 million.3 

2. While  campaign  advertising  is  a  legitimate  and  accepted  element  of  government communication and information strategies, there have long been  concerns  that  governments  may  use,  or  may  be  perceived  to  use,  taxpayer  funds to gain political advantage, rather than to meet the genuine information  needs of citizens.4 

The campaign advertising framework

3. The Australian Government significantly enhanced the arrangements  applying to government advertising in 2008.5 The new arrangements made it  clear  that  campaign  development  was  to  be  wholly  undertaken  by  the  commissioning department or agency, addressing one of the most challenging  areas in relation to earlier campaigns, that of achieving clarity in the roles of  Ministers and their offices on the one hand and agencies on the other.6 The  2008 Guidelines provided that campaigns could be approved for launch only  when the responsible agency chief executive had certified that the campaign 

complied with the  Guidelines and relevant government policies. At that time, 

                                                       2 Campaign advertising is defined as involving: ‘paid media placement and is designed to inform, educate, motivate or change behaviour’. Non-campaign advertising is defined as: ‘simple, informative advertising that generally appears only

once or twice, contains factual statements and typically has a low creative content’. Source: Department of Finance and Deregulation, Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, March 2010, paragraphs 9 and 10. 3 The total campaign advertising expenditure includes media placement costs, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ and GST. See paragraph 6.7 for further discussion. In 2011-12, media placement costs were reported by the Department of Finance and Deregulation to be $139.7 million, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ were $63.6 million, and GST costs were $20.3 million. Media placement costs for the 2012 calendar year were reported to be $111.9 million. 4 Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Government advertising and accountability, 2005, p. xiii. 5 The arrangements were informed by recommendations of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit and a Senate Inquiry. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, paragraph 3. 6 ANAO Report No.2, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review 2008-09, p. 9.

Summary

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for campaigns with expenditure over $250 000, the Auditor‐General provided a  report  to  the  responsible  minister  on  the  proposed  campaign’s  compliance  with the Guidelines, based on a limited assurance approach.7 The Government  decided in early 2010 to revise the 2008 arrangements by not continuing the  Auditor‐General’s  review  role  and  establishing  an  Independent  Communications Committee (ICC) to provide advice on compliance to agency  chief  executives,  who  would  in  turn  provide  a  certification  to  the  relevant  Minister.8  The  Auditor‐General  was  requested  to  undertake  performance  audits of the administration of government advertising, and has agreed to do  so. 

4. As part of the revised arrangements in 2010, the Government updated  the  Guidelines  on  Information  and  Advertising  Campaigns  by  Australian  Government Departments and Agencies (the 2010 Guidelines/the Guidelines) to  reflect its revised policy position, replacing the guidelines introduced in 2008.  The  Guidelines,  combined  with  certain  advertising‐specific  procurement  arrangements  and  the  Australian  Government’s  financial  management  requirements, make up the campaign advertising framework applying since  March 2010 to all departments and agencies subject to the FMA Act. 

5. The 2010 Guidelines outline the following three underlying principles  governing  the  use  of  public  funds  for  all  government  information  and  advertis

ing campaigns: 

(a) members  of  the  public  have  equal  rights  to  access  comprehensive  information about government policies, programs and services which  affect their entitlements, rights and obligations; 

(b) governments may legitimately use public funds to explain government  policies, programs or services, to inform members of the public of their  obligations,  rights  and  entitlements,  to  encourage  informed  consideration of issues or to change behaviour; and 

(c) government  campaigns  must  not  be  conducted  for  party  political  purposes. 

                                                       7 The review of a proposed advertising campaign’s compliance, undertaken by the ANAO as the basis for the Auditor-General’s report, was designed to provide limited assurance in accordance with the relevant Australian

Standard on Assurance Engagements. The limited assurance approach was designed to ensure sufficient appropriate evidence was obtained to enable an assurance conclusion to be formed in relation to an advertising campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines. 8 ANAO Report No.38, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review July 2009-March 2010, provides further background on the changes.

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6. The  Guidelines  also  include  five  ‘Information  and  Advertising  Campaign Principles’ (the Principles) as a basis for regulating the probity and  cost‐effectiveness of campaign advertising. The principles are: 

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities; 

Principle 2: Campaign materials should be presented in an objective, fair and  accessible manner and be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign; 

Principle 3: Campaign  materials  should  be  objective  and  not  directed  at  promoting party political interests; 

Principle 4: Campaigns  should  be  justified  and  undertaken  in  an  efficient,  effective and relevant manner; and 

Principle 5: Campaigns  must  comply  with  legal  requirements  and  procurement policies and procedures.9 

7. The ICC established under the revised Guidelines considers campaigns  worth $250 000 or more10 and provides a report to the relevant agency chief  executive on compliance with Principles 1 to 4. Principle 5 is considered to  relate to a chief executive’s normal responsibilities and is not subject to ICC  advice.  Following  the  receipt  of  ICC  advice,  agency  chief  executives  certify  compliance  against  Principles  1  to  5  and  provide  the  certification  to  the  relevant  minister,  who  may  decide  to  launch  the  campaign  or  approve  its  launch. Specific publication and reporting requirements are a lso set out in the  2010 Guidelines, with the aim of promoting transparency and accountability. 

8. The Special Minister of State is responsible for the administration of the  campaign  advertising  framework,  including  the  Guidelines.  The  Special  Minister of State is supported by the Department of Finance and Deregulation  (Finance), which provides secretariat support to the ICC and is available to  provide advice to agencies on the framework. 

9. Since the introduction of the 2010 Guidelines, there have been changes  in  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  In  August  2011,  the  Peer  Review  Group  (PRG)  was  introduced  to  provide  advice  on  the  development  of 

                                                       9 The five principles are expanded in 18 sub-paragraphs which, as observed in a previous ANAO audit, contain a mix of mandatory and sound practice requirements. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government

Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, Chapter 2. 10 For campaigns of less than $250 000, chief executives can request ICC advice. Further, the 2010 Guidelines make provision for the Special Minister of State to exempt campaigns from their operation on the basis of a national

emergency, extreme urgency or other compelling reason. Finance has advised that a total of three exemptions have been agreed—two in 2009 and one in 2010.

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6. The  Guidelines  also  include  five  ‘Information  and  Advertising  Campaign Principles’ (the Principles) as a basis for regulating the probity and  cost‐effectiveness of campaign advertising. The principles are: 

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities; 

Principle 2: Campaign materials should be presented in an objective, fair and  accessible manner and be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign; 

Principle 3: Campaign  materials  should  be  objective  and  not  directed  at  promoting party political interests; 

Principle 4: Campaigns  should  be  justified  and  undertaken  in  an  efficient,  effective and relevant manner; and 

Principle 5: Campaigns  must  comply  with  legal  requirements  and  procurement policies and procedures.9 

7. The ICC established under the revised Guidelines considers campaigns  worth $250 000 or more10 and provides a report to the relevant agency chief  executive on compliance with Principles 1 to 4. Principle 5 is considered to  relate to a chief executive’s normal responsibilities and is not subject to ICC  advice.  Following  the  receipt  of  ICC  advice,  agency  chief  executives  certify  compliance  against  Principles  1  to  5  and  provide  the  certification  to  the  relevant  minister,  who  may  decide  to  launch  the  campaign  or  approve  its  launch. Specific publication and reporting requirements are a lso set out in the  2010 Guidelines, with the aim of promoting transparency and accountability. 

8. The Special Minister of State is responsible for the administration of the  campaign  advertising  framework,  including  the  Guidelines.  The  Special  Minister of State is supported by the Department of Finance and Deregulation  (Finance), which provides secretariat support to the ICC and is available to  provide advice to agencies on the framework. 

9. Since the introduction of the 2010 Guidelines, there have been changes  in  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  In  August  2011,  the  Peer  Review  Group  (PRG)  was  introduced  to  provide  advice  on  the  development  of 

                                                       9 The five principles are expanded in 18 sub-paragraphs which, as observed in a previous ANAO audit, contain a mix of mandatory and sound practice requirements. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government

Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, Chapter 2. 10 For campaigns of less than $250 000, chief executives can request ICC advice. Further, the 2010 Guidelines make provision for the Special Minister of State to exempt campaigns from their operation on the basis of a national

emergency, extreme urgency or other compelling reason. Finance has advised that a total of three exemptions have been agreed—two in 2009 and one in 2010.

Summary

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campaigns  worth  $250 000  or  more.  Agencies  are  required  to  submit  a  campaign communications strategy to the PRG for review, and may return to  the  PRG  at  later  stages  of  campaign  development.  At  the  time  of  the  introduction  of  the  PRG,  Finance’s  role  was  amended—agencies  were  no  longer  required  to  seek  campaign  development  advice  from  Finance,  or  involve Finance in campaign advertising tender processes. 

ANAO audits of government advertising

10. As  previously  indicated,  the  Auditor‐General  was  requested  to  consider  undertaking  periodic  performance  audits  of  the  administration  of  government  advertising  following  the  introduction  of  the  revised  arrangements in 2010. The first report on the revised arrangements concluded  that where the revised certification process for agencies subject to the FMA Act  had applied, it had been generally effective in promoting compliance with the  2010 Guidelines.11 However, the report also identified areas for improvement  in agencies’ administration of advertising campaigns, including: documenting  the source(s) of campaign statements; assessing the overall cost‐effectiveness of  the  media  buy  for  campaigns;  giving  and  recording  financial  approvals;  signing‐off  ministerial  briefs  and  record  keeping;  procuring  services;  and  evaluating campaigns. The report made five recommendations and a range of  suggestions  aimed  at  strengthening  the  integrity  and  transparency  of  the  campaign  advertis

ing  framework.  This  audit  continues  the  ANAO’s  examination of government advertising arrangements. 

11. The  ANAO  had  also  undertaken  a  series  of  audits  on  the  administration of government advertising in prior years, including: 

 Audit  Report  No.38,  2009-10,  Campaign  Advertising  Review   July 2009-March 2010; 

 Audit Report No.2, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review 2008-09; 

 Audit  Report  No.24,  2008-09,  The  Administration  of  Contracting  Arrangements in relation to Government Advertising to November 2007; 

 Audit Report No.12, 1998-99, Taxation Reform Community and Education  Programme; and 

                                                       11 ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011. Further, the ANAO reviewed the Swap It, Don’t Stop It advertising campaign in the context of Audit Report No.12,

2012-13, Administration of Commonwealth Responsibilities under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.

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 Audit Report No.30, 1994-95, Commonwealth Government Information and  Advertising—an audit of Commonwealth Government advertising. 

Audit objectives, criteria and scope 12. The audit objectives were to: 

 assess  the  effectiveness  of  selected  agencies’  administration  in  developing  advertising  campaigns  and  implementing  key  processes  against the requirements of the campaign advertising framework, and  other key legal and administrative requirements; and 

 assess the effectiveness of the ongoing administration of the Australian  Government’s campaign advertising framework. 

13. To form a conclusion against the audit objectives, the audit considered  the: 

 compliance  of  four  campaigns  against  the  requirements  of  the  campaign advertising framework, including the five information and  advertising campaign principles of the Guidelines; 

 procurement  practices  adopted  to  give  effect  to  the  four  advertising  campaigns, including related legal and process requirements; 

 progress  made  towards  addressing  the  recommendations  and  suggestions  made  in  ANAO  Audit  Report  No.24,  2011-12,  Administration  of  Government  Advertising  Arrangements:  March  2010  to  August 2011; and 

 effectiveness of the revised campaign advertising framework, including  the new PRG; the revised role for Finance; and the ongoing review of  advertising campaigns by the ICC. 

14. Three campaigns were initially selected for review on the basis of their  financial materiality, and the importance and visibil ity of the policy initiatives.  The campaigns selected were the: 

 Household  Assistance  Package  (HAP)  advertising  campaign— administered  by  the  Department  of  Families,  Housing,  Community  Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA); 

 Regional  National  Broadband  Network  advertising  campaign— administered by the Department of Broadband, Communications and  the Digital Economy (DBCDE); and 

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 Audit Report No.30, 1994-95, Commonwealth Government Information and  Advertising—an audit of Commonwealth Government advertising. 

Audit objectives, criteria and scope 12. The audit objectives were to: 

 assess  the  effectiveness  of  selected  agencies’  administration  in  developing  advertising  campaigns  and  implementing  key  processes  against the requirements of the campaign advertising framework, and  other key legal and administrative requirements; and 

 assess the effectiveness of the ongoing administration of the Australian  Government’s campaign advertising framework. 

13. To form a conclusion against the audit objectives, the audit considered  the: 

 compliance  of  four  campaigns  against  the  requirements  of  the  campaign advertising framework, including the five information and  advertising campaign principles of the Guidelines; 

 procurement  practices  adopted  to  give  effect  to  the  four  advertising  campaigns, including related legal and process requirements; 

 progress  made  towards  addressing  the  recommendations  and  suggestions  made  in  ANAO  Audit  Report  No.24,  2011-12,  Administration  of  Government  Advertising  Arrangements:  March  2010  to  August 2011; and 

 effectiveness of the revised campaign advertising framework, including  the new PRG; the revised role for Finance; and the ongoing review of  advertising campaigns by the ICC. 

14. Three campaigns were initially selected for review on the basis of their  financial materiality, and the importance and visibil ity of the policy initiatives.  The campaigns selected were the: 

 Household  Assistance  Package  (HAP)  advertising  campaign— administered  by  the  Department  of  Families,  Housing,  Community  Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA); 

 Regional  National  Broadband  Network  advertising  campaign— administered by the Department of Broadband, Communications and  the Digital Economy (DBCDE); and 

Summary

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 Metropolitan  National  Broadband  Network  advertising  campaign— also administered by DBCDE. 

15. The audit was extended in March 2013, following correspondence from  two  members  of  the  Australian  Parliament,  to  include  the  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  administered  by  the  Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). In the same month, the audit scope  was also extended to include an examination of campaign‐related promotional  materials,  following  correspondence  from  a  member  of  the  Australian  Parliament. 

16. The  audit  involved  the  following  six  agencies:  FaHCSIA;  DBCDE;  DoHA; Finance; PM&C; and the former Department of Climate Change and  Energy Efficiency (DCCEE).12 The  audit examined the administration of the  campaign advertising framework from the end of the period examined by the  previous ANAO performance audit (August 2011) until March 2013. 

Overall conclusion 17. This  audit  continues  the  ANAO’s  periodic  review  of  government  advertising  arrangements,  an  area  of  public  administration  that  has  been  sensitive because of concerns, at times, that political considerations have been  given undue weight in decisions on whether to run an advertising campaign  and  the  nature  of  the  campaign.  While  the  Guidelines  are  based  on  now   well‐established principles, judgements are necessarily required about whether  the principles have been reasonably applied in the  development of campaigns. 

18. This audit involved an examination of four advertising campaigns: 

 the HAP campaign administered by FaHCSIA; 

 DBCDE’s regional and metropolitan NBN campaigns; and 

 DoHA’s Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals campaign. 

The  first  three  of  these  campaigns  were  valued  over  $250 000  and  were  therefore reviewed by the ICC, while DoHA’s lower‐valued campaign was not.  The  audit  also  examined  the  ongoing  administration  of  the  campaign 

                                                       12 DCCEE planned an advertising campaign for the second phase of the Clean Energy Future plan, of which communications about the HAP was to be a component. The Government decided not to proceed with the campaign,

and instead approved a campaign specifically relating to the HAP. This audit considered the approval of the HAP campaign and DCCEE’s progress in response to a recommendation of the ANAO’s previous report. In machinery of government changes announced on 26 March 2013, the functions of DCCEE were allocated to other departments.

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advertising  framework,  including  progress  against  the  recommendations  of  the ANAO’s 2011-12 performance audit report on government advertising. 

19. In  2008  the  Government  introduced  an  enhanced  framework  for  the  administration of advertising campaigns in response to issues highlighted by  Parliamentary inquiries and ANAO reports. While a subsequent review of the  framework led to some softening of the arrangements13, the revised framework  and Guidelines introduced in 2010 maintained the core elements of the earlier  arrangements, namely: the certification of major campaigns by agency chief  executives against written guidelines; third party review of campaigns against  those guidelines; and the need for campaigns to be justified and undertaken in  an efficient, effective and relevant manner.14 

20. The first three campaigns mentioned above, administered by FaHCSIA  and  DBCDE,  generally  had  regard  to  the  requirements  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  The  ICC’s  campaign  review  process  generated  significant  discussion  between  the  committee  and  the  relevant  agency,  and  together  with  the  certification  of  campaigns  by  chief  executives,  led  to  the  strengthening of the campaigns’ compliance with the Guidelines. 

21. Overall,  FaHCSIA  generally  implemented  the  $40  million  HAP  advertising campaign in compliance with the Guidelines, within a particularly  short timeframe. Importantly, the department provided the I CC with sufficient  and relevant evidence to verify all factual statements used in the campaign.  While  the  HAP  was  intended  to  help  low  and  middle  income  households  adjust to the cost impacts of the carbon price, the campaign advertisements  focused on the financial assistance available under the package and did not  mention  that  this  assistance  was  in  response  to  the  introduction  of  carbon  pricing.15  In  support  of  this  approach,  FaHCSIA  cited  research  which  suggested  that  including  content  about  the  carbon  price  would  impair  the  effectiveness  of  the  campaign.  Overall,  the  campaign  performed  well  in 

                                                       13 A 2009-10 ANAO audit report noted that: ‘It is apparent that while the March 2010 Guidelines provide a greater level of specificity in some areas, other areas are less specific than before. This is particularly so in the case of Principle 1,

which provides a broader scope in determining the suitable uses of government advertising campaigns, Principle 3, which provides less guidance in interpreting whether campaign materials promote party political interests, and Principle 4, which no longer requires a cost‐benefit analysis to support the proposed campaign. As previously indicated to the Government, these changes represent a general softening in the application of requirements on agencies. Nevertheless, these are matters that rest with Government for decision’. Source: ANAO, Audit Report No.38, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review July 2009 - March 2010, p. 15. 14

The campaign advertising Guidelines operate in the context of the Australian Government’s wider financial management framework. 15 The advertisements directed viewers to the campaign website which linked the HAP to the carbon price, and provided a

link to a related website.

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advertising  framework,  including  progress  against  the  recommendations  of  the ANAO’s 2011-12 performance audit report on government advertising. 

19. In  2008  the  Government  introduced  an  enhanced  framework  for  the  administration of advertising campaigns in response to issues highlighted by  Parliamentary inquiries and ANAO reports. While a subsequent review of the  framework led to some softening of the arrangements13, the revised framework  and Guidelines introduced in 2010 maintained the core elements of the earlier  arrangements, namely: the certification of major campaigns by agency chief  executives against written guidelines; third party review of campaigns against  those guidelines; and the need for campaigns to be justified and undertaken in  an efficient, effective and relevant manner.14 

20. The first three campaigns mentioned above, administered by FaHCSIA  and  DBCDE,  generally  had  regard  to  the  requirements  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  The  ICC’s  campaign  review  process  generated  significant  discussion  between  the  committee  and  the  relevant  agency,  and  together  with  the  certification  of  campaigns  by  chief  executives,  led  to  the  strengthening of the campaigns’ compliance with the Guidelines. 

21. Overall,  FaHCSIA  generally  implemented  the  $40  million  HAP  advertising campaign in compliance with the Guidelines, within a particularly  short timeframe. Importantly, the department provided the I CC with sufficient  and relevant evidence to verify all factual statements used in the campaign.  While  the  HAP  was  intended  to  help  low  and  middle  income  households  adjust to the cost impacts of the carbon price, the campaign advertisements  focused on the financial assistance available under the package and did not  mention  that  this  assistance  was  in  response  to  the  introduction  of  carbon  pricing.15  In  support  of  this  approach,  FaHCSIA  cited  research  which  suggested  that  including  content  about  the  carbon  price  would  impair  the  effectiveness  of  the  campaign.  Overall,  the  campaign  performed  well  in 

                                                       13 A 2009-10 ANAO audit report noted that: ‘It is apparent that while the March 2010 Guidelines provide a greater level of specificity in some areas, other areas are less specific than before. This is particularly so in the case of Principle 1,

which provides a broader scope in determining the suitable uses of government advertising campaigns, Principle 3, which provides less guidance in interpreting whether campaign materials promote party political interests, and Principle 4, which no longer requires a cost‐benefit analysis to support the proposed campaign. As previously indicated to the Government, these changes represent a general softening in the application of requirements on agencies. Nevertheless, these are matters that rest with Government for decision’. Source: ANAO, Audit Report No.38, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review July 2009 - March 2010, p. 15. 14

The campaign advertising Guidelines operate in the context of the Australian Government’s wider financial management framework. 15 The advertisements directed viewers to the campaign website which linked the HAP to the carbon price, and provided a

link to a related website.

Summary

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increasing  awareness  and  understanding  of  the  payments,  tax  cuts  and  entitlements.  However,  the  department’s  decision  not  to  mention  the  link  between the HAP and the introduction of a carbon price was noteworthy, and  meant that the advertisements did not fully inform the public about the reason  for  the  government  assistance.  While  information  on  the  reasons  for  the  assistance  could  have  been  expected  given  the  underlying  government  advertising principle that ‘members of the public have equal rights to access  comprehensive information about government policies, programs and services  which affect their entitlements, rights and obligations’16, such information was  available  from  the  website  referenced  in  the  advertisements.  On  this  issue,  FaHCSIA informed the ANAO that it did not receive any instructions or take  soundings  from  the  Government  regarding  the  proposed  focus  of  the  campaign. 

22. DBCDE’s  administration  of  the  regional  and  metropolitan  NBN  advertising campaigns, with a combined cost of $49 million, in the main met  the requirements of the campaign advertising framework. There were some  technical inaccuracies in a small number of statements made in the regional  NBN campaign as part of unscripted case studies. While recognising that there  will generally be less precision in unscripted material, there would have been  benefit in DBCD

E taking additional steps to verify the unscripted statements,  which featured prominently in the campaign. Other areas for improvement  were DBCDE’s approach to assessing the cost‐effectiveness of the media buy  for  the  regional  NBN  campaign,  and  its  procurement  practices  for  both  campaigns. The need for agencies to exercise care in these routine aspects of  campaign development has been observed in previous ANAO audits. 

23. While  the  NBN  campaigns  generally  complied  with  the  Guidelines,  they  were  also  noteworthy  as  the  first  time  a  Department  of  State  has  conducted advertising campaigns in an area in which a Government Business  Enterprise  has  charter  responsibilities—in  this  case  NBN Co  Limited  (NBN Co).17  NBN  Co  communications  policy  is  guided  by  its  charter  responsibilities and is designed to ensure Australians are aware of the NBN  construction schedule, to promote the potential benefits of NBN services and  to inform people about how to connect to the network when it is available in 

                                                       16 Finance, Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, March 2010, paragraph 8(a). 17

In response to ANAO inquiries, Finance advised that it was not aware of a similar case since the introduction of the current campaign advertising framework in 2008.

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their  area.18  The  responsible  portfolio  department,  DBCDE,  sought  to  differentiate  its  communications  activities  from  NBN  Co  by  focusing  on  matters of government policy.19 Nonetheless, the department was advertising  in  a  market  in  which  a  Government  Business  Enterprise  and  retail  service  providers have commercial incentives to promote the benefits of the NBN to  drive uptake by consumers when it becomes available in different areas. While  it was open to the Government and DBCDE to conduct campaigns under the  Guidelines, the closely related communications objectives20 and activities of a  Department of State and a Government Business Enterprise with a commercial  charter  raises  questions  about  the  overall  efficiency  of  publicly  funded  advertising on the NBN, particularly given the focus, scale and timing of the  departmental  advertising  effort.  There  would  have  been  benefit  in  DBCDE  assessing the cost‐effectiveness of its proposed NBN campaigns, as part of its  original  advice  to  Ministers,  to  inform  government  decisions  on  the  campaigns’  targeting,  scale  and  timing.21  The  scope  for  tension  between  advertising of a Department of State and Government Business Enterprise is  also a matter that would benefit from consideration by Finance as it further  develops the campaign advertising framework. 

24. The fourth campai gn examined by the ANAO was the Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign,  which  cost  less  than  $250 000 and was not subject to ICC review.22 The compliance of this sensitive  campaign with the requirements of the framework was mixed. There was no  documented approval of the advertisement by the Health Minister, the DoHA 

                                                       18 NBN Co, 2012 Annual Report, pp. 25 and 26. 19

DBCDE advised the ICC that: ‘A failure to communicate more accurate information to the Australian public on the NBN would result in a continuation of … misunderstandings and misconceptions which will ultimately leave Australians exposed with little understanding and less likely to opt in or experience the personal, commercial and community benefits of the NBN in coming years. Overwhelmingly, the research found that re-engaging the public with the NBN initiative and tangible benefits would decrease misconceptions and ensure consumers were more accurately informed about this policy initiative and able to take appropriate action when it rolls out in their area.’ DBCDE, Statement of Compliance against the Information and Advertising Principles, signed 23 April 2012, p. 10. 20

For example: the objectives of DBCDE’s metropolitan NBN advertising campaign included to ‘build and maintain visibility by showing the personal, business, community and national benefits of connecting to the NBN’, and to ‘direct people to where they can get more information about how and when they can get connected (call to action)’; and NBN Co’s communications seek to promote the potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect to the network when it is available in their area. 21

A March 2012 update of the Cabinet Handbook included a requirement that proposals for information campaigns include justification of the cost-effectiveness of the campaign. The proposal for the metropolitan NBN campaign was considered by Ministers following this update. For further discussion on cost-effectiveness and advertising campaigns, see ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, pp. 69-77. 22

DoHA’s Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals advertising campaign was not subject to the certification process as it was valued at less than $250 000, and the department did not exercise its discretion, under paragraph 6 of the Guidelines, to request ICC advice.

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their  area.18  The  responsible  portfolio  department,  DBCDE,  sought  to  differentiate  its  communications  activities  from  NBN  Co  by  focusing  on  matters of government policy.19 Nonetheless, the department was advertising  in  a  market  in  which  a  Government  Business  Enterprise  and  retail  service  providers have commercial incentives to promote the benefits of the NBN to  drive uptake by consumers when it becomes available in different areas. While  it was open to the Government and DBCDE to conduct campaigns under the  Guidelines, the closely related communications objectives20 and activities of a  Department of State and a Government Business Enterprise with a commercial  charter  raises  questions  about  the  overall  efficiency  of  publicly  funded  advertising on the NBN, particularly given the focus, scale and timing of the  departmental  advertising  effort.  There  would  have  been  benefit  in  DBCDE  assessing the cost‐effectiveness of its proposed NBN campaigns, as part of its  original  advice  to  Ministers,  to  inform  government  decisions  on  the  campaigns’  targeting,  scale  and  timing.21  The  scope  for  tension  between  advertising of a Department of State and Government Business Enterprise is  also a matter that would benefit from consideration by Finance as it further  develops the campaign advertising framework. 

24. The fourth campai gn examined by the ANAO was the Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign,  which  cost  less  than  $250 000 and was not subject to ICC review.22 The compliance of this sensitive  campaign with the requirements of the framework was mixed. There was no  documented approval of the advertisement by the Health Minister, the DoHA 

                                                       18 NBN Co, 2012 Annual Report, pp. 25 and 26. 19

DBCDE advised the ICC that: ‘A failure to communicate more accurate information to the Australian public on the NBN would result in a continuation of … misunderstandings and misconceptions which will ultimately leave Australians exposed with little understanding and less likely to opt in or experience the personal, commercial and community benefits of the NBN in coming years. Overwhelmingly, the research found that re-engaging the public with the NBN initiative and tangible benefits would decrease misconceptions and ensure consumers were more accurately informed about this policy initiative and able to take appropriate action when it rolls out in their area.’ DBCDE, Statement of Compliance against the Information and Advertising Principles, signed 23 April 2012, p. 10. 20

For example: the objectives of DBCDE’s metropolitan NBN advertising campaign included to ‘build and maintain visibility by showing the personal, business, community and national benefits of connecting to the NBN’, and to ‘direct people to where they can get more information about how and when they can get connected (call to action)’; and NBN Co’s communications seek to promote the potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect to the network when it is available in their area. 21

A March 2012 update of the Cabinet Handbook included a requirement that proposals for information campaigns include justification of the cost-effectiveness of the campaign. The proposal for the metropolitan NBN campaign was considered by Ministers following this update. For further discussion on cost-effectiveness and advertising campaigns, see ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, pp. 69-77. 22

DoHA’s Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals advertising campaign was not subject to the certification process as it was valued at less than $250 000, and the department did not exercise its discretion, under paragraph 6 of the Guidelines, to request ICC advice.

Summary

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Secretary  or  a  responsible  departmental  delegate.23  Further,  DoHA  did  not  document its assessment of the campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines  during its (three day) development phase or subsequently.24 Staff in the offices  of the Health Minister and Prime Minister were significantly involved in the  campaign’s development, contributing actively to the drafting and editing of  the advertisement. This process led to the removal of contextual information  from  the  advertisement,  and  clouded  responsibility  for  the  campaign’s  development, which nonetheless remained formally with the department. 

25. The  Victorian  hospitals  advertisement  appeared  in  the  context  of  an  active and public debate between the Australian and Victorian governments  over a downward revision in October 2012 of $107 million in Commonwealth  healthcare funding to Victoria. In February 2013, the Australian Government  decided to pay an equal amount of funding directly to Victorian Local Hospital  Networks, and subsequently advertised the funding in Victorian newspapers.25  Within  this  context,  one  of  the  four  statements  in  the  advertisement:  ‘This  [Injecting  $107 million  into  Victorian  hospitals]  will  reverse  cuts  made  by  the  Victorian Government’, was not presented in an objective manner. The statement  attributed  full  responsibility  for  the  consequences  of  the  $107 million  downward  funding  revision  to  the   Victorian  Government,  when:  the  exact  amount  of  funding  to  be  provided  directly  to  Victorian  Local  Hospital  Networks was equal to the original Commonwealth funding revision; and the  original revision was a consequence of the application of a funding formula  agreed to by both the Australian and Victorian governments. Further, there are  likely  to  be  a  range  of  views  about  the  campaign’s  compliance  with  the  requirement that government advertisements not directly attack or scorn the  policies  or  actions  of  ‘others’—in  this  case,  aspects  of  the  Victorian  Government approach.26 

                                                       23 DoHA had corresponded with the Health Minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s office, and relevant office staff had indicated their agreement to the advertisement. DoHA advised the ANAO that it was the department’s ‘clear

understanding that the Minister's office was providing the Minister's approval to us’. DoHA advice to ANAO, 2 May 2013. 24 While DoHA advised that it was not practicable to document compliance in the limited time available for development—

a total of three days—there was scope to do so subsequently but this had not occurred at the time of preparation of this report. 25 A local hospital network is an organisation that provides public hospital services in accordance with the National Health

Reform Agreement. A local hospital network can contain one or more hospitals, and is usually defined as a business group, geographical area or community. Every Australian public hospital is part of a local hospital network. 26 Paragraph 28(b) of Principle 3 provides that: ‘campaign materials must not directly attack or scorn the views, policies or

actions of others such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups’.

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26. In relation to the ongoing administration of the campaign advertising  framework,  Finance  has  responded  in  a  timely  manner  to  the  majority  of  recommendations  and  suggestions  in  the  2011-12  ANAO  audit  report  on  government  advertising.  One  recommendation,  however,  remains  yet  to  be  acted upon—that Finance provide guidance to agencies to clarify which parts  of the Guidelines are mandatory and which are sound practice.27 In addition,  Finance has not yet addressed the suggestion in the previous audit report that  it report consolidated information on total Australian Government campaign  advertising  expenditure.  As  a  consequence,  this  audit  recommends  that  Finance publish consolidated information in its biannual reports on campaign  advertising  expenditure  by  FMA  Act  agencies,  to  further  strengthen  the  transparency of its reporting on government advertising expenditure. Another  aspect of government advertising for which transparency could be improved is  the use and effectiveness of campaign‐related promotional materials. In this  respect, FaHCSIA produced 20 000 families kits using funding from the public  relations component of the budgets of three of its advertising campaigns: the  HAP campaign; the Dad and Partner Pay campaign; and the Schoolkids Bonus  campaign. However, there was not as strong a link between the ‘families kits’  and the  HAP, as was the case for Dad and Partner Pay and the Schoolkids  Bonus.28 Future ANAO audits on government advertising will maintain a focus  on the use of campaign‐related promotional materials.29 

27. A  review  of  the  Australian  Government’s  campaign  advertising  framework  has  been  delayed  beyond  September 2013,  with  a  final  decision  regarding the need for a review to take into account the findings of this audit.  While a series of ANAO audits has found that the certification process and  third party review applying since 2008 have promoted compliance with the  framework, there remains scope to further refine and strengthen elements of  the  framework.  The  ANAO  has  made  two  recommendations  in  this  audit  directed  towards  Finance:  clarifying  the  application  of  an  aspect  of  the  Guidelines;  and  further  strengthening  the  transparency  of  reporting  on  government advertising expenditure. 

                                                       27 Finance indicated that this recommendation would be considered as part of the planned March 2012 review of the framework, however, a decision about the conduct of this review has been delayed until at least September 2013. 28

The audit also examined promotional materials for the regional NBN advertising campaign. 29 While the families kits contained brochures on Dad and Partner Pay and the Schoolkids Bonus, they did not contain similar specific information on the HAP.

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26. In relation to the ongoing administration of the campaign advertising  framework,  Finance  has  responded  in  a  timely  manner  to  the  majority  of  recommendations  and  suggestions  in  the  2011-12  ANAO  audit  report  on  government  advertising.  One  recommendation,  however,  remains  yet  to  be  acted upon—that Finance provide guidance to agencies to clarify which parts  of the Guidelines are mandatory and which are sound practice.27 In addition,  Finance has not yet addressed the suggestion in the previous audit report that  it report consolidated information on total Australian Government campaign  advertising  expenditure.  As  a  consequence,  this  audit  recommends  that  Finance publish consolidated information in its biannual reports on campaign  advertising  expenditure  by  FMA  Act  agencies,  to  further  strengthen  the  transparency of its reporting on government advertising expenditure. Another  aspect of government advertising for which transparency could be improved is  the use and effectiveness of campaign‐related promotional materials. In this  respect, FaHCSIA produced 20 000 families kits using funding from the public  relations component of the budgets of three of its advertising campaigns: the  HAP campaign; the Dad and Partner Pay campaign; and the Schoolkids Bonus  campaign. However, there was not as strong a link between the ‘families kits’  and the  HAP, as was the case for Dad and Partner Pay and the Schoolkids  Bonus.28 Future ANAO audits on government advertising will maintain a focus  on the use of campaign‐related promotional materials.29 

27. A  review  of  the  Australian  Government’s  campaign  advertising  framework  has  been  delayed  beyond  September 2013,  with  a  final  decision  regarding the need for a review to take into account the findings of this audit.  While a series of ANAO audits has found that the certification process and  third party review applying since 2008 have promoted compliance with the  framework, there remains scope to further refine and strengthen elements of  the  framework.  The  ANAO  has  made  two  recommendations  in  this  audit  directed  towards  Finance:  clarifying  the  application  of  an  aspect  of  the  Guidelines;  and  further  strengthening  the  transparency  of  reporting  on  government advertising expenditure. 

                                                       27 Finance indicated that this recommendation would be considered as part of the planned March 2012 review of the framework, however, a decision about the conduct of this review has been delayed until at least September 2013. 28

The audit also examined promotional materials for the regional NBN advertising campaign. 29 While the families kits contained brochures on Dad and Partner Pay and the Schoolkids Bonus, they did not contain similar specific information on the HAP.

Summary

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28. While the audit observed a range of compliance issues which agencies  should continue to have close regard to in applying the framework, a feature of  the  campaigns  examined  was  a  tendency  to  push  the  boundaries  of  the  Guidelines  in  some  areas,  with  insufficient  weight  being  given  to  the  underlying  principles  governing  the  use  of  public  funds  for  government  advertising campaigns.30 While recognising that the primary purpose of the  HAP  campaign  was  to  raise  awareness  of  the  financial  assistance  available  under the HAP, FaHCSIA’s decision not to directly refer to the introduction of  carbon pricing meant that the major advertisements did not fully inform the  public about the particular reason for the assistance—to assist with the cost  impacts resulting from a carbon price. In the case of the two NBN campaigns, a  new  situation  arose  in  which  a  Department  of  State  undertook  advertising  which was closely related to communications undertaken by the responsible  Government Business Enterprise, NBN Co, raising questions about the overall  efficiency of publicly funded advertising on the NBN and the value for money  of such an approach. Further, in the context of an active and public debate  between the Australian and Victorian governments, one o f the four statements  in the Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals advertisement was not  presented in an objective manner. 

29. The audit draws attention to an emerging risk of campaign advertising  not clearly meeting the enhanced expectations and arrangements established  by  the  Government  from  2008,  with  the  specific  purpose  of  ensuring  that  Government advertising and information campaigns ‘provide objective, factual  and  explanatory  information,  free  from  partisan  promotion  of  government  policy and political argument’.31 The Government deserves credit for lifting the  bar  on  the  standards  expected  when  it  introduced  the  new  arrangements.  However,  the  arrangements  need  to  be  supported  by  Ministers  so  that  Australian  Government  advertising  campaigns  are  directed  to  meeting  the  genuine  information  needs  of  citizens.  Agencies  also  have  a  direct  responsibility under the framework to meet the principles of the Guidelines,  which were introduced to strengthen confidence in the integrity and value of  government  communication  and  information  activities.  As  with  any  framework,  a  decline  in  standards  is  likely  in  the  absence  of  ongoing  reinforcement of its central features and their continued application. 

                                                       30 Refer to paragraph 5, see underlying principles (a) and (b). 31

Senator the Hon John Faulkner and the Hon Lindsay Tanner MP, Joint Media Release, New Advertising Guidelines, 2 July 2008, p. 1.

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Key findings by chapter

Chapter 2—Household Assistance Package Advertising Campaign

30. Following  the  Government’s  decision  in  March  2012  not  to  proceed  with a second phase of the Clean Energy Future (CEF) campaign32, FaHCSIA  developed  the  first  phase  of  the  Household  Assistance  Package  (HAP)  campaign within seven weeks. This was a challenging timeframe because the  campaign  involved  the  development  of  television  advertisements.  The  first  phase of the campaign ran from mid‐May to late June 2012. The second phase  ran from late June to July 2012, and was developed in a similar timeframe to  the  first  phase.  Overall,  FaHCSIA’s  implementation  of  the  HAP  campaign  generally  complied  with  the  Guidelines,  with  support  for  the  approach  adopted. Importantly, FaHCSIA provided the ICC with sufficient and relevant  evidence to verify the factual statements used in the campaign. 

31. The  HAP  was  intended  to  help  low  and  middle  income  households  adjust to the impact of the carbon price. The campaign advertisements focused  on the financial assistance available under the package and did not mention  that the reason for this assistance was to assist with the cost impacts resulting  from the carbon price. In supporting this approach, FaHCSIA cited research  which suggested that including content about the carbon price would impair  the

 effectiveness of the campaign. Irrespective of the creative concept testing  drawn upon by the department, the decision not to mention the link between  the HAP and the introduction of carbon pricing meant that the advertisements  did not fully inform the public about the particular reason for this assistance.  The advertisements attracted significant media and parliamentary scrutiny for  not directly mentioning the carbon price, which would otherwise have been  avoided.33 

32. The evaluation of the HAP campaign showed that it performed well in  increasing  awareness  and  understanding  of  the  payments,  tax  cuts  and  entitlements. Unprompted awareness of the HAP and recall of key campaign  messages rose substantially over the course of the campaign. The evaluation  also showed that respondents had variable understanding about the types of  ‘everyday expenses’ that the advertisements referred to. 

                                                       32 The first phase of the campaign was examined in ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, Chapter 8. 33

See for example: Sydney Morning Herald, Carbon ads don’t tax the viewer; 14 May 2012, and The Australian, Shhh … don't mention the carbon tax: government's compo ads omit mention of the measure, 14 May 2012.

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Key findings by chapter

Chapter 2—Household Assistance Package Advertising Campaign

30. Following  the  Government’s  decision  in  March  2012  not  to  proceed  with a second phase of the Clean Energy Future (CEF) campaign32, FaHCSIA  developed  the  first  phase  of  the  Household  Assistance  Package  (HAP)  campaign within seven weeks. This was a challenging timeframe because the  campaign  involved  the  development  of  television  advertisements.  The  first  phase of the campaign ran from mid‐May to late June 2012. The second phase  ran from late June to July 2012, and was developed in a similar timeframe to  the  first  phase.  Overall,  FaHCSIA’s  implementation  of  the  HAP  campaign  generally  complied  with  the  Guidelines,  with  support  for  the  approach  adopted. Importantly, FaHCSIA provided the ICC with sufficient and relevant  evidence to verify the factual statements used in the campaign. 

31. The  HAP  was  intended  to  help  low  and  middle  income  households  adjust to the impact of the carbon price. The campaign advertisements focused  on the financial assistance available under the package and did not mention  that the reason for this assistance was to assist with the cost impacts resulting  from the carbon price. In supporting this approach, FaHCSIA cited research  which suggested that including content about the carbon price would impair  the

 effectiveness of the campaign. Irrespective of the creative concept testing  drawn upon by the department, the decision not to mention the link between  the HAP and the introduction of carbon pricing meant that the advertisements  did not fully inform the public about the particular reason for this assistance.  The advertisements attracted significant media and parliamentary scrutiny for  not directly mentioning the carbon price, which would otherwise have been  avoided.33 

32. The evaluation of the HAP campaign showed that it performed well in  increasing  awareness  and  understanding  of  the  payments,  tax  cuts  and  entitlements. Unprompted awareness of the HAP and recall of key campaign  messages rose substantially over the course of the campaign. The evaluation  also showed that respondents had variable understanding about the types of  ‘everyday expenses’ that the advertisements referred to. 

                                                       32 The first phase of the campaign was examined in ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, Chapter 8. 33

See for example: Sydney Morning Herald, Carbon ads don’t tax the viewer; 14 May 2012, and The Australian, Shhh … don't mention the carbon tax: government's compo ads omit mention of the measure, 14 May 2012.

Summary

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Chapter 3—Regional National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign

33. DBCDE was tasked with delivering an advertising campaign focused  on regional and remote areas of Australia, to improve public understanding,  address  misconceptions,  and  provide  updated  information  about  the  NBN.  The regional NBN campaign was developed within 11 weeks, a challenging  timeframe  as  the  campaign  involved  the  development  of  television  advertisements. The campaign ran from late April 2012 to late June 2012. 

34. In the main, DBCDE’s administration of the regional NBN advertising  campaign  met  the  requirements  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  However,  on  several  occasions  DBCDE  provided  campaign  materials  and  supporting documentation to the ICC late, which did not effectively support  the third party review of the campaign. There were some technical inaccuracies  in a small number of statements made in the regional NBN campaign as part of  unscripted case studies. In approving the campaign media buy, DBCDE relied  on  the  Master  Media  Agency’s  advice.34  DBCDE  did  not  make  its  own  assessment of the cost‐effectiveness of the media buy, in accordance with the  requirements of the financial framework and the Guidelines.35 

35. It has long been recognised that it is legitimate for government to use  public funds to explain government policies, programs or services, to inform  members  o

f  the  public  of  their  obligations,  rights  and  entitlements,  to  encourage informed consideration of issues, or to change behaviour. DBCDE  identified a need for communications activities to address ‘misunderstandings  and misconceptions’ about the NBN. While acknowledging that the decision to  conduct  the  two  NBN  campaigns  was  a  matter  for  the  Government  and  DBCDE,  this  was  the  first  time  a  Department  of  State  has  conducted  advertising campaigns in an area in which a Government Business Enterprise  has charter responsibilities. NBN Co is responsible for designing, building and 

                                                       34 The Master Media Agency is part of the Australian Government’s Central Advertising System (CAS), which consolidates government advertising expenditure to secure optimal media discounts on Commonwealth-wide media rates. Under the

CAS, the responsible Master Media Agency assists in media planning, placement and rates negotiations with media outlets. 35 In this regard, Finance’s September 2012 Campaign Planning Guide states that: ‘Financial delegates should treat the

approval of [a Media Booking Authority] in the same way as they would treat any other spending proposal. That is, the delegate must be satisfied that the spending proposal would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources. To demonstrate this, you need to clearly document the process undertaken to select the recommended media channels and the volume/cost of advertising’, p. 60.

As discussed in Chapter 4, the department improved this aspect of its administration for the metropolitan NBN campaign.

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operating the NBN, and conducts its own communications activities to ensure  Australians  are  aware  of  the  NBN  construction  schedule,  to  promote  the  potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect  to  the  network  when  it  is  available  in  their  area.  While  DBCDE  sought  to  differentiate its activities from NBN Co by focusing on matters of government  policy,  the  closely  related  communications  objectives  and  activities  of  a  Department of State and a Government Business Enterprise with a commercial  charter raises questions around the focus, scale and timing of the departmental  advertising  effort.  Of  particular  note,  with  the  NBN  rollout  ongoing  until  202136, for a substantial number of households and businesses DBCDE’s large  scale  NBN  advertising  took  place  years  before  the  NBN  is  due  to  become  available in their area. There would have been benefit in DBCDE assessing the  cost‐effectiveness  of  its  proposed  NBN  campaigns  to  inform  government  decisions on the campaigns’ targeting, scale and timing. 

36. The evaluation report for the regional NBN advertising campaign was  finalised in July 2012. The evaluation noted improvements in understanding  and attitudes against the majority of the campaign’s objectives. For example;  understanding that the ‘NBN ro llout is now underway prioritising regional  Australia’  rose  from  37  to  52  per  cent  as  a  result  of  the  campaign;  understanding that the ‘NBN will deliver high speed reliable broadband to all  of Australia’ rose from 42 to 51 per cent; and the proportion of respondents  who believed that ‘the NBN would bring a lot of benefits to my community’  rose from 47 to 49 per cent. 

Chapter 4—Metropolitan National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign

37. DBCDE  was  tasked  with  delivering  an  NBN  advertising  campaign  focused on the metropolitan areas of Australia, where access to the network is  to be provided through optical fibre. The objectives of the campaign were to:  increase  understanding  about  the  NBN;  engage,  inform  and  educate  by  explaining facts, dispelling myths and showcasing the benefits of the NBN;  and direct people to further information about the NBN. DBCDE developed  the first phase of the campaign within 11 weeks, drawing on its experience in 

                                                       36 Refer to the NBN Co website for details of the NBN rollout schedule, available at: , [accessed 9 June 2013].

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operating the NBN, and conducts its own communications activities to ensure  Australians  are  aware  of  the  NBN  construction  schedule,  to  promote  the  potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect  to  the  network  when  it  is  available  in  their  area.  While  DBCDE  sought  to  differentiate its activities from NBN Co by focusing on matters of government  policy,  the  closely  related  communications  objectives  and  activities  of  a  Department of State and a Government Business Enterprise with a commercial  charter raises questions around the focus, scale and timing of the departmental  advertising  effort.  Of  particular  note,  with  the  NBN  rollout  ongoing  until  202136, for a substantial number of households and businesses DBCDE’s large  scale  NBN  advertising  took  place  years  before  the  NBN  is  due  to  become  available in their area. There would have been benefit in DBCDE assessing the  cost‐effectiveness  of  its  proposed  NBN  campaigns  to  inform  government  decisions on the campaigns’ targeting, scale and timing. 

36. The evaluation report for the regional NBN advertising campaign was  finalised in July 2012. The evaluation noted improvements in understanding  and attitudes against the majority of the campaign’s objectives. For example;  understanding that the ‘NBN ro llout is now underway prioritising regional  Australia’  rose  from  37  to  52  per  cent  as  a  result  of  the  campaign;  understanding that the ‘NBN will deliver high speed reliable broadband to all  of Australia’ rose from 42 to 51 per cent; and the proportion of respondents  who believed that ‘the NBN would bring a lot of benefits to my community’  rose from 47 to 49 per cent. 

Chapter 4—Metropolitan National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign

37. DBCDE  was  tasked  with  delivering  an  NBN  advertising  campaign  focused on the metropolitan areas of Australia, where access to the network is  to be provided through optical fibre. The objectives of the campaign were to:  increase  understanding  about  the  NBN;  engage,  inform  and  educate  by  explaining facts, dispelling myths and showcasing the benefits of the NBN;  and direct people to further information about the NBN. DBCDE developed  the first phase of the campaign within 11 weeks, drawing on its experience in 

                                                       36 Refer to the NBN Co website for details of the NBN rollout schedule, available at: , [accessed 9 June 2013].

Summary

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developing the regional NBN campaign. The campaign ran from November  2012 to mid‐January 2013. 

38. DBCDE’s  administration  of  the  metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign  generally  met  the  requirements  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  For  this  campaign,  DBCDE  improved  its  administration  by:  providing  the  ICC  with  sufficient  and  relevant  evidence  to  verify  factual  statements  used  in  the  campaign;  and  assessing  and  refining  the  cost‐effectiveness of the proposed media buy. 

39. As part of its review of the campaign, the ICC identified the need for  additional  testing  of  print  materials,  as  the  materials  had  generally  tested  poorly.  Additional  testing  indicated  relative  improvement  in  the  advertisements,  but  did  not  make  it  clear  that  the  advertisements  were  engaging or expected to perform well against the objectives of the campaign  (which is encouraged under the Guidelines). Following the initial use of the  materials,  DBCDE  decided  to  discontinue  their  use,  as  they  were  underperforming relative to other media. In this respect, DBCDE’s monitoring  of  the  effectiveness  of  the  campaign  materials  enabled  it  to  redirect  some  expenditure  on  print  materials  to  a  better  performing  media  channel.  The  department’s experience demonstrates the value of creative concept testing as  a means of indicating whether creative materials are engaging and performing  well

 against campaign objectives. 

40. The evaluation report for the first phase of the metropolitan campaign  was  completed  in  January  2013.  After  being  provided  with  tailored  descriptions  of  metropolitan  NBN  campaign  advertisements  for  different  media,  33  per  cent  of  the  respondents  recalled  having  seen  campaign  advertisements  on  television,  17  per  cent  recalled  hearing  campaign  advertisements  on  the  radio,  and  nine  per  cent  recalled  seeing  a  campaign  advertisement in the print media. The evaluation also measured changes in  respondents’ attitudes towards key campaign messages, which had sought to  clarify misperceptions about the NBN. For example, respondents’ agreement to  the statement ‘the NBN is delivering fibre optic all the way to the home’ rose  from 39 per cent before the campaign, to 47 per cent in the final week of the  evaluation. In relation to the campaign objective to direct people to further  information about the NBN, both the campaign and NBN Co websites saw a  significant increase in site visits during the campaign. 

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Chapter 5—Commonwealth Funding of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaign

41. In  October  2012,  the  Treasurer  made  two  announcements  which  involved a downward revision in Commonwealth funding of health services.  In Victoria, the revision amounted to $107 million for 2011-12 and 2012-13.  The funding revision was the result of the application of a funding formula  which had been agreed to by both the Australian and Victorian governments.  The revision and its consequences for healthcare services were the focus of  active  debate  between  the  Commonwealth  and  State  Health  Ministers,  and  generated  extensive  media  coverage.  In  February  2013,  the  Australian  Government announced it would provide $107 million in funding directly to  Victorian Local Hospital Networks. DoHA was tasked with developing a print  advertising  campaign  to  follow  the  announcement  of  the  funding.  The  campaign was developed in approximately three days, and ran in Victorian  newspapers over two weekends. 

42. Ministers  are  responsible  for  authorising  campaign  development  in  their portfolios and for authorising the launch of a campaign; and agencies  remain responsible for campaigns, including compliance with the Guidelines.  However,  there  was  no  documented  approval  of  the  advertisement  by  the  Health Minister, the DoHA Secretary or a responsible departmental delegate.37  In addition, DoHA made no direct representations to the Minister about the  campaign’s compliance with the G

uidelines in relevant briefings.38 Staff in the 

offices of the Health Minister and Prime Minister were significantly involved  in the campaign’s development, including actively contributing to drafting and  editing  the  advertisement.  This  process  led  to  the  removal  of  contextual  information  from  the  advertisement,  and  clouded  responsibility  for  the  campaign’s development, even though this responsibility remained with the  department. 

                                                       37 DoHA had corresponded with the Health Minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s office, and relevant office staff had indicated their agreement to the advertisement. DoHA advised the ANAO that it was the department’s ‘clear

understanding that the Minister's office was providing the Minister's approval to us’. DoHA advice to ANAO, 2 May 2013. 38 DoHA referred to the Guidelines in a covering email to a member of the Minister’s office in which a copy of the brief

seeking financial approval to conduct the campaign was included. DoHA specifically noted: ‘It is important that the advertising content remains consistent with the principle of the Australian Government Advertising Campaign Guidelines (ie. strictly factual, etc)’. The relevant DoHA officer advised the ANAO that: ‘In addition to face to face discussions with staff from the Minister's office, where I discussed the requirements of the Advertising Guidelines, I also discussed the Guidelines over the phone, and clearly in the email providing the Minute seeking expenditure approval’.

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Chapter 5—Commonwealth Funding of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaign

41. In  October  2012,  the  Treasurer  made  two  announcements  which  involved a downward revision in Commonwealth funding of health services.  In Victoria, the revision amounted to $107 million for 2011-12 and 2012-13.  The funding revision was the result of the application of a funding formula  which had been agreed to by both the Australian and Victorian governments.  The revision and its consequences for healthcare services were the focus of  active  debate  between  the  Commonwealth  and  State  Health  Ministers,  and  generated  extensive  media  coverage.  In  February  2013,  the  Australian  Government announced it would provide $107 million in funding directly to  Victorian Local Hospital Networks. DoHA was tasked with developing a print  advertising  campaign  to  follow  the  announcement  of  the  funding.  The  campaign was developed in approximately three days, and ran in Victorian  newspapers over two weekends. 

42. Ministers  are  responsible  for  authorising  campaign  development  in  their portfolios and for authorising the launch of a campaign; and agencies  remain responsible for campaigns, including compliance with the Guidelines.  However,  there  was  no  documented  approval  of  the  advertisement  by  the  Health Minister, the DoHA Secretary or a responsible departmental delegate.37  In addition, DoHA made no direct representations to the Minister about the  campaign’s compliance with the G

uidelines in relevant briefings.38 Staff in the 

offices of the Health Minister and Prime Minister were significantly involved  in the campaign’s development, including actively contributing to drafting and  editing  the  advertisement.  This  process  led  to  the  removal  of  contextual  information  from  the  advertisement,  and  clouded  responsibility  for  the  campaign’s development, even though this responsibility remained with the  department. 

                                                       37 DoHA had corresponded with the Health Minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s office, and relevant office staff had indicated their agreement to the advertisement. DoHA advised the ANAO that it was the department’s ‘clear

understanding that the Minister's office was providing the Minister's approval to us’. DoHA advice to ANAO, 2 May 2013. 38 DoHA referred to the Guidelines in a covering email to a member of the Minister’s office in which a copy of the brief

seeking financial approval to conduct the campaign was included. DoHA specifically noted: ‘It is important that the advertising content remains consistent with the principle of the Australian Government Advertising Campaign Guidelines (ie. strictly factual, etc)’. The relevant DoHA officer advised the ANAO that: ‘In addition to face to face discussions with staff from the Minister's office, where I discussed the requirements of the Advertising Guidelines, I also discussed the Guidelines over the phone, and clearly in the email providing the Minute seeking expenditure approval’.

Summary

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43. The  advertisement  appeared  in  the  context  of  an  active  and  public  debate between the Australian and Victorian governments over the October  2012  healthcare  funding  revision.  Within  this  context,  one  of  the  four  statements  in  the  advertisement  was  not  presented  in  an  objective  manner:  ‘This [Injecting $107 million into Victorian hospitals] will reverse cuts made by the  Victorian  Government’.  The  statement  attributed  full  responsibility  for  the  consequences of the $107 million downward funding revision to the Victorian  Government, when: the exact amount of funding to be provided to Victorian  Local Hospital Networks was equal to the original Commonwealth funding  revision; and the original revision was a consequence of the application of the  funding formula agreed to by both the Australian and Victorian governments.  The  advertisement  highlighted  only  one  perspective—that  the  Victorian  Government  was  responsible  for  the  reduction  in  public  hospital  funding  because it decided to pass on the revision in Commonwealth funding to Local  Hospital  Networks,  rather  than  maintain  the  previous  level  of  funding  by  replacing the $107 million through the use of own‐source funds. 

44. The  advertisement  contained  no  overt  promotion  of  party  political  interests, and was therefore compliant with the main thrust of P rinciple 3 of  the Guidelines. Nevertheless, there are likely to be a range of views about the  campaign’s compliance with the spirit of the Principle, as the advertisement  may be interpreted as directly attacking or scorning the policies or actions of  ‘others’—in  this  case,  aspects  of  the  Victorian  Government  approach.  The  Guidelines have been framed in an Australian Government context and do not  explicitly address campaign statements which refer to other governments. This  is an area of the Guidelines that would benefit from further review in light of  this campaign. 

Chapter 6—Administration of the Campaign Advertising Framework

45. Finance  has  responded  in  a  timely  manner  to  the  majority  of  recommendations  and  suggestions  in  the  2011-12  ANAO  audit  report  on  government advertising.39 In particular, Finance’s publication of the Campaign 

                                                       39 In addition, the 2011-12 ANAO audit report (paragraphs 2.32-2.34) noted that the 2010 review of the campaign advertising framework recommended that information regarding the cost‐effectiveness of proposed campaigns be

mandatory at the initial approval stage (with the Cabinet Handbook revised accordingly). At the time of that audit, PM&C advised that an updated draft of the Cabinet Handbook reflecting the recommendation was before the Government for consideration. The March 2012 edition of the Cabinet Handbook includes the requirement that proposals for information campaigns include justification of the cost-effectiveness of the campaign.

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Planning Guide40 in September 2012 has assisted in clarifying administrative  responsibilities  under  the  Guidelines,  and  Finance  has  reviewed  its  chief  executive certification template for alignment with the Guidelines. Finance has  also actively participated in and supported the new Peer Review Group (PRG)  process,  contributing  its  experience  in  campaign  advertising.  In  a  similar  fashion, Finance has provided sound advice to the ICC to support its review of  the compliance of campaigns with Principles 1 through 4 of the Guidelines. 

46. Overall,  in  its  initial  15  months,  the  PRG  has  assisted  agencies  in  developing their communication activities, and has provided a useful forum  for sharing communications experience and building the capability of agencies  and their staff. The ICC’s review of the HAP and NBN campaigns resulted in a  range of improvements by the relevant departments to creative materials and  supporting  campaign  documentation,  thereby  strengthening  campaign  compliance with the Guidelines. While there will always be scope for debate  about the appropriate level of external involvement in agency campaigns, and  the potential ‘compliance burden’ this may represent, the ANAO continued to  observe, as in the previous audit, that there is benefit in third party scrutiny  and advice for campaigns which are viewed as b eing more sensitive. From an  agency  perspective,  the  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  highlighted  the  potential  benefit  in  agencies  seeking  independent advice for more sensitive campaigns valued at less than $250 000  to inform their application of the Guidelines. For example, this may involve  seeking advice from Finance or the ICC.41 

Summary of agency responses 47. Extracts of the proposed report were provided to FaHCSIA, DBCDE,  DoHA,  Finance,  the  ICC,  PM&C  and  NBN  Co.  FaHCSIA,  DBCDE,  DoHA,  Finance, and NBN Co provided a formal response. Summary responses of the  agencies  subject  to  audit  are  provided  below.  The  full  responses  of  these  agencies and NBN Co are provided at Appendix 1. 

                                                       40 Department of Finance and Deregulation, Campaign Planning Guide for Australian Government Departments and Agencies, September 2012, p. 51. 41

As previously noted, agency chief executives have the discretion to seek consideration of these campaigns by the ICC.

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Planning Guide40 in September 2012 has assisted in clarifying administrative  responsibilities  under  the  Guidelines,  and  Finance  has  reviewed  its  chief  executive certification template for alignment with the Guidelines. Finance has  also actively participated in and supported the new Peer Review Group (PRG)  process,  contributing  its  experience  in  campaign  advertising.  In  a  similar  fashion, Finance has provided sound advice to the ICC to support its review of  the compliance of campaigns with Principles 1 through 4 of the Guidelines. 

46. Overall,  in  its  initial  15  months,  the  PRG  has  assisted  agencies  in  developing their communication activities, and has provided a useful forum  for sharing communications experience and building the capability of agencies  and their staff. The ICC’s review of the HAP and NBN campaigns resulted in a  range of improvements by the relevant departments to creative materials and  supporting  campaign  documentation,  thereby  strengthening  campaign  compliance with the Guidelines. While there will always be scope for debate  about the appropriate level of external involvement in agency campaigns, and  the potential ‘compliance burden’ this may represent, the ANAO continued to  observe, as in the previous audit, that there is benefit in third party scrutiny  and advice for campaigns which are viewed as b eing more sensitive. From an  agency  perspective,  the  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  highlighted  the  potential  benefit  in  agencies  seeking  independent advice for more sensitive campaigns valued at less than $250 000  to inform their application of the Guidelines. For example, this may involve  seeking advice from Finance or the ICC.41 

Summary of agency responses 47. Extracts of the proposed report were provided to FaHCSIA, DBCDE,  DoHA,  Finance,  the  ICC,  PM&C  and  NBN  Co.  FaHCSIA,  DBCDE,  DoHA,  Finance, and NBN Co provided a formal response. Summary responses of the  agencies  subject  to  audit  are  provided  below.  The  full  responses  of  these  agencies and NBN Co are provided at Appendix 1. 

                                                       40 Department of Finance and Deregulation, Campaign Planning Guide for Australian Government Departments and Agencies, September 2012, p. 51. 41

As previously noted, agency chief executives have the discretion to seek consideration of these campaigns by the ICC.

Summary

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Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

48. The  Auditor‐Generalʹs  report  acknowledges  that  the  HAP  campaign  was developed within challenging timeframes, and provided the Independent  Communications  Committee  (ICC)  with  sufficient  and  relevant  evidence  to  verify  the  factual  statements  used  in  the  campaign.  Accordingly  the  ICCʹs  review found the campaign to be fully compliant with Principles 1‐4 of the  Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government  Departments and Agencies. 

49. However, FaHCSIA has concerns about some of the issues raised and  provides the following formal response. 

 The report states there is not a strong link between the families kits and  HAP. We strongly disagree with this statement. An overarching plan  for communicating with families was developed because most of the  target audience (families receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A) would be  receiving  a  range  of  targeted  payments  in  2013.  These  included  the  Schoolkids Bonus, HAP, Dad and Partner Pay (DaPP) and Family Tax  Benefit supplements. Some of the payments would be new, such as the  Schoolkids Bonus, and the timing of some payments would overlap.  For example, the second instalment of the Schoolkids Bonus coincides  with the payment to eligible families of the Clean Energy Supplement  as  an

  ongoing  entitlement  forming  part  of  the  Clean  Energy  Future  Household  Assistance  Package.  With  a  range  of  payments  being  delivered to families, the Department identified a risk that they may  become  confused  about  the  purpose  of  some  payments  or  fear  they  have been overpaid. Developmental research highlighted the need for  mass media communications to mitigate risk of confusion, as well as  fulfil the information needs of the target audience. 

 Development of the families kit was designed to provide information  on each of the payments and to direct people to the families.gov.au  website for further information. One of the inclusions in the kit, the  2013 calendar, contains four specific references to HAP payments. No  specific materials were developed for the HAP campaign. However, the  families  webpage  provides  information  about  HAP  and  links  to  the  HAP webpage. At the time of the ANAO audit (February 2013), the  campaign  was  not  active  and  did  not  feature  prominently  on  the  families.gov.au  website  as  other  campaigns  were  active  at  that  time 

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(DaPP, Schoolkids Bonus). Phase three of the HAP campaign launched  in March 2013 and has featured prominently on the website since.  

 Second, the report states several times that, as the link between HAP  and carbon pricing was not mentioned in advertising, the public was  not fully informed about the reason for government assistance. On this  basis,  ANAO  finds  that  FaHCSIA   ʹ generally  implementedʹ  the  campaign  in  compliance  with  the  Guidelines.  Based  on  significant  research, FaHCSIA took the decision to use channels (such as public  relations and the website) other than advertising to contextualise HAP  as part of the carbon pricing mechanism. This research indicated that  simple messages about the detail of HAP, independent of references to  and  explanation  about  the  carbon  pricing  mechanism,  was  the  most  effective way of increasing mass understanding and awareness (ie. the  advertising  treatment).  However,  this  research  also  indicated  that  it  was  necessary  to  contextualise  HAP  in  terms  of  the  Clean  Energy  Future plan through activities other than advertising. Following review  of the campaign on several occasions, the ICC found that the campaign  conformed  with  Principles  1  to  4  of  the  Guidelines.  In  response  to  ANAOʹs  assessment,  FaHCSIA  believes  the  campaign  was  fully  implemented

 in compliance with the Guidelines. 

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

50. The  report  does  identify  that  the  NBN  campaigns  were  in  market  during  a  period  of  time  where  NBN  Co.  and  retail  service  providers  were  advertising. The Department would reiterate that the extent of cross over in  advertising  was  extremely  limited  and  occurred  through  different  communication  channels.  Government  NBN  advertising  focused  on  overarching  policy  messaging  and  dispelling  myths  and  misconceptions  identified  in  developmental  research  conducted  by  Open  Mind  (2012).  NBN Co. and RSPs, on the other hand, focused primarily on roll‐out, migration  and commercial imperatives. As noted in the report, DBCDE coordinated its  activities with NBN Co. as required by the Government and supported by the  ICC to ensure carefully targeted, complementary messaging. 

Department of Health and Ageing

51. The Ê¹Commonwealth Funding of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaignʹ  was developed to address an issue of significant concern, specifically to inform 

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(DaPP, Schoolkids Bonus). Phase three of the HAP campaign launched  in March 2013 and has featured prominently on the website since.  

 Second, the report states several times that, as the link between HAP  and carbon pricing was not mentioned in advertising, the public was  not fully informed about the reason for government assistance. On this  basis,  ANAO  finds  that  FaHCSIA   ʹ generally  implementedʹ  the  campaign  in  compliance  with  the  Guidelines.  Based  on  significant  research, FaHCSIA took the decision to use channels (such as public  relations and the website) other than advertising to contextualise HAP  as part of the carbon pricing mechanism. This research indicated that  simple messages about the detail of HAP, independent of references to  and  explanation  about  the  carbon  pricing  mechanism,  was  the  most  effective way of increasing mass understanding and awareness (ie. the  advertising  treatment).  However,  this  research  also  indicated  that  it  was  necessary  to  contextualise  HAP  in  terms  of  the  Clean  Energy  Future plan through activities other than advertising. Following review  of the campaign on several occasions, the ICC found that the campaign  conformed  with  Principles  1  to  4  of  the  Guidelines.  In  response  to  ANAOʹs  assessment,  FaHCSIA  believes  the  campaign  was  fully  implemented

 in compliance with the Guidelines. 

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

50. The  report  does  identify  that  the  NBN  campaigns  were  in  market  during  a  period  of  time  where  NBN  Co.  and  retail  service  providers  were  advertising. The Department would reiterate that the extent of cross over in  advertising  was  extremely  limited  and  occurred  through  different  communication  channels.  Government  NBN  advertising  focused  on  overarching  policy  messaging  and  dispelling  myths  and  misconceptions  identified  in  developmental  research  conducted  by  Open  Mind  (2012).  NBN Co. and RSPs, on the other hand, focused primarily on roll‐out, migration  and commercial imperatives. As noted in the report, DBCDE coordinated its  activities with NBN Co. as required by the Government and supported by the  ICC to ensure carefully targeted, complementary messaging. 

Department of Health and Ageing

51. The Ê¹Commonwealth Funding of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaignʹ  was developed to address an issue of significant concern, specifically to inform 

Summary

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residents of Victoria about the availability of public hospital services through  changed Commonwealth funding arrangements.  

Department of Finance and Deregulation

52. The Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) welcomes the  ANAOʹs  assessment  that  since  the  tabling  of  ANAO  Audit  Report  No.24,   2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to  August  2011,  it  has  further  strengthened  its  strategies  and  processes  for  supporting agencies in developing campaigns which meet the requirements of  the Governmentʹs campaign advertising guidelines. Finance also welcomes the  acknowledgement  that  its  expertise  in  campaign  advertising  has  been  of  benefit  to  the  review  processes  of  both  the  Independent  Communications  Committee (ICC) and to the Peer Review Group (which it co‐chairs). 

53. However, Finance does not concur with the ANAOʹs remarks in the  Overall Conclusion section of report, specifically the suggestion that there is  ‘ ...  an  emerging  risk  of  campaign  advertising  not  clearly  meeting  the  enhanced  expectations  and  arrangements  established  by  the  Government  from  2008.’  While  Finance notes the ANAOʹs view that the four campaigns included within the  scope of the audit tended to push the boundaries of the Guidelines, it does not  accept  that  there  is  strong  evidence  of  emerging  risks  to  the  campaign  framework as a whole. 

54. Indeed,  a  key  finding  of  the  audit  is  that  the  ICCʹs  reviews  of  campaigns ‘... resulted in a range of improvements by the responsible departments to  campaign materials and supporting documentation, which led to the strengthening of  each  campaignʹs  compliance  with  the  2010  Guidelines.’  Accordingly,  the  audit  report  tends  to  suggest  that  the  independent  review  arrangements  for  advertising  campaigns  are  operating  as  intended,  including  as  a  means  to  ensure that the responsible agencies are considering and adopting strategies to  better demonstrate compliance with the Governmentʹs campaign advertising  guidelines. 

ANAO comment

55. The  ANAO  recognised  in  its  overall  conclusion  to  this  report  that  where  it  applied,  the  ICC’s  campaign  review  process  together  with  the  certification of campaigns by chief executives, led to the strengthening of the  campaigns’ compliance with the Guidelines (refer to paragraph 20). However,  one

 of the four  campaigns reviewed by the ANAO was  not subject to ICC  review and chief executive certification. More broadly, across the campaigns 

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reviewed there was a tendency to push the boundaries of the Guidelines in  some  areas,  which  draws  attention  to  an  emerging  risk  of  campaign  advertising not clearly meeting the enhanced expectations and arrangements  established by the Government from 2008 (refer to paragraphs 28 and 29). 

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reviewed there was a tendency to push the boundaries of the Guidelines in  some  areas,  which  draws  attention  to  an  emerging  risk  of  campaign  advertising not clearly meeting the enhanced expectations and arrangements  established by the Government from 2008 (refer to paragraphs 28 and 29). 

Summary

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Recommendations

The ANAO has made two recommendations directed towards Finance: clarifying the  application of an aspect of the Guidelines; and further strengthening the transparency  of reporting on government advertising expenditure. 

In addition, one recommendation of the 2011-12 ANAO audit report on government  advertising remains  relevant—that Finance  provide  guidance to  agencies  to  clarify  which parts of the Guidelines are mandatory and which are sound practice. Finance  advised  the  ANAO  that  the  clarity  and  interpretation  of  the  Guidelines  would  be  examined when the Government’s campaign advertising framework is next subject to  review. 

Recommendation No. 1

Paragraph 6.10

To improve the transparency of Australian Government  expenditure  on  campaign  advertising,  the  ANAO  recommends  that  the  Department  of  Finance  and  Deregulation  report  the  total  campaign  advertising  expenditure,  including  expenditure  related  to  ‘consultants,  services  and  other  costs’,  and  GST,  in  its  reports on Campaign Advertising by Australian Government  Departments and Agencies. 

Finance response: Not agreed 

Recommendation No. 2

Paragraph 6.35

To support the application of the specific requirements  and  intent  of  the  2010  Guidelines  on  Information  and  Advertising  Campaigns  by  Australian  Government  Departments and Agencies, the ANAO recommends that  the Department of Finance and Deregulation clarify the  appropriate  application  of  paragraph  28(b)  of  the  Guidelines. 

Finance response: Agreed 

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Audit Findings

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1. Introduction

This  chapter  provides  an  overview  of  the  Australian  Government  campaign  advertising framework. It also outlines the audit approach. 

Government advertising 1.1 Advertising  is  an  important  and  legitimate  element  of  government  communication  and  information  strategies.  Governments  use  advertising  to  inform  the  public  about  government  policies,  programs  and  services  which  affect  their  entitlements,  rights  and  obligations.  In  2011-12,  total  campaign  advertising42 expenditure by Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997  (FMA Act) agencies was some $224 million.43 

1.2 While  campaign  advertising  is  a  legitimate  and  accepted  element  of  government communication and information strategies, there have long been  concerns  that  governments  may  use,  or  may  be  perceived  to  use,  taxpayer  funds to gain political advantage, rather than to meet the genuine information  needs of citizens.44 

The campaign advertising framework 1.3 The Australian Government significantly enhanced the arrangements  applying to government advertising in 2008.45 The new arrangements made it  clear  that  campaign  development  was  to  be  wholly  undertaken  by  the  commissioning department or agency, addressing one of the most challenging  areas in relation to earlier campaigns, that of achieving clarity in the roles of 

                                                       42 Campaign advertising is defined as involving: ‘paid media placement and is designed to inform, educate, motivate or change behaviour’. Non-campaign advertising is defined as: ‘simple, informative advertising that generally appears only

once or twice, contains factual statements and typically has a low creative content’. Source: Finance, Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, March 2010, paragraphs 9 and 10. 43

The total campaign advertising expenditure includes media placement costs, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ and GST. See paragraph 6.7 for further discussion. In 2011-12, media placement costs were reported by the Department of Finance and Deregulation to be $139.7 million, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ were $63.6 million, and GST costs were $20.3 million. Media placement costs for the 2012 calendar year were reported to be $111.9 million. 44

Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Government advertising and accountability, 2005, p. xiii. In the Committee’s view, two major mechanisms were required to deal with these concerns: ‘The first is an adequate system for disclosing the quantum of advertising expenditure and, equally importantly, for disclosing the public policy justification of major advertising campaigns. The second is the scrutiny of that justification and of the government’s proposed campaign material against agreed guidelines’, p. xvii. 45

The arrangements were informed by recommendations of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit and a Senate Inquiry. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, paragraph 3.

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1. Introduction

This  chapter  provides  an  overview  of  the  Australian  Government  campaign  advertising framework. It also outlines the audit approach. 

Government advertising 1.1 Advertising  is  an  important  and  legitimate  element  of  government  communication  and  information  strategies.  Governments  use  advertising  to  inform  the  public  about  government  policies,  programs  and  services  which  affect  their  entitlements,  rights  and  obligations.  In  2011-12,  total  campaign  advertising42 expenditure by Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997  (FMA Act) agencies was some $224 million.43 

1.2 While  campaign  advertising  is  a  legitimate  and  accepted  element  of  government communication and information strategies, there have long been  concerns  that  governments  may  use,  or  may  be  perceived  to  use,  taxpayer  funds to gain political advantage, rather than to meet the genuine information  needs of citizens.44 

The campaign advertising framework 1.3 The Australian Government significantly enhanced the arrangements  applying to government advertising in 2008.45 The new arrangements made it  clear  that  campaign  development  was  to  be  wholly  undertaken  by  the  commissioning department or agency, addressing one of the most challenging  areas in relation to earlier campaigns, that of achieving clarity in the roles of 

                                                       42 Campaign advertising is defined as involving: ‘paid media placement and is designed to inform, educate, motivate or change behaviour’. Non-campaign advertising is defined as: ‘simple, informative advertising that generally appears only

once or twice, contains factual statements and typically has a low creative content’. Source: Finance, Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, March 2010, paragraphs 9 and 10. 43

The total campaign advertising expenditure includes media placement costs, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ and GST. See paragraph 6.7 for further discussion. In 2011-12, media placement costs were reported by the Department of Finance and Deregulation to be $139.7 million, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ were $63.6 million, and GST costs were $20.3 million. Media placement costs for the 2012 calendar year were reported to be $111.9 million. 44

Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Government advertising and accountability, 2005, p. xiii. In the Committee’s view, two major mechanisms were required to deal with these concerns: ‘The first is an adequate system for disclosing the quantum of advertising expenditure and, equally importantly, for disclosing the public policy justification of major advertising campaigns. The second is the scrutiny of that justification and of the government’s proposed campaign material against agreed guidelines’, p. xvii. 45

The arrangements were informed by recommendations of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit and a Senate Inquiry. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, paragraph 3.

Introduction

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Ministers and their offices on the one hand and agencies on the other.46 The  2008 Guidelines provided that campaigns could be approved for launch only  when the responsible agency chief executive had certified that the campaign  complied with the Guidelines and relevant government policies. At that time,  for campaigns with expenditure over $250 000, the Auditor‐General provided a  report  to  the  responsible  minister  on  the  proposed  campaign’s  compliance  with the Guidelines, based on a limited assurance approach.47 The Government  decided in early 2010 to revise the 2008 arrangements by not continuing the  Auditor‐General’s  review  role  and  establishing  an  Independent  Communications Committee (ICC) to provide advice on compliance to agency  chief  executives,  who  would  in  turn  provide  a  certification  to  the  relevant  Minister.48  The  Auditor‐General  was  requested  to  undertake  performance  audits of the administration of government advertising, and has agreed to do  so. 

1.4 As part of the revised arrangements in 2010, the Government updated  the  Guidelines  on  Information  and  Advertising  Campaigns  by  Australian  Government Departments and Agencies (the 2010 Guidelines/the Guidelines) to  reflect its revised policy position, replacing the guidelines introduced in 2008.  The  Guidelines,  combined  with  certain  advertising‐specific  procurement  arrangements49  and  the  Australian  Government’s  financial  management 

                                                       46 ANAO Report No.2, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review 2008-09, p. 9. 47

The review of a proposed advertising campaign’s compliance, undertaken by the ANAO as the basis for the Auditor-General’s report, was designed to provide limited assurance in accordance with the relevant Australian Standard on Assurance Engagements. The limited assurance approach was designed to ensure sufficient appropriate evidence was obtained to enable an assurance conclusion to be formed in relation to an advertising campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines. 48

ANAO Report No.38, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review July 2009-March 2010, provides further background on the changes. 49 A Communications Multi-Use List of all communications consultants interested in working on government information

and advertising campaigns must be used by agencies to select communications consultants for campaigns over $250 000, and replaces all other agency procurement mechanisms. A Central Advertising System consolidates government advertising expenditure with the goal of securing media discounts for government. Two ‘master media’ agencies are contracted by the Department of Finance and Deregulation to manage media planning, placement and rates negotiations with media outlets.

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requirements50, make up the campaign advertising framework applying since  March 2010 to all departments and agencies subject to the FMA Act.51 

1.5 The 2010 Guidelines outline the following three underlying principles  governing  the  use  of  public  funds  for  all  government  information  and  advertising campaigns: 

 members  of  the  public  have  equal  rights  to  access  comprehensive  information about government policies, programs and services which  affect their entitlements, rights and obligations; 

 governments may legitimately use public funds to explain government  policies, programs or services, to inform members of the public of their  obligations,  rights  and  entitlements,  to  encourage  informed  consideration of issues or to change behaviour; and 

 government  campaigns  must  not  be  conducted  for  party  political  purposes. 

1.6 The Guidelines also include five detailed ‘Information and Advertising  Campaign Principles’ (the Principles) as a basis for regulating the probity and  cost‐effectiveness of campaign advertising. The principles are: 

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities; 

Principle 2: Campaign materials should be presented in an objective, fair and  accessible manner and be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign; 

Principle 3: Campaign  materials  should  be  objective  and  not  directed  at  promoting party political interests; 

Principle 4: C ampaigns  should  be  justified  and  undertaken  in  an  efficient,  effective and relevant manner; and 

Principle 5: Campaigns  must  comply  with  legal  requirements  and  procurement policies and procedures.52 

                                                       50 Financial framework requirements, established by the FMA Act and the FMA Regulations 1997, operate independently of the 2010 Guidelines. The financial framework promotes the proper use of Commonwealth resources.

51 In relation to the 2010 revisions to the Guidelines, a 2009-10 ANAO audit report noted that: ‘It is apparent that while the March 2010 Guidelines provide a greater level of specificity in some areas, other areas are less specific than before. This is particularly so in the case of Principle 1, which provides a broader scope in determining the suitable uses of

government advertising campaigns, Principle 3, which provides less guidance in interpreting whether campaign materials promote party political interests, and Principle 4, which no longer requires a cost‐benefit analysis to support the proposed campaign. As previously indicated to the Government, these changes represent a general softening in the application of requirements on agencies. Nevertheless, these are matters that rest with Government for decision’. Source: ANAO, Audit Report No.38, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review July 2009 - March 2010, p. 15. 52

The five principles contain additional requirements set out in 18 sub-paragraphs. The sub-paragraphs, as observed in a previous ANAO audit, contain a mix of mandatory and sound practice requirements. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, Chapter 2.

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requirements50, make up the campaign advertising framework applying since  March 2010 to all departments and agencies subject to the FMA Act.51 

1.5 The 2010 Guidelines outline the following three underlying principles  governing  the  use  of  public  funds  for  all  government  information  and  advertising campaigns: 

 members  of  the  public  have  equal  rights  to  access  comprehensive  information about government policies, programs and services which  affect their entitlements, rights and obligations; 

 governments may legitimately use public funds to explain government  policies, programs or services, to inform members of the public of their  obligations,  rights  and  entitlements,  to  encourage  informed  consideration of issues or to change behaviour; and 

 government  campaigns  must  not  be  conducted  for  party  political  purposes. 

1.6 The Guidelines also include five detailed ‘Information and Advertising  Campaign Principles’ (the Principles) as a basis for regulating the probity and  cost‐effectiveness of campaign advertising. The principles are: 

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities; 

Principle 2: Campaign materials should be presented in an objective, fair and  accessible manner and be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign; 

Principle 3: Campaign  materials  should  be  objective  and  not  directed  at  promoting party political interests; 

Principle 4: C ampaigns  should  be  justified  and  undertaken  in  an  efficient,  effective and relevant manner; and 

Principle 5: Campaigns  must  comply  with  legal  requirements  and  procurement policies and procedures.52 

                                                       50 Financial framework requirements, established by the FMA Act and the FMA Regulations 1997, operate independently of the 2010 Guidelines. The financial framework promotes the proper use of Commonwealth resources.

51 In relation to the 2010 revisions to the Guidelines, a 2009-10 ANAO audit report noted that: ‘It is apparent that while the March 2010 Guidelines provide a greater level of specificity in some areas, other areas are less specific than before. This is particularly so in the case of Principle 1, which provides a broader scope in determining the suitable uses of

government advertising campaigns, Principle 3, which provides less guidance in interpreting whether campaign materials promote party political interests, and Principle 4, which no longer requires a cost‐benefit analysis to support the proposed campaign. As previously indicated to the Government, these changes represent a general softening in the application of requirements on agencies. Nevertheless, these are matters that rest with Government for decision’. Source: ANAO, Audit Report No.38, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review July 2009 - March 2010, p. 15. 52

The five principles contain additional requirements set out in 18 sub-paragraphs. The sub-paragraphs, as observed in a previous ANAO audit, contain a mix of mandatory and sound practice requirements. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, Chapter 2.

Introduction

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1.7 The Independent Communications Committee (ICC) was established in  2010 under the revised Guidelines, to consider campaigns worth $250 000 or  more53  and  provide  a  report  to  the  relevant  agency  chief  executive  on  compliance with Principles 1 to 4. Principle 5 is considered to relate to a chief  executive’s normal responsibilities and is not subject to ICC advice. Following  the receipt of ICC advice, agency chief executives certify compliance against  Principles 1 to 5 and provide the certification to the relevant minister, who may  decide to launch the campaign or approve its launch. Specific publication and  reporting requirements are also set out in the 2010 Guidelines, with the aim of  promoting transparency and accountability.54 

1.8 The Special Minister of State is responsible for the administration of the  campaign  advertising  framework,  including  the  Guidelines.  The  Special  Minister of State is supported by the Department of Finance and Deregulation  (Finance), which provides secretariat support to the ICC and is available to  provide advice to agencies on the framework. 

1.9 Since the introduction of the 2010 Guidelines, there have been changes  in  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  In  August  2011,  the  Peer  Review  Group  (PRG)  was  introduced  to  provide  advice  o n  the  development  of  campaigns  worth  $250 000  or  more.  Agencies  are  required  to  submit  a  campaign communications strategy to the PRG for review, and may return to  the  PRG  at  later  stages  of  campaign  development.  At  the  time  of  the  introduction  of  the  PRG,  Finance’s  role  was  amended—agencies  were  no  longer  required  to  seek  campaign  development  advice  from  Finance,  or  involve Finance in campaign advertising tender processes. 

ANAO audits of government advertising

1.10 In  March  2010,  the  Special  Minister  of  State  requested  that  the  Auditor‐General  consider  undertaking  periodic  performance  audits  of  the  administration of government advertising. Subsequently, the Auditor‐General 

                                                       53 For campaigns of less than $250 000, chief executives can request ICC advice. Further, the 2010 Guidelines make provision for the Special Minister of State to exempt campaigns from their operation on the basis of a national

emergency, extreme urgency or other compelling reason. Finance has advised that a total of three exemptions have been agreed—two in 2009 and one in 2010. 54 Publication and reporting requirements include the: posting of chief executive certifications on the relevant department’s

website, when the campaign is launched; posting of ICC advice on Finance’s website, after the campaign is launched; reports to the Parliament that detail expenditure on all advertising campaigns with expenditure in excess of $250 000 commissioned by FMA Act agencies; publishing of research reports for advertising campaigns with expenditure of $250 000 or more on the relevant agency’s website, following the launch of a campaign, where it is appropriate to do so; and detailing of advertising campaigns undertaken, in agency annual reports. See paragraphs 14 and 17 of the Guidelines.

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tabled  a  performance  audit  of  the  Administration  of  Government  Advertising  Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011.55 The report concluded that where  the revised certification process for FMA agencies had applied, it had been  generally  effective  in  promoting  compliance  with  the  2010  Guidelines.  However,  the  report  also  identified  areas  for  improvement  in  agencies’  administration  of  advertising  campaigns,  including  the  verification  and  accuracy  of  factual  campaign  statements,  the  assessment  of  the  cost‐effectiveness of campaigns, and campaign approvals and recordkeeping.  The report made five recommendations and a range of suggestions aimed at  strengthening  the  integrity  and  transparency  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework. 

1.11 The  ANAO  had  also  undertaken  a  series  of  audits  on  the  administration of government advertising in prior years, including: 

 Audit  Report  No.38,  2009-10,  Campaign  Advertising  Review   July 2009-March 2010; 

 Audit Report No.2, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review 2008-09; 

 Audit  Report  No.24,  2008-09,  The  Administration  of  Contracting  Arrangements in relation to Government Advertising to November 2007; 

 Audit Report No.12, 1998-99, Taxation Reform Community and Education 

Programme; and 

 Audit Report No.30, 1994-95, Commonwealth Government Information and  Advertising—an audit of Commonwealth Government advertising. 

1.12 Further,  the  ANAO  reviewed  the  Swap  It,  Don’t  Stop  It   advertising  campaign  in  the  context  of  its  audit  on  the  Administration  of  Commonwealth  Responsibilities under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.56 

Audit approach

Audit objectives

1.13 The audit objectives were to: 

                                                       55 ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011. 56

ANAO Audit Report No.12, 2012-13, Administration of Commonwealth Responsibilities under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, Chapter 4.

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tabled  a  performance  audit  of  the  Administration  of  Government  Advertising  Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011.55 The report concluded that where  the revised certification process for FMA agencies had applied, it had been  generally  effective  in  promoting  compliance  with  the  2010  Guidelines.  However,  the  report  also  identified  areas  for  improvement  in  agencies’  administration  of  advertising  campaigns,  including  the  verification  and  accuracy  of  factual  campaign  statements,  the  assessment  of  the  cost‐effectiveness of campaigns, and campaign approvals and recordkeeping.  The report made five recommendations and a range of suggestions aimed at  strengthening  the  integrity  and  transparency  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework. 

1.11 The  ANAO  had  also  undertaken  a  series  of  audits  on  the  administration of government advertising in prior years, including: 

 Audit  Report  No.38,  2009-10,  Campaign  Advertising  Review   July 2009-March 2010; 

 Audit Report No.2, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review 2008-09; 

 Audit  Report  No.24,  2008-09,  The  Administration  of  Contracting  Arrangements in relation to Government Advertising to November 2007; 

 Audit Report No.12, 1998-99, Taxation Reform Community and Education 

Programme; and 

 Audit Report No.30, 1994-95, Commonwealth Government Information and  Advertising—an audit of Commonwealth Government advertising. 

1.12 Further,  the  ANAO  reviewed  the  Swap  It,  Don’t  Stop  It   advertising  campaign  in  the  context  of  its  audit  on  the  Administration  of  Commonwealth  Responsibilities under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.56 

Audit approach

Audit objectives

1.13 The audit objectives were to: 

                                                       55 ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011. 56

ANAO Audit Report No.12, 2012-13, Administration of Commonwealth Responsibilities under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, Chapter 4.

Introduction

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 assess  the  effectiveness  of  selected  agencies’  administration  in  developing  advertising  campaigns  and  implementing  key  processes  against the requirements of the campaign advertising framework, and  other key legal and administrative requirements; and 

 assess the effectiveness of the ongoing administration of the Australian  Government’s campaign advertising framework. 

Audit criteria and scope

1.14 To form a conclusion against the audit objectives, the audit considered  the: 

 compliance  of  four  campaigns  against  the  requirements  of  the  campaign advertising framework, including the five information and  advertising campaign principles of the Guidelines; 

 procurement  practices  adopted  to  give  effect  to  the  four  advertising  campaigns, including related legal and process requirements; 

 progress  made  towards  addressing  the  recommendations  and  suggestions  made  in  ANAO  Audit  Report  No.24,  2011-12,  Administration  of  Government  Advertising  Arrangements:  March  2010  to  August 2011; and 

 effectiveness of the revised campaign advertising framework, including  the new PRG; the revised role for Finance; and the ongoing review of  advertising campaigns by the ICC. 

1.15 Three campaigns were initially selected for review on the basis of their  financial  materiality57,  and  the  importance  and  visibility  of  the  policy  initiatives. The campaigns selected were the: 

 Household  Assistance  Package  (HAP)  advertising  campaign— administered  by  the  Department  o f  Families,  Housing,  Community  Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA); 

 Regional National Broadband Network (NBN) advertising campaign— administered by the Department of Broadband, Communications and  the Digital Economy (DBCDE); and 

                                                       57 Between 2008-09 and 2011-12, over 90 per cent of campaigns expended less than $20 million in any one financial year. Source: Finance, Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, full year reports

2008-09 to 2011-12.

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 Metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign—also  administered  by  DBCDE. 

1.16 The audit was extended in March 2013, following correspondence from  two  members  of  the  Australian  Parliament,  to  include  the  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  administered  by  the  Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). In the same month, the audit scope  was also extended to include an examination of campaign‐related promotional  materials,  following  correspondence  from  a  member  of  the  Australian  Parliament.58 

1.17 The  audit  involved  the  following  six  agencies:  FaHCSIA;  DBCDE;  DoHA; Finance; PM&C; and the former Department of Climate Change and  Energy  Efficiency  (DCCEE).59  The  audit  examined  the  evolution  and  administration  of  the  Australian  Government  campaign  advertising  framework  from  the  end  of  the  period  examined  by  the  previous  ANAO  performance audit (August 2011) until March 2013. 

Audit methodology

1.18 The audit methodology involved: 

 interviews  of  relevant  staff  and  documentation  reviews  in  all  six  agencies; 

 examination  of  relevant  agencies’  actions  in  response  to  the  recommendations and suggestions from ANAO Audit Report No.24,  2011-12; 

 interviews with the chair, co‐chair and panel members of the PRG and  examination of all PRG feedback reports; and 

 an interview with NBN Co staff about NBN communications activities  and coordination with D BCDE. 

                                                       58 During the course of the audit (February 2013), the Auditor-General received correspondence from a Member of the Australian Parliament regarding promotional ‘families kits’ which were developed by FaHCSIA, and which were partly

funded under the HAP advertising campaign. Refer to Appendix 2. 59 DCCEE planned an advertising campaign for the second phase of the Clean Energy Future plan, of which communications about the HAP was to be a component. The Government decided not to proceed with the campaign,

and instead approved a campaign specifically relating to the HAP. This audit considered the approval of the HAP campaign and DCCEE’s progress in response to a recommendation of the ANAO’s previous report. In machinery of government changes announced on 26 March 2013, the functions of DCCEE were allocated to other departments.

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 Metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign—also  administered  by  DBCDE. 

1.16 The audit was extended in March 2013, following correspondence from  two  members  of  the  Australian  Parliament,  to  include  the  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  administered  by  the  Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). In the same month, the audit scope  was also extended to include an examination of campaign‐related promotional  materials,  following  correspondence  from  a  member  of  the  Australian  Parliament.58 

1.17 The  audit  involved  the  following  six  agencies:  FaHCSIA;  DBCDE;  DoHA; Finance; PM&C; and the former Department of Climate Change and  Energy  Efficiency  (DCCEE).59  The  audit  examined  the  evolution  and  administration  of  the  Australian  Government  campaign  advertising  framework  from  the  end  of  the  period  examined  by  the  previous  ANAO  performance audit (August 2011) until March 2013. 

Audit methodology

1.18 The audit methodology involved: 

 interviews  of  relevant  staff  and  documentation  reviews  in  all  six  agencies; 

 examination  of  relevant  agencies’  actions  in  response  to  the  recommendations and suggestions from ANAO Audit Report No.24,  2011-12; 

 interviews with the chair, co‐chair and panel members of the PRG and  examination of all PRG feedback reports; and 

 an interview with NBN Co staff about NBN communications activities  and coordination with D BCDE. 

                                                       58 During the course of the audit (February 2013), the Auditor-General received correspondence from a Member of the Australian Parliament regarding promotional ‘families kits’ which were developed by FaHCSIA, and which were partly

funded under the HAP advertising campaign. Refer to Appendix 2. 59 DCCEE planned an advertising campaign for the second phase of the Clean Energy Future plan, of which

communications about the HAP was to be a component. The Government decided not to proceed with the campaign, and instead approved a campaign specifically relating to the HAP. This audit considered the approval of the HAP campaign and DCCEE’s progress in response to a recommendation of the ANAO’s previous report. In machinery of government changes announced on 26 March 2013, the functions of DCCEE were allocated to other departments.

Introduction

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1.19 The audit was undertaken in accordance with the ANAO’s Auditing  Standards at a cost to the ANAO of approximately $346 000. 

Report structure

1.20 The remainder of the report consists of: 

Chapter title Description

2. Household Assistance Package Advertising Campaign Examines the HAP advertising campaign administered by FaHCSIA, including the development of the campaign, the

campaign’s compliance with the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines and the results of the campaign’s evaluation

3. Regional National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign Examines the regional NBN advertising campaign administered by DBCDE, including the development of the

campaign, the campaign’s compliance with the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines and the results of the campaign’s evaluation

4. Metropolitan National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign

Examines the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign administered by DBCDE, including the development of the campaign, the campaign’s compliance with the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines and the results of the campaign’s evaluation

5. Commonwealth Funding of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaign

Examines the advertising campaign relating to

Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals administered by the Department of Health and Ageing, including the development of the campaign, and the campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines.

6. Administration of the Campaign Advertising Framework

Examines the administration of the campaign advertising framework, including the progress made against previous ANAO recommendations and suggestions, the contribution of the Peer Review Group, Finance’s advice and administrative support, and the ICC’s review of advertising campaigns.

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2. Household Assistance Package Advertising Campaign

This  chapter  examines  the  HAP  advertising  campaign  administered  by  FaHCSIA,  including  the  development  of  the  campaign,  the  campaign’s  compliance  with  the  requirements of the 2010 Guidelines and the results of the campaign’s evaluation. 

Campaign overview 2.1 The  Australian  Government  allocated  $39.7  million  over  two  years  (2011-12 and 2012-13, including GST) for an advertising campaign relating to  the  Household  Assistance  Package  (HAP).60  The  Australian  Government’s  HAP, which is part of the Clean Energy Future (CEF) plan61, was introduced to  assist  with  the  cost  impacts  resulting  from  a  carbon  price.  At  the  time  the  campaign  was  developed,  the  HAP  was  expected  to  provide  financial  assistance totalling $14.3 billion over four years from 2011-12, and included: 

 an initial payment for families and parents, seniors and individuals  receiving government payments, paid from May 2012; 

 the tripling of the tax free threshold to $18 200, which involved tax  cuts for all taxpayers earning less than $80 000, from 1 July 2012; and 

 permanent  increases  to  regular  government  payments  for  families,  seniors  and  individuals  to  commence  from  March  2013  to  January 2014, depending on the type of payment. 

2.2 The advertising campaign aims to raise awareness and understanding  across the Australian community of the nature an d timing of the payments, tax  cuts  and  entitlements  that  will  be  available  under  the  HAP.  Information  is  provided via: television, radio, print and online advertisements; and the CEF,  Department of Human Services and FaHCSIA websites. 

2.3 The HAP campaign followed the CEF campaign, which also included  information on the HAP. The CEF campaign was administered by the former 

                                                       60 The level of campaign funding was high in comparison to the majority of other advertising campaigns approved in these financial years. See footnote 57. 61

The Clean Energy Future plan has four ‘pillars’: a carbon price; renewable energy; energy efficiency; and action on land. The plan also details how the Government aims to support Australian households, businesses and communities to ‘transition to a clean energy future’.

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2. Household Assistance Package Advertising Campaign

This  chapter  examines  the  HAP  advertising  campaign  administered  by  FaHCSIA,  including  the  development  of  the  campaign,  the  campaign’s  compliance  with  the  requirements of the 2010 Guidelines and the results of the campaign’s evaluation. 

Campaign overview 2.1 The  Australian  Government  allocated  $39.7  million  over  two  years  (2011-12 and 2012-13, including GST) for an advertising campaign relating to  the  Household  Assistance  Package  (HAP).60  The  Australian  Government’s  HAP, which is part of the Clean Energy Future (CEF) plan61, was introduced to  assist  with  the  cost  impacts  resulting  from  a  carbon  price.  At  the  time  the  campaign  was  developed,  the  HAP  was  expected  to  provide  financial  assistance totalling $14.3 billion over four years from 2011-12, and included: 

 an initial payment for families and parents, seniors and individuals  receiving government payments, paid from May 2012; 

 the tripling of the tax free threshold to $18 200, which involved tax  cuts for all taxpayers earning less than $80 000, from 1 July 2012; and 

 permanent  increases  to  regular  government  payments  for  families,  seniors  and  individuals  to  commence  from  March  2013  to  January 2014, depending on the type of payment. 

2.2 The advertising campaign aims to raise awareness and understanding  across the  Australian community of the nature and timing of the payments, tax  cuts  and  entitlements  that  will  be  available  under  the  HAP.  Information  is  provided via: television, radio, print and online advertisements; and the CEF,  Department of Human Services and FaHCSIA websites. 

2.3 The HAP campaign followed the CEF campaign, which also included  information on the HAP. The CEF campaign was administered by the former 

                                                       60 The level of campaign funding was high in comparison to the majority of other advertising campaigns approved in these financial years. See footnote 57. 61

The Clean Energy Future plan has four ‘pillars’: a carbon price; renewable energy; energy efficiency; and action on land. The plan also details how the Government aims to support Australian households, businesses and communities to ‘transition to a clean energy future’.

Household Assistance Package Advertising Campaign

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Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) and ran from  July to September 2011.62 

2.4 Table  2.1  summarises  the  key  elements  of  the  HAP  advertising  campaign, including its objectives, timing, target audiences and budget. Refer  to Appendix 3 for an example of a print advertisement from the campaign. 

Table 2.1

Summary of the HAP advertising campaign

Summary

Objective The objective of the campaign is to increase awareness and understanding of the payments, tax cuts and entitlements among those who will benefit, while ensuring expectations across all Australians, including those who are not eligible, are managed.

Timing Phase one: 13 May to 23 June 2012—coincided with initial lump sum payments to more than six million people. Phase two: 24 June to 28 July 2012—coincided with the tripling of the tax free threshold from 1 July 2012. Phase three: 17 March to 15 June 2013—coincides with permanent increases in payments to eligible recipients (more than six million people).

Target audiences Primary target audience—those Australians either eligible for assistance or who had to take action to receive assistance under the various HAP measures; these people are primarily low-middle income families, seniors, people with disability and carers. Secondary target audience—the remaining Australians not eligible for assistance under the HAP. From an issues management and service delivery perspective, it was important to ensure this audience had an understanding of eligibility to avoid confusion and manage expectations.

Total campaign expenditure (inc. GST)

Budget Actual

$39.7 million63 $28.3 million as at

31 January 2013

Media expenditure (inc. GST)

Phase one: $10.1 million $11.9 million

Phase two: $12.1 million $12.1 million

The Minister approved phase three of the campaign to launch on 17 March 2013; FaHCSIA advised that the planned media expenditure for phase three was $9.5 million.

Source: FaHCSIA documentation and Australian Government Budget papers.

   

                                                       62 The campaign was examined in ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, see Chapter 8.

63 The campaign budget includes all three phases. Australian Government, Budget 2012-13, Budget Paper No.2- Expense Measures.

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2.5 As  shown  in  Table  2.1,  the  HAP  campaign  has  three  phases,  each  corresponding with an assistance measure. This chapter examines the first and  second phases of the HAP campaign. To assess the effectiveness of FaHCSIA’s  administration of the HAP advertising campaign against the requirements of  the campaign advertising framework, the ANAO examined: 

 the campaign’s development, including the approval of the campaign  and the timeframe in which it was implemented; 

 the  campaign’s  compliance  with  the  requirements  of  the  2010 Guidelines; and 

 the evaluation of the campaign. 

2.6 During the course of the audit (February 2013), the Auditor‐General  received  correspondence  from  a  Member  of  the  Australian  Parliament  regarding promotional ‘families kits’ which were developed by FaHCSIA. The  families kits were funded from the public relations component of the budgets  of three of FaHCSIA’s advertising campaigns: the HAP campaign; the Dad and  Partner Pay campaign; and the Schoolkids Bonus campaign. However, there  was not as strong a link between the ‘families kits’ and the HAP, as was the  case for Dad and Partner Pay and the Schoolkids Bonus. While the families kits  contained brochures on Dad and Partner Pay and the Schoolkids Bonus, they  did not  contain similar specific information on the HAP.64 Refer to Appendix 2  for further discussion. 

Campaign development

Approval of the HAP campaign

2.7 Communications relating to the HAP were originally intended to be a  component  of  a  second  phase  of  the  former  DCCEE’s  CEF  advertising  campaign. The first phase of the CEF campaign finished on 13 September 2011.  After the completion of the first phase, approximately $9 million in approved  funding remained available in 2011-12 for the second phase. 

2.8 In  November  2011,  DCCEE  commenced  development  of  the  second  phase of the CEF campaign.65 The Minister for Climate Change and Energy 

                                                       64 The 2013 calendar included in the kits contained four specific references to HAP payments, in addition to references to other payments. 65

The draft communications strategy for the campaign was submitted to the PRG on 23 November 2011.

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2.5 As  shown  in  Table  2.1,  the  HAP  campaign  has  three  phases,  each  corresponding with an assistance measure. This chapter examines the first and  second phases of the HAP campaign. To assess the effectiveness of FaHCSIA’s  administration of the HAP advertising campaign against the requirements of  the campaign advertising framework, the ANAO examined: 

 the campaign’s development, including the approval of the campaign  and the timeframe in which it was implemented; 

 the  campaign’s  compliance  with  the  requirements  of  the  2010 Guidelines; and 

 the evaluation of the campaign. 

2.6 During the course of the audit (February 2013), the Auditor‐General  received  correspondence  from  a  Member  of  the  Australian  Parliament  regarding promotional ‘families kits’ which were developed by FaHCSIA. The  families kits were funded from the public relations component of the budgets  of three of FaHCSIA’s advertising campaigns: the HAP campaign; the Dad and  Partner Pay campaign; and the Schoolkids Bonus campaign. However, there  was not as strong a link between the ‘families kits’ and the HAP, as was the  case for Dad and Partner Pay and the Schoolkids Bonus. While the families kits  contained brochures on Dad and Partner Pay and the Schoolkids Bonus, they  did not  contain similar specific information on the HAP.64 Refer to Appendix 2  for further discussion. 

Campaign development

Approval of the HAP campaign

2.7 Communications relating to the HAP were originally intended to be a  component  of  a  second  phase  of  the  former  DCCEE’s  CEF  advertising  campaign. The first phase of the CEF campaign finished on 13 September 2011.  After the completion of the first phase, approximately $9 million in approved  funding remained available in 2011-12 for the second phase. 

2.8 In  November  2011,  DCCEE  commenced  development  of  the  second  phase of the CEF campaign.65 The Minister for Climate Change and Energy 

                                                       64 The 2013 calendar included in the kits contained four specific references to HAP payments, in addition to references to other payments. 65

The draft communications strategy for the campaign was submitted to the PRG on 23 November 2011.

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Efficiency sought the Government’s approval of the campaign in March 2012.  However, on  21  March  2012,  the Government  decided  not  to  proceed  with  phase  two  of  the  CEF  campaign.66  The  Government  also  decided  that  the  Treasurer and the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous  Affairs  would  develop  proposals  to  undertake  communications  activities  in  relation  to  the  CEF  plan.  The  proposals  were  to  be  agreed  through  correspondence  with  the  Prime  Minister  and  the  Minister  for  Finance  and  Deregulation.  FaHCSIA  advised  that  it  was  informed  of  this  decision  on  23 March 2012, and immediately commenced developing a proposal. 

2.9 The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs  wrote  to  the  Prime  Minister  on  3  April  2012  outlining  a  proposal  for  a  campaign  focused  on  the  HAP.  The  Minister  proposed  a  three‐phased  approach to the campaign, coinciding with the initial payments, the tax cuts  and the increase in entitlements. 

2.10 In outlining the proposal, the Minister noted a number of campaign  risks, and that the tight timeframe would raise costs: 

Phase  One  needs  to  be  on  air  by  13  May  2012.  As  a  result,  there  will  be  approximately eight weeks to develop and implement a major communication  campaign that would us

ually take 16 to 24 weeks. Because of this, some costs  will be greater than they would otherwise be. 

2.11 The Prime Minister responded on 5 April 2012, supporting the proposal  and funding of $14 million (exclusive of GST) for 2011-12. Further funding was  to be considered after the first phase of the campaign was evaluated.67 

2.12 A  cross‐agency  HAP  communication  working  group,  chaired  by  PM&C68,  met  approximately  three  times  per  month  from  March  2012.  The  working  group  provided  an  information  sharing  forum  for  logistical, 

                                                       66 Nearly $500 000 was spent by DCCEE developing the second phase of the CEF campaign: the development of creative materials cost $364 000, and market research and testing of those materials cost $129 000. DCCEE provided the

creative materials and research to FaHCSIA to inform its development of the HAP campaign. 67 FaHCSIA was given responsibility for implementing the HAP campaign after the Additional Estimates Appropriation Bills

were introduced in Parliament on 9 February 2012. As Parliament was unlikely to introduce another set of Appropriation Bills for the 2011-12 financial year, FaHCSIA applied to the Finance Minister for an advance of funding of $5.6 million. This would ensure that funding was available to cover initial expenditure for the HAP campaign. The advance was

agreed on 10 May 2012. An Advance to the Finance Minister enables the Finance Minister to facilitate urgent and unforeseen expenditure that was not within the contemplation of Parliament when the Appropriation Act was passed. 68 The chair of the HAP communication working group also co-chaired the PRG.

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administrative and systems issues that agencies with an interest in the HAP69  needed  to  be  aware  of.  The  working  group  did  not  steer  the  creative  development  of  the  HAP  campaign.  PM&C  did  not  issue  agendas  or  keep  records of the meetings. 

Timeframe

2.13 FaHCSIA  developed  the  first  phase  of  the  HAP  campaign  in  seven  weeks, and the second phase over a similar time period.70 The timing for the  commencement of the campaign’s first phase was driven by the legislated date  for the first payments under the HAP (May 2012). The timeframe for the first  phase of the campaign was more challenging than the second phase because  the first phase involved securing funding, strategic planning, and selection of  suppliers. The key dates for the campaign’s development included: 

 23 March 2012—FaHCSIA commenced work on the campaign; 

 26 March 2012—PRG reviewed the draft communications strategy; 

 28 March 2012—first meeting with the ICC; 

 2  April  2012—second meeting  with  the ICC  for  consideration  of  the  communications strategy, and the media strategy and plan; 

 7 May 2012—fifth meeting with the ICC for consideration of phase one  final creative materials; 

 13 May to 23 June 2012—phase one advertising; 

 5 June 201

2—seventh meeting with the ICC for consideration of phase  two pre‐production creative materials and media strategy and plan; 

 18 June 2012—eighth meeting with the ICC for consideration of phase  two final creative materials; and 

 24 June to 28 July 2012—phase two advertising. 

                                                       69 The agencies were: PM&C, FaHCSIA, the former DCCEE, the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Finance. DHS administered a call centre and website through which further information on the HAP

was provided to the public, and also sent letters to recipients of financial assistance. FaHCSIA liaised with DHS to ensure that DHS’s advice was consistent with the advertising campaign. 70 Finance’s indicative timeline for television campaigns states that ‘Campaigns with a television component have longer

timelines because of the need for the development, testing and refinement of concepts and the production process itself’. The timeline indicates that it may take 20-27 weeks to develop a campaign with a television component; although it notes that campaigns can be developed in shorter timeframes.

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administrative and systems issues that agencies with an interest in the HAP69  needed  to  be  aware  of.  The  working  group  did  not  steer  the  creative  development  of  the  HAP  campaign.  PM&C  did  not  issue  agendas  or  keep  records of the meetings. 

Timeframe

2.13 FaHCSIA  developed  the  first  phase  of  the  HAP  campaign  in  seven  weeks, and the second phase over a similar time period.70 The timing for the  commencement of the campaign’s first phase was driven by the legislated date  for the first payments under the HAP (May 2012). The timeframe for the first  phase of the campaign was more challenging than the second phase because  the first phase involved securing funding, strategic planning, and selection of  suppliers. The key dates for the campaign’s development included: 

 23 March 2012—FaHCSIA commenced work on the campaign; 

 26 March 2012—PRG reviewed the draft communications strategy; 

 28 March 2012—first meeting with the ICC; 

 2  April  2012—second meeting  with  the ICC  for  consideration  of  the  communications strategy, and the media strategy and plan; 

 7 May 2012—fifth meeting with the ICC for consideration of phase one  final creative materials; 

 13 May to 23 June 2012—phase one advertising; 

 5 June 201

2—seventh meeting with the ICC for consideration of phase  two pre‐production creative materials and media strategy and plan; 

 18 June 2012—eighth meeting with the ICC for consideration of phase  two final creative materials; and 

 24 June to 28 July 2012—phase two advertising. 

                                                       69 The agencies were: PM&C, FaHCSIA, the former DCCEE, the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Finance. DHS administered a call centre and website through which further information on the HAP

was provided to the public, and also sent letters to recipients of financial assistance. FaHCSIA liaised with DHS to ensure that DHS’s advice was consistent with the advertising campaign. 70 Finance’s indicative timeline for television campaigns states that ‘Campaigns with a television component have longer

timelines because of the need for the development, testing and refinement of concepts and the production process itself’. The timeline indicates that it may take 20-27 weeks to develop a campaign with a television component; although it notes that campaigns can be developed in shorter timeframes.

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Peer Review Group feedback

2.14 On  26  March  2012,  FaHCSIA  provided  the  PRG  with  a  draft  of  the  campaign  communication  strategy.71  The  PRG  provided  its  feedback  the  following day. The chair of the PRG commented that ‘it was one of the clearest  and most coherent strategies I’ve read since the inception of the PRG’. Other  notable comments from the PRG included that: 

 information must be factual in order to meet the Guidelines; 

 clarity  was  required  around  individuals  who  would  not  receive  payments, to manage expectations; 

 there was a need for a consistent tone across the media channels; and 

 some  of  the  conclusions  from  the  CEF  evaluation  report  should  be  addressed by the communications strategy.72 

2.15 The PRG usefully raised a range of issues and technical communication  matters for FaHCSIA to consider as it progressed its development of the HAP  campaign. FaHCSIA incorporated the PRG’s feedback into its communications  strategy before submitting it to the ICC for review. 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines

Compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

2.16 Paragraphs  14  and  17  of  the  2010  Guidelines  include  a  number  of  certification,  publication  and  reporting  requirements  for  advertising  campaigns. The ANAO’s assessment of whether FaHCSIA complied with these  requirements is shown in Table 2.2. 

                                                       71 The PRG did not physically meet for the HAP campaign. Instead, the communication strategy was disseminated to a PRG panel whose comments were provided via email. 72

Conclusions included: the limited success in building acceptance of the key campaign messages, including the household assistance component; the communications being spread too thinly; and the general lack of success in directing people to the website or call centre.

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Table 2.2

HAP campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

Paragraph 14. For advertising campaigns of $250 000 or more:

The ICC will consider the proposed campaign and provide a report to the chief executive on compliance with Principles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Guidelines. Agencies will be responsible for providing a report to their chief executive on campaign compliance with Principle 5 of the Guidelines.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The ICC met with FaHCSIA ten times to consider the development of campaign materials for the first two phases of the campaign, and provided written advice to FaHCSIA for each of these meetings. The ICC also provided five reports to FaHCSIA’s Secretary on compliance with Principles 1 to 4 of the Guidelines for the first two phases of the HAP campaign. FaHCSIA provided reports to its Secretary on the campaign’s compliance with Principle 5 of the Guidelines.

Following consideration of the reports on campaign compliance, the chief executive will certify that the campaign complies with the Guidelines and relevant government policies.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: FaHCSIA’s Secretary signed five appropriate chief executive certification statements; three for phase one, and two for phase two.

The chief executive will give the certification to the relevant Minister who may launch the campaign or approve its launch.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Each chief executive certification statement was noted by the Minister.

The chief executive’s certification will be published on the relevant department’s website when the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Each chief executive certification statement was published on the department’s website shortly after its completion.

The conclusions of the ICC will be published on Finance’s website after the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Finance published the ICC’s campaign review letter after each tranche of campaign materials was launched.

Paragraph 17. Chief executives will ensure that:

Research reports for advertising campaigns with expenditure of $250 000 or more are published on their agency’s website following the launch of a campaign where it is appropriate to do so.

ANAO assessment: Discretion exercised not to publish research reports. ANAO comment: Existing developmental research was used to develop the campaign (refer to paragraph 2.21 for further information). FaHCSIA exercised its discretion not to publish these research reports.

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Table 2.2

HAP campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

Paragraph 14. For advertising campaigns of $250 000 or more:

The ICC will consider the proposed campaign and provide a report to the chief executive on compliance with Principles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Guidelines. Agencies will be responsible for providing a report to their chief executive on campaign compliance with Principle 5 of the Guidelines.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The ICC met with FaHCSIA ten times to consider the development of campaign materials for the first two phases of the campaign, and provided written advice to FaHCSIA for each of these meetings. The ICC also provided five reports to FaHCSIA’s Secretary on compliance with Principles 1 to 4 of the Guidelines for the first two phases of the HAP campaign. FaHCSIA provided reports to its Secretary on the campaign’s compliance with Principle 5 of the Guidelines.

Following consideration of the reports on campaign compliance, the chief executive will certify that the campaign complies with the Guidelines and relevant government policies.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: FaHCSIA’s Secretary signed five appropriate chief executive certification statements; three for phase one, and two for phase two.

The chief executive will give the certification to the relevant Minister who may launch the campaign or approve its launch.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Each chief executive certification statement was noted by the Minister.

The chief executive’s certification will be published on the relevant department’s website when the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Each chief executive certification statement was published on the department’s website shortly after its completion.

The conclusions of the ICC will be published on Finance’s website after the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Finance published the ICC’s campaign review letter after each tranche of campaign materials was launched.

Paragraph 17. Chief executives will ensure that:

Research reports for advertising campaigns with expenditure of $250 000 or more are published on their agency’s website following the launch of a campaign where it is appropriate to do so.

ANAO assessment: Discretion exercised not to publish research reports. ANAO comment: Existing developmental research was used to develop the campaign (refer to paragraph 2.21 for further information). FaHCSIA exercised its discretion not to publish these research reports.

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Paragraph 14. For advertising campaigns of $250 000 or more:

Details of advertising campaigns undertaken will be published in agency annual reports.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: FaHCSIA’s 2011-12 Annual Report includes details of the HAP campaign, including expenditure on creative development, evaluative research and media. However, the annual report does not detail expenditure on formative research and public relations.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of FaHCSIA and ICC certification, publication and reporting documentation.

2.17 FaHCSIA  complied  with  all  of  the  certification,  publication  and  reporting requirements of the Guidelines. The department demonstrated an  organised approach to meeting these requirements within the short timeframe  available to develop the two phases of the campaign. 

Compliance with five information and advertising campaign principles

2.18 Overall,  FaHCSIA  generally  implemented  the  HAP  advertising  campaign in compliance with the Guidelines. 

Principle 1

2.19 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  FaHCSIA  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 1 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 2.3. 

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Table 2.3

HAP Campaign—Principle 1

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities.

The subject matter of campaigns should be directly related to the Government’s responsibilities. As such, only policies or programs underpinned by:

 legislative authority; or

 appropriation of the Parliament; or

 a Cabinet decision which is intended to be implemented during the current Parliament should be the subject of a campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: Legislation for the HAP was passed on 8 November 2011 through the Clean Energy (Household Assistance Amendments) Bill 2011. The personal tax components of the HAP, of which phase two was the focus, were legislated on 4 December 2011 through the Clean Energy (Income Tax Rates Amendments) Act 2011. While the HAP was intended to help low and middle income households adjust to the cost impacts of the carbon price, the campaign advertisements focused on the financial assistance available under the package and did not mention that this assistance was in response to the introduction of carbon pricing. Such information was available on the campaign website. See paragraph 2.20 for further discussion.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of FaHCSIA documentation.

Issue: the reason for the assistance—to assist with the cost impacts resulting from a carbon price

2.20 Following the Government’s decision not to proceed with the second  phase of the CEF advertising campaign, FaHCSIA proposed a campaign that  would focus on the assistance available under the HAP (the initial payments,  tax  cuts  and  entitlement  increases).  Implicit  in  this  proposal  was  that  the  reason  for  the  assistance—to  help  households  adjust  to  the  impact  of  the  carbon price—would not be a focus of the campaign. 

2.21 The  proposed  focus  of  the  campaign  was  informed  by  two  sets  of  research: 

 creative  concept  testing  for  the  former  DCCEE’s  proposed  second  phase of the CEF campaign, which found that sensitivity regarding the  impact  of  the  carbon  price  was  increasing.  Understanding  among  respondents of a carbon price remained ‘patchy at best’, and for many 

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Table 2.3

HAP Campaign—Principle 1

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities.

The subject matter of campaigns should be directly related to the Government’s responsibilities. As such, only policies or programs underpinned by:

 legislative authority; or

 appropriation of the Parliament; or

 a Cabinet decision which is intended to be implemented during the current Parliament should be the subject of a campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: Legislation for the HAP was passed on 8 November 2011 through the Clean Energy (Household Assistance Amendments) Bill 2011. The personal tax components of the HAP, of which phase two was the focus, were legislated on 4 December 2011 through the Clean Energy (Income Tax Rates Amendments) Act 2011. While the HAP was intended to help low and middle income households adjust to the cost impacts of the carbon price, the campaign advertisements focused on the financial assistance available under the package and did not mention that this assistance was in response to the introduction of carbon pricing. Such information was available on the campaign website. See paragraph 2.20 for further discussion.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of FaHCSIA documentation.

Issue: the reason for the assistance—to assist with the cost impacts resulting from a carbon price

2.20 Following the Government’s decision not to proceed with the second  phase of the CEF advertising campaign, FaHCSIA proposed a campaign that  would focus on the assistance available under the HAP (the initial payments,  tax  cuts  and  entitlement  increases).  Implicit  in  this  proposal  was  that  the  reason  for  the  assistance—to  help  households  adjust  to  the  impact  of  the  carbon price—would not be a focus of the campaign. 

2.21 The  proposed  focus  of  the  campaign  was  informed  by  two  sets  of  research: 

 creative  concept  testing  for  the  former  DCCEE’s  proposed  second  phase of the CEF campaign, which found that sensitivity regarding the  impact  of  the  carbon  price  was  increasing.  Understanding  among  respondents of a carbon price remained ‘patchy at best’, and for many 

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individuals,  the  issues  had  become  politicised  and  exhausted  in  the  public arena73; and 

 creative  concept  testing  for  FaHCSIA’s  2008  Economic  Security  Strategy74 campaign, which indicated that it was important to present  information about assistance and eligibility in simple, clear and factual  terms.  The  inclusion  of  additional  information  about  the  Economic  Security Strategy, such as the rationale for the payments, was found to  be confusing and irrelevant to focus group participants. 

2.22 In  approving  FaHCSIA’s  proposed  campaign,  the  Prime  Minister  supported the focus of the campaign: 

I  concur  with  your  assessment  of  the  need  for  communication  activity  to  ensure  there  is  a  good  understanding  across  the  Australian  community  of  HAP entitlements and in particular that public expectations are appropriately  managed.75 

2.23 FaHCSIA advised the ANAO that it did not receive any instructions  from the Government regarding the focus of the campaign: 

No soundings were taken with the Minister or her office, or other members of  the Government or their offices, or the central agencies (PM&C, Treasury or  Finance), in relation to the campaign’s proposed focus, including not referring  to  the  carbon  price  in  key  advertisements.  The  Minister’s  office  was,  as  is  standard practice, kept informed of progress  when developing the campaign.76 

2.24 After  obtaining  the  Prime  Minister’s  approval  to  proceed  with  the  proposed campaign, FaHCSIA developed creative materials which focused on  the assistance available under the HAP. As a consequence, creative concept  testing for the campaign did not research participants’ responses to campaign  statements  linking  the  HAP  with  the  carbon  price.  However,  a  risk  of  not  referencing the carbon price in the campaign was raised during testing: 

                                                       73 Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 6 December 2011, Australia's Clean Energy Future: creative refinement round 7, p. 4. 74

In October 2008, the Government announced that it would implement a $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy in response to the global financial crisis. FaHCSIA developed and implemented an advertising campaign to raise public awareness of financial assistance available under the strategy. 75

Correspondence from the Prime Minister to the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, 5 April 2012. 76 Further, in response to a Question on Notice from Senator Fifield at the Senate Budget Estimates Hearing on

28 May 2012, FaHCSIA had advised the Parliament that it was not provided with written or verbal communication from the Government that the word ‘carbon’ not be used in television advertising for the HAP.

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[The]  absence  of  an  explicit  link  to  the  carbon  price  leaves  unanswered  questions about campaign legitimacy. If people spontaneously draw a ‘natural’  linkage to carbon pricing, the campaign is legitimised ... but there is a risk that  negative ‘interference’ messaging will erode this’.77 

2.25 FaHCSIA made a number of adjustments to the campaign materials to  seek to address questions about campaign legitimacy. The key message that  assistance available under the package was to provide ‘additional help with  everyday expenses’ was included in the advertising materials. Electricity and  gas bills were also given greater visual prominence in the creative materials, as  an  implicit  link  to  the  carbon  tax.  Further,  advertising  materials  directed  viewers to the campaign website78 which linked the HAP to the CEF plan and  the carbon price, and provided a link to the CEF website. 

2.26 As part of its review of the campaign, in mid‐April 2012 the ICC also  noted that the campaign did not clearly link the HAP and the introduction of a  carbon price. The ICC suggested that FaHCSIA’s Statement of Compliance79  could be revised to more clearly illustrate how other communications activities  would perform that function. Further, the ICC noted: 

that FaHCSIA had, based on market research advice, taken the decision not to  include information about the introduction of a carbon price as the reason for  the  HAP  payments,  on  the  basis  that  this  could  diminish  the  campaignʹs  effectiveness in conveying eligibility and timing information. 

2.27 Despite this, the ICC reiterated its concern that there were potential  risks  with  the  decision  not  to  include  the  broader  context  for  the  HAP  assistance  within  the  campaign  materials,  and  asked  Finance  to  raise  this  matter  at  senior  officer  levels  within  FaHCSIA.  Finance  advised  that  the  relevant Finance Deputy Secretary discussed the matter with the Secretary of  FaHCSIA. FaHCSIA’s Secretary confirmed that this conversation took place,  and that he discussed the matter with the FaHCSIA Senior Executive Service  officer involved in the campaign. FaHCSIA’s Secretary was satisfied that the  carbon price was appropriately referred to on the website and in supporting  materials rather than in the advertisements themselves. 

                                                       77 FaHCSIA, Household Assistance Package communication campaign research, April 2012, p. 41. 78

The television and print advertisements included a reference: ‘For more information visit

australia.gov.au/householdassistance’. 79 A Statement of Compliance is a document detailing how the campaign meets each element of Principles 1 to 4 of the

Guidelines. It is provided by the agency to the ICC at the first review stage, and is updated at each subsequent review.

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[The]  absence  of  an  explicit  link  to  the  carbon  price  leaves  unanswered  questions about campaign legitimacy. If people spontaneously draw a ‘natural’  linkage to carbon pricing, the campaign is legitimised ... but there is a risk that  negative ‘interference’ messaging will erode this’.77 

2.25 FaHCSIA made a number of adjustments to the campaign materials to  seek to address questions about campaign legitimacy. The key message that  assistance available under the package was to provide ‘additional help with  everyday expenses’ was included in the advertising materials. Electricity and  gas bills were also given greater visual prominence in the creative materials, as  an  implicit  link  to  the  carbon  tax.  Further,  advertising  materials  directed  viewers to the campaign website78 which linked the HAP to the CEF plan and  the carbon price, and provided a link to the CEF website. 

2.26 As part of its review of the campaign, in mid‐April 2012 the ICC also  noted that the campaign did not clearly link the HAP and the introduction of a  carbon price. The ICC suggested that FaHCSIA’s Statement of Compliance79  could be revised to more clearly illustrate how other communications activities  would perform that function. Further, the ICC noted: 

that FaHCSIA had, based on market research advice, taken the decision not to  include information about the introduction of a carbon price as the reason for  the  HAP  payments,  on  the  basis  that  this  could  diminish  the  campaignʹs  effectiveness in conveying eligibility and timing information. 

2.27 Despite this, the ICC reiterated its concern that there were potential  risks  with  the  decision  not  to  include  the  broader  context  for  the  HAP  assistance  within  the  campaign  materials,  and  asked  Finance  to  raise  this  matter  at  senior  officer  levels  within  FaHCSIA.  Finance  advised  that  the  relevant Finance Deputy Secretary discussed the matter with the Secretary of  FaHCSIA. FaHCSIA’s Secretary confirmed that this conversation took place,  and that he discussed the matter with the FaHCSIA Senior Executive Service  officer involved in the campaign. FaHCSIA’s Secretary was satisfied that the  carbon price was appropriately referred to on the website and in supporting  materials rather than in the advertisements themselves. 

                                                       77 FaHCSIA, Household Assistance Package communication campaign research, April 2012, p. 41. 78

The television and print advertisements included a reference: ‘For more information visit

australia.gov.au/householdassistance’. 79 A Statement of Compliance is a document detailing how the campaign meets each element of Principles 1 to 4 of the Guidelines. It is provided by the agency to the ICC at the first review stage, and is updated at each subsequent review.

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2.28 In response to the ICC’s concerns, FaHCSIA revised its Statement of  Compliance to list the other activities that addressed the link between the HAP  and the carbon price80, and also included in the statement the research findings  that  supported  the  focus  of  the  campaign.  The  ICC  subsequently  provided  advice  to  FaHCSIA  that  the  HAP  campaign  materials  conformed  with  Principles  1  through  4  of  the  Guidelines,  and  FaHCSIA  arranged  for  its  Secretary’s certification and approval of the advertisements and commenced  their use. 

2.29 The  department’s  decision  not  to  mention  in  the  advertisements  the  link between the HAP and the introduction of carbon pricing meant that the  advertisements did not fully inform the public about the particular reason for  this assistance—to assist with the cost impacts resulting from a carbon price.  As previously noted, advertising materials directed viewers to the campaign  website  which  linked  the  HAP  to  the  CEF  plan  and  the  carbon  price.  The  advertisements attracted significant media and parliamentary scrutiny for not  directly  mentioning  the  carbon  price,  which  would  otherwise  have  been  avoided.81 

Principle 2

2.30 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  FaHCSIA  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 2 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 2.4. 

Table 2.4

HAP Camp

aign—Principle 2

Principle 2: Campaign materials should be presented in an objective, fair and accessible manner and be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign.

Campaign materials should enable the recipients of the information to distinguish between facts, comment, opinion and analysis.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: Campaign materials were tested with target audiences. Visual and verbal clues were adjusted to remove ambiguity, and enable audiences to distinguish between facts, comment, opinion and analysis.

                                                       80 These activities included website information (australia.gov.au/householdassistance), as well as DHS customer communications (such as phone messages, magazine articles, letters, booklets, factsheets and posters).

81 See for example: Sydney Morning Herald, 14 May 2012, Carbon ads don’t tax the viewer; and The Australian, 14 May 2012, Shhh....don't mention the carbon tax: government's compo ads omit mention of the measure.

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Where information is presented as a fact, it should be accurate and verifiable. When making a factual comparison, the material should not attempt to mislead the recipient about the situation with which the comparison is made and it should state explicitly the basis for the comparison.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: FaHCSIA provided the ICC with a matrix of evidence to verify the factual statements in the television, radio and print advertisements. The ANAO found the supporting evidence to be sufficient and relevant. Factual statements were referenced to legislation, policy statements and social security payment data.

Pre-existing policies, products, services and activities should not be presented as new.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: There was no presentation of pre-existing policies, products, services and activities as new in the campaign.

Special attention should be paid to communicating with any disadvantaged individuals or groups identified as being within the target audience. Particular attention should be paid to the communication needs of young people, the rural community and those for whom English is not a convenient language in which to receive information.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Indigenous communication specialists were consulted and creative materials were tested on groups from CALD and Indigenous backgrounds. A separate strategy for these audiences was not found to be necessary, but a range of tailored materials was developed.

Print advertisements were produced for Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indigenous audiences. Twelve print translations and thirteen radio translations were produced, as well as one adapted English radio translation for Indigenous audiences.

Imagery used in campaign materials should reflect the diverse range of Australians. There should be recognition of the full participation of women, Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities by realistically portraying their interests, lifestyles and contributions to Australian society.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The imagery of the advertisements included a diverse range of Australians.

Campaign materials should be tested with target audiences to indicate they are engaging and perform well against the objectives of the campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: Concept testing explored three approaches to communicating with target audiences. The most favoured concept from testing, ‘the fridge’ was then used as the basis for creative development of the advertisements. Particular attention was paid to the visual imagery that conveyed messages about the legitimacy of the payments, eligibility, and the size of the payment. Later, focus group testing found that initial areas of confusion were largely resolved, that the advertisements raised questions but not concerns, and that there was a satisfactory level of recall of the key elements of the broader campaign.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of FaHCSIA documentation.

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Where information is presented as a fact, it should be accurate and verifiable. When making a factual comparison, the material should not attempt to mislead the recipient about the situation with which the comparison is made and it should state explicitly the basis for the comparison.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: FaHCSIA provided the ICC with a matrix of evidence to verify the factual statements in the television, radio and print advertisements. The ANAO found the supporting evidence to be sufficient and relevant. Factual statements were referenced to legislation, policy statements and social security payment data.

Pre-existing policies, products, services and activities should not be presented as new.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: There was no presentation of pre-existing policies, products, services and activities as new in the campaign.

Special attention should be paid to communicating with any disadvantaged individuals or groups identified as being within the target audience. Particular attention should be paid to the communication needs of young people, the rural community and those for whom English is not a convenient language in which to receive information.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Indigenous communication specialists were consulted and creative materials were tested on groups from CALD and Indigenous backgrounds. A separate strategy for these audiences was not found to be necessary, but a range of tailored materials was developed.

Print advertisements were produced for Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indigenous audiences. Twelve print translations and thirteen radio translations were produced, as well as one adapted English radio translation for Indigenous audiences.

Imagery used in campaign materials should reflect the diverse range of Australians. There should be recognition of the full participation of women, Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities by realistically portraying their interests, lifestyles and contributions to Australian society.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The imagery of the advertisements included a diverse range of Australians.

Campaign materials should be tested with target audiences to indicate they are engaging and perform well against the objectives of the campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: Concept testing explored three approaches to communicating with target audiences. The most favoured concept from testing, ‘the fridge’ was then used as the basis for creative development of the advertisements. Particular attention was paid to the visual imagery that conveyed messages about the legitimacy of the payments, eligibility, and the size of the payment. Later, focus group testing found that initial areas of confusion were largely resolved, that the advertisements raised questions but not concerns, and that there was a satisfactory level of recall of the key elements of the broader campaign.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of FaHCSIA documentation.

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Principle 3

2.31 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  FaHCSIA  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 3 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 2.5. 

Table 2.5

HAP Campaign—Principle 3

Principle 3: Campaign materials should be objective and not directed at promoting party political interests.

Campaign materials must be presented in objective language and be free of political argument.

Campaign materials must not try to foster a positive impression of a particular political party or promote party political interests.

Campaign materials must not:

(a) mention the party in Government by name;

(b) directly attack or scorn the views, policies or actions of others such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups;

(c) include party political slogans or images;

(d) be designed to influence public support for a political party, a candidate for election, a Minister or a Member of Parliament; or

(e) refer or link to the websites of politicians or political parties.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The campaign did not contain any overt promotion of party political interests, political slogans or bias contrary to the mandatory sub-paragraphs of Principle 3.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of FaHCSIA documentation.

Principle 4

2.32 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  FaHCSIA  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 4 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 2.6. 

 

   

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Table 2.6

HAP Campaign—Principle 4

Principle 4: Campaigns should be justified and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner.

Campaigns should only be instigated where a need is demonstrated, target recipients are clearly identified and the campaign is informed by appropriate research or evidence.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The primary reason for the campaign was that millions of people would be receiving assistance under the HAP package. Research demonstrated that awareness of the HAP was low and that most people believed they would not receive assistance. The factual information campaign was to inform audiences of the assistance. For example, by informing people that there was no need to contact DHS regarding an unexpected payment or changes to entitlements.

As previously discussed in paragraph 2.21, FaHCSIA’s approach to the campaign was informed by the research and evaluation for the Economic Security Strategy campaign, the evaluation of the CEF campaign, and concept testing for the planned second phase of the CEF campaign. 

Campaign information should clearly and directly affect the interests of recipients.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The HAP campaign focuses on the eligibility and timing of payments and tax cuts available through the HAP. The primary target audience—those who were eligible for assistance, numbered over 6 million people. The objective of the campaign is to increase awareness and understanding of the HAP assistance among those who would benefit, while ensuring expectations across all Australians, including those who are not eligible, are managed.

The medium and volume of the advertising activities should be cost-effective and justifiable within the budget allocated to the campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: FaHCSIA sought the advice of the Master Media Agency, as well as specialist advice regarding CALD and Indigenous audiences to optimise the media spend. In response to market research, FaHCSIA adjusted the initial media buy to improve the frequency of messaging, without compromising the campaign’s reach.

The first stage of the HAP campaign was extended by a week (17 to 24 June 2012), at a cost of $1.8 million, increasing the media spend by 18 per cent. FaHCSIA advised the ICC that the additional week of advertising would maintain the momentum of the message until the second phase of the campaign. This view was supported by the Master Media Agency.

Distribution of unsolicited material should be carefully controlled.

ANAO assessment: Not applicable.

ANAO comment: No unsolicited materials were used as part of the campaign.

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Table 2.6

HAP Campaign—Principle 4

Principle 4: Campaigns should be justified and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner.

Campaigns should only be instigated where a need is demonstrated, target recipients are clearly identified and the campaign is informed by appropriate research or evidence.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The primary reason for the campaign was that millions of people would be receiving assistance under the HAP package. Research demonstrated that awareness of the HAP was low and that most people believed they would not receive assistance. The factual information campaign was to inform audiences of the assistance. For example, by informing people that there was no need to contact DHS regarding an unexpected payment or changes to entitlements.

As previously discussed in paragraph 2.21, FaHCSIA’s approach to the campaign was informed by the research and evaluation for the Economic Security Strategy campaign, the evaluation of the CEF campaign, and concept testing for the planned second phase of the CEF campaign. 

Campaign information should clearly and directly affect the interests of recipients.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The HAP campaign focuses on the eligibility and timing of payments and tax cuts available through the HAP. The primary target audience—those who were eligible for assistance, numbered over 6 million people. The objective of the campaign is to increase awareness and understanding of the HAP assistance among those who would benefit, while ensuring expectations across all Australians, including those who are not eligible, are managed.

The medium and volume of the advertising activities should be cost-effective and justifiable within the budget allocated to the campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: FaHCSIA sought the advice of the Master Media Agency, as well as specialist advice regarding CALD and Indigenous audiences to optimise the media spend. In response to market research, FaHCSIA adjusted the initial media buy to improve the frequency of messaging, without compromising the campaign’s reach.

The first stage of the HAP campaign was extended by a week (17 to 24 June 2012), at a cost of $1.8 million, increasing the media spend by 18 per cent. FaHCSIA advised the ICC that the additional week of advertising would maintain the momentum of the message until the second phase of the campaign. This view was supported by the Master Media Agency.

Distribution of unsolicited material should be carefully controlled.

ANAO assessment: Not applicable.

ANAO comment: No unsolicited materials were used as part of the campaign.

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Campaigns should be evaluated to determine effectiveness.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: A benchmarking survey was undertaken prior to the campaign. Two waves of tracking research were conducted during phase one, and one wave of tracking research during phase two of the campaign. This provided feedback on the effectiveness of the campaign, which informed the development of subsequent phases of the campaign and is relevant to future similar campaigns. Refer to paragraph 2.34 for details of the findings of the evaluation.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of FaHCSIA documentation.

Principle 5

2.33 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  FaHCSIA  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 5 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 2.7. 

Table 2.7

HAP Campaign—Principle 5

Principle 5: Campaigns must comply with legal requirements and procurement policies and procedures.

The manner of presentation and the delivery of campaigns must comply with all relevant laws including:

(a) laws with respect to broadcasting and media;

(b) privacy laws;

(c) intellectual property laws;

(d) electoral laws;

(e) trade practices and consumer protection laws; and

(f) workplace relations laws.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: FaHCSIA sought internal legal advice on the campaign’s compliance with legislative requirements, including the Clean Energy (Household Assistance Amendments) Act 2011. The advice raised issues regarding the wording of campaign materials and in relation to intellectual property consents.  The final materials were adjusted in light of these concerns.

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Procurement policies and procedures for the tendering and commissioning of services and the employment of consultants should be followed and there should be a clear audit trail regarding decision making.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: FaHCSIA complied with procurement policies and procedures for the tendering and commissioning of services. There was a clear audit trail regarding decision making.

FMA Regulation 9 approval82 was obtained prior to engaging each of the suppliers for the HAP campaign. Because of the tight timeframe to develop the campaign, FaHCSIA sought only one quote for each of the following services: concept testing, evaluative research, and creative development from a supplier on the Communications Multi-Use List. The reasons for the selection of particular suppliers, including a value for money assessment were documented. FaHCSIA assessed the relative merits of six proposals for public relations services prior to engaging a contractor.

As further services were required for the second and third phases of the campaign, the contracts for the provision of concept testing, evaluative research and creative development services were varied. Despite the significant changes to the scope of the work and the proposed expenditure, FaHCSIA did not revisit its value for money assessment for the proposed contract variations by taking into account the quality of the work performed to date and relevant experience.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of FaHCSIA documentation.

Campaign evaluation 2.34 FaHCSIA  engaged  a  contractor  to  evaluate  the  effectiveness  of  the  HAP advertising campaign. The contractor undertook benchmarking research  in April 2012, two rounds of research during phase one, and one round of  research during phase two. Reports on the survey results were provided to  FaHCSIA after each round of the evaluation. 

2.35 The objective of the HAP campaign was ‘to increase awareness and  understanding of the payments, tax cuts and entitlements amongst those who  will  benefit,  whilst  ensuring  expectations  across  all  Australians,  including  those  who  are  not  eligible,  are  managed’.  As  shown  in  Figure  2.1,  the  evaluation of the campaign found that unprompted awareness of the HAP rose  substantially over the course of the first two phases of the campaign83; from  14 per cent of respondents before the campaign to 79 per cent of respondents 

                                                       82 FMA Regulation 9 approval requires approvers with an appropriate delegation to consider spending proposals and to only approve a proposal if satisfied that it represents a proper use of Australian Government resources. The FMA Act

defines ‘proper use’ to mean efficient, effective, economical and ethical use that is not inconsistent with the policies of the Commonwealth. 83 To test unprompted awareness, respondents were asked ‘Have you heard about the new Household Assistance

Package the Australian Government will be introducing?’ Prompted awareness involves showing the respondent an advertisement and then asking if he/she has seen it.

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Procurement policies and procedures for the tendering and commissioning of services and the employment of consultants should be followed and there should be a clear audit trail regarding decision making.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: FaHCSIA complied with procurement policies and procedures for the tendering and commissioning of services. There was a clear audit trail regarding decision making.

FMA Regulation 9 approval82 was obtained prior to engaging each of the suppliers for the HAP campaign. Because of the tight timeframe to develop the campaign, FaHCSIA sought only one quote for each of the following services: concept testing, evaluative research, and creative development from a supplier on the Communications Multi-Use List. The reasons for the selection of particular suppliers, including a value for money assessment were documented. FaHCSIA assessed the relative merits of six proposals for public relations services prior to engaging a contractor.

As further services were required for the second and third phases of the campaign, the contracts for the provision of concept testing, evaluative research and creative development services were varied. Despite the significant changes to the scope of the work and the proposed expenditure, FaHCSIA did not revisit its value for money assessment for the proposed contract variations by taking into account the quality of the work performed to date and relevant experience.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of FaHCSIA documentation.

Campaign evaluation 2.34 FaHCSIA  engaged  a  contractor  to  evaluate  the  effectiveness  of  the  HAP advertising campaign. The contractor undertook benchmarking research  in April 2012, two rounds of research during phase one, and one round of  research during phase two. Reports on the survey results were provided to  FaHCSIA after each round of the evaluation. 

2.35 The objective of the HAP campaign was ‘to increase awareness and  understanding of the payments, tax cuts and entitlements amongst those who  will  benefit,  whilst  ensuring  expectations  across  all  Australians,  including  those  who  are  not  eligible,  are  managed’.  As  shown  in  Figure  2.1,  the  evaluation of the campaign found that unprompted awareness of the HAP rose  substantially over the course of the first two phases of the campaign83; from  14 per cent of respondents before the campaign to 79 per cent of respondents 

                                                       82 FMA Regulation 9 approval requires approvers with an appropriate delegation to consider spending proposals and to only approve a proposal if satisfied that it represents a proper use of Australian Government resources. The FMA Act

defines ‘proper use’ to mean efficient, effective, economical and ethical use that is not inconsistent with the policies of the Commonwealth. 83 To test unprompted awareness, respondents were asked ‘Have you heard about the new Household Assistance

Package the Australian Government will be introducing?’ Prompted awareness involves showing the respondent an advertisement and then asking if he/she has seen it.

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during phase two. Television advertising was the most commonly identified  source of information about the HAP (79 per cent of respondents). 

Figure 2.1

Unprompted awareness of the HAP

 

Source: FaHCSIA, August 2012, Household Assistance Package Campaign Evaluation.

2.36 The evaluation also showed that there was a good level of recall of the  key messages of the campaign. For example, a high proportion of people in  phase two (80 per cent) identified tax cuts beginning in July 2012 compared to  just 13 per cent of respondents surveyed in phase one. 

2.37 In relation to the types of ‘everyday expenses’ that the package was to  assist with, just over half of respondents indicated an awareness that the HAP  was  to  assist  with  the  costs  of  utilities  such  as  electricity,  gas,  water  and  telephone.  A  third  of  respondents  indicated  that  the  HAP  was  to  provide  assistance with the cost of food and groceries, and ten per cent of respondents  identified the cost impacts of the carbon price.84 

2.38 The evaluation also showed that respondents’ perceived eligibility for  HAP assistance increased, with those identifying themselves as being eligible  growing from 25 per cent before the campaign, to 39 per cent during phase 

                                                       84 Survey respondents were asked: The advertising mentions that the Household Assistance Package is designed to help you with your everyday expenses. What types of everyday expenses do you think the package is for?

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

Benchmark

(April 2012)

Phase 1 Wave 1 (May 2012)

Phase 1 Wave 2 (June 2012)

Phase 2

(July 2012)

Per cent of survey participants

General population Eligible individuals Indigenous Australians

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one, and 53 per cent during phase two. The increase in perceived eligibility  during phase two was linked to improved understanding of the tax cuts.85 

2.39 Nearly  a  quarter  of  respondents  who  had  seen  the  phase  two  advertisements  sought  further  information.  Around  half  of  those  seeking  further  information  went  directly  to  the  ‘australia.gov.au’  website  and  28 per cent  used  an  Internet  search  engine.  Of  those  seeking  further  information, 54 per cent of respondents thought they were eligible and wanted  more detail and 31 per cent did not understand if they were eligible. 

Conclusion 2.40 Following  the  Government’s  decision  in  March  2012  not  to  proceed  with a second phase of the Clean Energy Future (CEF) campaign, FaHCSIA  developed  the  first  phase  of  the  Household  Assistance  Package  (HAP)  campaign within seven weeks. This was a challenging timeframe because the  campaign  involved  the  development  of  television  advertisements.  The  first  phase of the campaign ran from mid‐May to June 2012. The second phase ran  from late June to July 2012, and was developed in a similar timeframe to the  first  phase.  Overall,  FaHCSIA’s  implementation  of  the  HAP  campaign  generally  complied  with  the  Guidelines,  with  support  for  the  approach  adopted. Importantly, FaHCSIA p rovided the ICC with sufficient and relevant  evidence to verify the factual statements used in the campaign. 

2.41 The  HAP  was  intended  to  help  low  and  middle  income  households  adjust to the impact of the carbon price. The campaign advertisements focused  on the financial assistance available under the package and did not mention  that the reason for this assistance was to assist with the cost impacts resulting  from the carbon price. In supporting this approach, FaHCSIA cited research  which suggested that including content about the carbon price would impair  the effectiveness of the campaign. Irrespective of the creative concept testing  drawn upon by the department, the decision not to mention the link between  the HAP and the introduction of carbon pricing meant that the advertisements  did  not  fully  inform  the  public  about  the  reason  for  the  assistance.  The  advertisements attracted significant media and parliamentary scrutiny for not  directly  mentioning  the  carbon  price,  which  would  otherwise  have  been  avoided. 

                                                       85 Around 60 per cent of taxpayers received a tax cut from 1 July 2012.

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one, and 53 per cent during phase two. The increase in perceived eligibility  during phase two was linked to improved understanding of the tax cuts.85 

2.39 Nearly  a  quarter  of  respondents  who  had  seen  the  phase  two  advertisements  sought  further  information.  Around  half  of  those  seeking  further  information  went  directly  to  the  ‘australia.gov.au’  website  and  28 per cent  used  an  Internet  search  engine.  Of  those  seeking  further  information, 54 per cent of respondents thought they were eligible and wanted  more detail and 31 per cent did not understand if they were eligible. 

Conclusion 2.40 Following  the  Government’s  decision  in  March  2012  not  to  proceed  with a second phase of the Clean Energy Future (CEF) campaign, FaHCSIA  developed  the  first  phase  of  the  Household  Assistance  Package  (HAP)  campaign within seven weeks. This was a challenging timeframe because the  campaign  involved  the  development  of  television  advertisements.  The  first  phase of the campaign ran from mid‐May to June 2012. The second phase ran  from late June to July 2012, and was developed in a similar timeframe to the  first  phase.  Overall,  FaHCSIA’s  implementation  of  the  HAP  campaign  generally  complied  with  the  Guidelines,  with  support  for  the  approach  adopted. Importantly, FaHCSIA p rovided the ICC with sufficient and relevant  evidence to verify the factual statements used in the campaign. 

2.41 The  HAP  was  intended  to  help  low  and  middle  income  households  adjust to the impact of the carbon price. The campaign advertisements focused  on the financial assistance available under the package and did not mention  that the reason for this assistance was to assist with the cost impacts resulting  from the carbon price. In supporting this approach, FaHCSIA cited research  which suggested that including content about the carbon price would impair  the effectiveness of the campaign. Irrespective of the creative concept testing  drawn upon by the department, the decision not to mention the link between  the HAP and the introduction of carbon pricing meant that the advertisements  did  not  fully  inform  the  public  about  the  reason  for  the  assistance.  The  advertisements attracted significant media and parliamentary scrutiny for not  directly  mentioning  the  carbon  price,  which  would  otherwise  have  been  avoided. 

                                                       85 Around 60 per cent of taxpayers received a tax cut from 1 July 2012.

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2.42 The evaluation of the HAP campaign showed that it performed well  in  increasing  awareness  and  understanding  of  the  payments,  tax  cuts  and  entitlements. Unprompted awareness of the HAP and recall of key campaign  messages rose substantially over the course of the campaign. The evaluation  also showed that respondents had variable understanding about the types of  ‘everyday expenses’ that the advertisements referred to. 

 

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3. Regional National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign

This  chapter  examines  the  regional  NBN  advertising  campaign  administered  by  DBCDE, including the development of the campaign, the campaign’s compliance with  the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines and the results of the campaign’s evaluation. 

Campaign overview 3.1 The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a high speed broadband86  network that is planned to reach 100 percent of Australian premises with a  combination  of  optical  fibre87,  fixed  wireless  and  satellite  technologies.  The  network  is  estimated  to  cost  $37.4  billion  to  construct  by  30 June 2021,  including  an  Australian  Government  investment  of  $30.4 billion.  NBN  Co  Limited  (NBN  Co),  an  Australian  Government  owned  corporation88,  was  established to design, build and operate the NBN. On 7 September 2010, the  Prime Minister announced that regional Australia was to be given priority in  the rollout of the network. 

3.2 In  the  2012-13  Commonwealth  Budget,  the  Australian  Government  allocated $22 million89 for an advertising campaign, focused on regional and  remote  areas  of  Australia,  to  improve  public  understanding,  address  misconceptions and provide updated information about the NBN. The level of  campaign funding was high in comparison to the majority of other Australian  Government advertising campaigns.90 The campaign was administered by the  Department  of  Broadband,  Communications  and  the  Digital  Economy  (DBCDE), an

d was subject to the campaign advertising framework, including  the 2010 Guidelines. 

                                                       86 The term broadband is derived from ‘broad bandwidth’ and highlights the distinction from narrow bandwidth‐style Internet connection, such as dial‐up Internet connection. Broadband provides greater data carrying capacity than

narrow bandwidth Internet connections, with access speed equal to or greater than 256 kilobits per second. 87 Optical fibre delivers broadband Internet services by transmitting information as light pulses and can carry information at greater data rates than copper wire, the main alternative form of fixed‐line broadband. 88

NBN Co is also a Government Business Enterprise (GBE) under section 5 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. 89 Including GST, to be spent in the remainder of the 2011-12 financial year. 90

See footnote 57.

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3. Regional National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign

This  chapter  examines  the  regional  NBN  advertising  campaign  administered  by  DBCDE, including the development of the campaign, the campaign’s compliance with  the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines and the results of the campaign’s evaluation. 

Campaign overview 3.1 The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a high speed broadband86  network that is planned to reach 100 percent of Australian premises with a  combination  of  optical  fibre87,  fixed  wireless  and  satellite  technologies.  The  network  is  estimated  to  cost  $37.4  billion  to  construct  by  30 June 2021,  including  an  Australian  Government  investment  of  $30.4 billion.  NBN  Co  Limited  (NBN  Co),  an  Australian  Government  owned  corporation88,  was  established to design, build and operate the NBN. On 7 September 2010, the  Prime Minister announced that regional Australia was to be given priority in  the rollout of the network. 

3.2 In  the  2012-13  Commonwealth  Budget,  the  Australian  Government  allocated $22 million89 for an advertising campaign, focused on regional and  remote  areas  of  Australia,  to  improve  public  understanding,  address  misconceptions and provide updated information about the NBN. The level of  campaign funding was high in comparison to the majority of other Australian  Government advertising campaigns.90 The campaign was administered by the  Department  of  Broadband,  Communications   and  the  Digital  Economy  (DBCDE), and was subject to the campaign advertising framework, including  the 2010 Guidelines. 

                                                       86 The term broadband is derived from ‘broad bandwidth’ and highlights the distinction from narrow bandwidth‐style Internet connection, such as dial‐up Internet connection. Broadband provides greater data carrying capacity than

narrow bandwidth Internet connections, with access speed equal to or greater than 256 kilobits per second. 87 Optical fibre delivers broadband Internet services by transmitting information as light pulses and can carry information at greater data rates than copper wire, the main alternative form of fixed‐line broadband. 88

NBN Co is also a Government Business Enterprise (GBE) under section 5 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. 89 Including GST, to be spent in the remainder of the 2011-12 financial year. 90

See footnote 57.

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3.3 Table 3.1 summarises the key elements of the regional NBN advertising  campaign, including its objectives, timing, target audiences and budget. Refer  to Appendix 3 for an example of a print advertisement from the campaign. 

Table 3.1

Summary of the regional NBN advertising campaign

Campaign summary

Objectives

The objectives of the campaign were to:

 increase levels of awareness and understanding of factual information and counter misunderstandings of the NBN;

 increase awareness levels and understanding of the priority to roll out the NBN in regional Australia; and

 increase awareness levels and understanding of the key campaign calls to action in regard to how people can get more information about the NBN.

Timing 29 April 2012 to 30 June 2012 (approximately 2 months).

Target audiences

The primary target audiences for the campaign were: adults living in regional Australia; families; schools and education facilities; businesses, large and small including farmers; local opinion leaders; and community organisations.

Total campaign expenditure (inc. GST)

2011-12 budget: $22.0 million. 2011-12 actual: $20.7 million.

Media expenditure (inc. GST)

Budget: $15.2 million. Actual: $14.4 million.

Source: DBCDE documentation.

3.4 To assess the effectiveness of DBCDE’s administration of the regional  NBN  advertising  campaign  against  the  requirements  of  the  campaign  advertising framework, the ANAO examined the: 

 campaign’s development, including the approval of the campaign and  the timeframe in which it was implemented; 

 campaign’s compliance with the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines;  and 

 evaluation of the campaign. 

3.5 Refer  also  to  Appendix  2  for  discussion  about  campaign‐related  promotional materials. 

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Campaign development

Approval and timeframe

3.6 A notable characteristic of the regional NBN advertising campaign was  the  challenging  timeframe  within  which  DBCDE  developed  the  campaign:  approximately 11 weeks between February and April 2012. In approving the  campaign on 6 February 2012, the Government agreed that the campaign was  to be completed by the end of the financial year. 

3.7 The key dates for the campaign’s development include: 

 21 February 2012—meeting  with  the  PRG  to  obtain  feedback  on  the  draft campaign communications strategy; 

 7 March 2012—first meeting with the ICC for its consideration of the  communication strategy and pre‐production creative materials; 

 15 March 2012—provision  of  a  progress  update  on  the  campaign  to  Cabinet; 

 26  April  2012—second  meeting  with  the  ICC  for  consideration  of  selected final creative materials; 

 29 April 2012—advertising commencement, with selected materials; 

 7 June 2012—seventh  and  final  ICC  meeting  to  consider  creative  materials; and 

 30 June 2012—campaign advertising completion. 

3.8 Over  11  weeks,  DBCDE  developed  a  communication  strategy,  developed  and  tested  creative  materials,  booked  media,  and  facilitated  the  ICC’s review of the campaign, prior to advertising commencing. This was a  particularly  challenging  timeframe  because  the  campaign  involved  the  development of television advertisements91 and aimed to counter a range of  different  ‘myths  and  misconceptions’  about  the  NBN,  necessitating  diverse  creative materials. 

                                                       91 Finance’s indicative timeline for television campaigns states that ‘Campaigns with a television component have longer timelines because of the need for the development, testing and refinement of concepts and the production process

itself’. The timeline indicates that it may take 20-27 weeks to develop a campaign with a television component; although it notes that campaigns can be developed in shorter timeframes.

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Campaign development

Approval and timeframe

3.6 A notable characteristic of the regional NBN advertising campaign was  the  challenging  timeframe  within  which  DBCDE  developed  the  campaign:  approximately 11 weeks between February and April 2012. In approving the  campaign on 6 February 2012, the Government agreed that the campaign was  to be completed by the end of the financial year. 

3.7 The key dates for the campaign’s development include: 

 21 February 2012—meeting  with  the  PRG  to  obtain  feedback  on  the  draft campaign communications strategy; 

 7 March 2012—first meeting with the ICC for its consideration of the  communication strategy and pre‐production creative materials; 

 15 March 2012—provision  of  a  progress  update  on  the  campaign  to  Cabinet; 

 26  April  2012—second  meeting  with  the  ICC  for  consideration  of  selected final creative materials; 

 29 April 2012—advertising commencement, with selected materials; 

 7 June 2012—seventh  and  final  ICC  meeting  to  consider  creative  materials; and 

 30 June 2012—campaign advertising completion. 

3.8 Over  11  weeks,  DBCDE  developed  a  communication  strategy,  developed  and  tested  creative  materials,  booked  media,  and  facilitated  the  ICC’s review of the campaign, prior to advertising commencing. This was a  particularly  challenging  timeframe  because  the  campaign  involved  the  development of television advertisements91 and aimed to counter a range of  different  ‘myths  and  misconceptions’  about  the  NBN,  necessitating  diverse  creative materials. 

                                                       91 Finance’s indicative timeline for television campaigns states that ‘Campaigns with a television component have longer timelines because of the need for the development, testing and refinement of concepts and the production process

itself’. The timeline indicates that it may take 20-27 weeks to develop a campaign with a television component; although it notes that campaigns can be developed in shorter timeframes.

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3.9 In  its  previous  report  on  government  advertising  arrangements,  the  ANAO  highlighted  that  it  is  prudent  for  agencies  to  alert  ministers,  where  necessary,  to  the  potential  risks  of  significantly  truncated  campaign  development timeframes and provide options.92 While DBCDE did not provide  specific  advice  to  the  Minister  in  relation  to  the  campaign  development  timeframe, the department did assess the risks associated with the timeframe.  DBCDE  communicated  these  risks  to  the  Minister’s  office,  and  maintained  regular contact with the Minister’s office throughout the development of the  campaign. Further, DBCDE made it clear that urgent funding approval was  required  from  the  Minister,  so  that  the  department  could  move  quickly  to  engage a creative agency. 

Peer Review Group feedback

3.10 As  mentioned  in  paragraph  3.7,  DBCDE  met  with  the  PRG  on  21 February 2012 to discuss the draft campaign communications strategy for  the regional NBN campaign. In its feedback the PRG commented that: 

 the creative approach was considered a sound basis for proceeding to  creative development; 

 there  was  a  need  to  closely  coordinate  campaign  activities  with  NBN Co and that DBCDE should seek to draw upon NBN uptake and  usage data held by NBN Co; 

 DBCDE should carefully consider the implications for the  campaign of  the NBN not being rolled out in some regional areas for several years; 

 the timeframe for delivering the campaign was extremely tight; 

 overpromising  on  pricing,  coverage,  rollout  timing  and  performance  was a key risk for the campaign; and 

 different  agencies  should  be  engaged  to  conduct  the  evaluation  research  and  the  concept  testing  of  creative  materials,  to  avoid  a  potential conflict of interest. 

3.11 The PRG usefully raised a range of issues and technical communication  matters for DBCDE to consider as it progressed its development of the regional 

                                                       92 ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, pp. 127-128.

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NBN  advertising  campaign.  DBCDE’s  subsequent  administration  of  the  campaign addressed some of the matters raised by the PRG. 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines

Compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

3.12 Paragraphs  14  and  17  of  the  2010  Guidelines  include  a  number  of  certification,  publication  and  reporting  requirements  for  advertising  campaigns. The ANAO’s assessment of whether DCDBE complied with these  requirements is shown in Table 3.2. 

Table 3.2

Regional NBN advertising campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

Paragraph 14. For advertising campaigns of $250 000 or more:

The ICC will consider the proposed campaign and provide a report to the chief executive on compliance with Principles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Guidelines Agencies will be responsible for providing a report to their chief executive on campaign compliance with Principle 5 of the Guidelines.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The ICC provided DBCDE with six review reports for the campaign. Campaign reports were provided to DBCDE’s Secretary on six occasions, each corresponding with an ICC review report. While the requirement to provide a report to the chief executive was complied with, Principle 5 states that campaigns ‘must comply with legal requirements and procurement policies and procedures’. In this respect, DBCDE’s compliance reports to its Secretary provided assurance that relevant legal requirements had been met, but no such assurance was offered to the Secretary in relation to whether or not relevant procurement policies and procedures had been met. There would have been merit in doing so explicitly.

Following consideration of the reports on campaign compliance, the chief executive will certify that the campaign complies with the Guidelines and relevant government policies.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The DBCDE Secretary signed six chief executive certification statements for the campaign. The statements were in the format suggested by Finance.

The chief executive will give the certification to the relevant Minister who may launch the campaign or approve its launch.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The chief executive certification was provided to the Minister prior to his approval of the main (first) tranche of campaign materials. The Minister was also formally briefed on the finalisation of the second tranche of materials, which he noted. In relation to the four subsequent batches of campaign materials, DBCDE advised the ANAO that the Minister was kept informed of campaign developments, including the release of all new materials.

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NBN  advertising  campaign.  DBCDE’s  subsequent  administration  of  the  campaign addressed some of the matters raised by the PRG. 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines

Compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

3.12 Paragraphs  14  and  17  of  the  2010  Guidelines  include  a  number  of  certification,  publication  and  reporting  requirements  for  advertising  campaigns. The ANAO’s assessment of whether DCDBE complied with these  requirements is shown in Table 3.2. 

Table 3.2

Regional NBN advertising campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

Paragraph 14. For advertising campaigns of $250 000 or more:

The ICC will consider the proposed campaign and provide a report to the chief executive on compliance with Principles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Guidelines Agencies will be responsible for providing a report to their chief executive on campaign compliance with Principle 5 of the Guidelines.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The ICC provided DBCDE with six review reports for the campaign. Campaign reports were provided to DBCDE’s Secretary on six occasions, each corresponding with an ICC review report. While the requirement to provide a report to the chief executive was complied with, Principle 5 states that campaigns ‘must comply with legal requirements and procurement policies and procedures’. In this respect, DBCDE’s compliance reports to its Secretary provided assurance that relevant legal requirements had been met, but no such assurance was offered to the Secretary in relation to whether or not relevant procurement policies and procedures had been met. There would have been merit in doing so explicitly.

Following consideration of the reports on campaign compliance, the chief executive will certify that the campaign complies with the Guidelines and relevant government policies.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The DBCDE Secretary signed six chief executive certification statements for the campaign. The statements were in the format suggested by Finance.

The chief executive will give the certification to the relevant Minister who may launch the campaign or approve its launch.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The chief executive certification was provided to the Minister prior to his approval of the main (first) tranche of campaign materials. The Minister was also formally briefed on the finalisation of the second tranche of materials, which he noted. In relation to the four subsequent batches of campaign materials, DBCDE advised the ANAO that the Minister was kept informed of campaign developments, including the release of all new materials.

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The chief executive’s certification will be published on the relevant department’s website when the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The main (first) chief executive certification was published on DBCDE’s website when the campaign was launched. Four of the remaining five certifications were published on DBCDE’s website when the associated campaign materials were launched. The other certification statement for 31 May 2012 was placed on the department’s website in December 2012, during the course of the audit.

The conclusions of the ICC will be published on Finance’s website after the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Finance published the ICC’s campaign review letter after the campaign was launched.

Paragraph 17. Chief executives will ensure that:

Research reports for advertising campaigns with expenditure of $250 000 or more are published on their agency’s website following the launch of a campaign where it is appropriate to do so.

ANAO assessment: Discretion exercised to make available a summary of the research. ANAO comment: In December 2012, DBCDE placed a summary of its developmental research for the regional NBN advertising campaign on its website.

Details of advertising campaigns undertaken will be published in agency annual reports.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: DCBDE’s 2011-12 Annual Report makes a number of references to the regional NBN advertising campaign, including in an Appendix detailing the department’s advertising and market research expenditure.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE and ICC certification, publication and reporting documentation.

Issue: provision of campaign materials to the ICC in a timely manner

3.13 As noted in Table 3.2, paragraph 14 of the Guidelines states that the  ICC ‘will consider the proposed campaign and provide a report to the chief  executive on compliance with Principles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Guidelines’. While  the ICC ultimately provided six such reports for the regional NBN campaign,  the timeliness of DBCDE’s provision of materials to the ICC was a recurring  issue. At each of its meetings with the ICC, DBCDE provided some or all of the  required materials to the ICC three days, or less, before it was due to meet to  consider  the  materials.  The  ICC’s  usual  deadline  for  the  submission  of  materials is six days before each meeting.93 The following statement, made by 

                                                       93 On two occasions, the ICC agreed to allow DBCDE to provide materials closer to the date of the meeting—including two days prior to the meeting.

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the chair of the ICC in a letter to DBCDE on Tuesday 24 April 2012, exemplifies  the late provision of materials: 

Following receipt of materials associated with the [regional] NBN campaign  and the very short time frame for finalisation if you are to meet your suggested  launch date of 29 April, the Committee [the ICC] had a preliminary discussion  among members today, with a view to providing early feedback in the lead‐up  to its meeting with your officers on 26 April. The materials that the Committee  discussed  this  morning  included  10  print,  10  radio  and  9  television  advertisements  (provided  late  Friday,  20  April),  together  with  an  87  page  Verification Matrix document and a 12 page draft Statement of Compliance  (provided on Monday, 23 April). 

3.14 For the 26 April 2012 meeting94, DBCDE also provided the ICC with a  media  plan  which  showed  that  a  significant  amount  of  media  (including  television,  radio  and  print)  had  been  booked  to  commence  from  29 April 2012—just three days after the ICC meeting. In combination, the late  provision of materials to the ICC and the fact that media had been booked to  commence three days after the ICC meeting, placed additional pressure o n the  external review process, as there was a risk that the ICC may not form the view  that the materials complied with Principles 1 to 4 of the Guidelines. This also  risked  leaving  the  department  with  no,  or  less  than  desirable,  creative  materials to run on the media it had already booked. Further, rescheduling of  booked media may have attracted additional expense for the department. 

3.15 Ultimately, the ICC formed the view that a selection of the regional  campaign materials discussed on 26 April 2012 complied with Principles 1 to 4,  and DBCDE was able to launch the campaign with those creative materials.95  However, a further five meetings were required for the ICC to be satisfied that  all the campaign materials complied with the requirements of Principles 1 to 4  of  the  Guidelines.  The  final  ICC  meeting  was  held  on  7 June 2012,  approximately six weeks into the nine week campaign. 

3.16 As discussed in paragraph 3.8, the campaign was developed by DBCDE  within a short timeframe, and the messages delivered via the campaign were 

                                                       94 The ICC meeting held on 26 April 2012 was the ICC’s second meeting to consider the regional NBN advertising campaign, approximately seven weeks after the ICC had first reviewed the communications strategy and pre-production

materials. Typically, the ICC will consider campaign materials on three occasions before finalising its review. Source: Finance, 2012, Campaign Planning Guide, p. 36. 95 Including four television commercials, five radio spots and three print advertisements.

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the chair of the ICC in a letter to DBCDE on Tuesday 24 April 2012, exemplifies  the late provision of materials: 

Following receipt of materials associated with the [regional] NBN campaign  and the very short time frame for finalisation if you are to meet your suggested  launch date of 29 April, the Committee [the ICC] had a preliminary discussion  among members today, with a view to providing early feedback in the lead‐up  to its meeting with your officers on 26 April. The materials that the Committee  discussed  this  morning  included  10  print,  10  radio  and  9  television  advertisements  (provided  late  Friday,  20  April),  together  with  an  87  page  Verification Matrix document and a 12 page draft Statement of Compliance  (provided on Monday, 23 April). 

3.14 For the 26 April 2012 meeting94, DBCDE also provided the ICC with a  media  plan  which  showed  that  a  significant  amount  of  media  (including  television,  radio  and  print)  had  been  booked  to  commence  from  29 April 2012—just three days after the ICC meeting. In combination, the late  provision of materials to the ICC and the fact that media had been booked to  commence three days after the ICC meeting, placed additional pressure o n the  external review process, as there was a risk that the ICC may not form the view  that the materials complied with Principles 1 to 4 of the Guidelines. This also  risked  leaving  the  department  with  no,  or  less  than  desirable,  creative  materials to run on the media it had already booked. Further, rescheduling of  booked media may have attracted additional expense for the department. 

3.15 Ultimately, the ICC formed the view that a selection of the regional  campaign materials discussed on 26 April 2012 complied with Principles 1 to 4,  and DBCDE was able to launch the campaign with those creative materials.95  However, a further five meetings were required for the ICC to be satisfied that  all the campaign materials complied with the requirements of Principles 1 to 4  of  the  Guidelines.  The  final  ICC  meeting  was  held  on  7 June 2012,  approximately six weeks into the nine week campaign. 

3.16 As discussed in paragraph 3.8, the campaign was developed by DBCDE  within a short timeframe, and the messages delivered via the campaign were 

                                                       94 The ICC meeting held on 26 April 2012 was the ICC’s second meeting to consider the regional NBN advertising campaign, approximately seven weeks after the ICC had first reviewed the communications strategy and pre-production

materials. Typically, the ICC will consider campaign materials on three occasions before finalising its review. Source: Finance, 2012, Campaign Planning Guide, p. 36. 95 Including four television commercials, five radio spots and three print advertisements.

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numerous and relatively complex.96 These challenges contributed to DBCDE’s  continued late provision of materials to the ICC, the number of ICC meetings  required  and  the  late  completion  of  the  ICC’s  review.  However,  DBCDE’s  reluctance to significantly adapt some materials in response to external review  was also a contributing factor. For example, the ICC noted concerns with how  NBN  pricing  statements  might  be  expressed  in  the  campaign  at  its  first  meeting.97  Concerns  with  the  expression  of  pricing  statements  were  subsequently raised by the ICC at four of the remaining six meetings; and the  finalisation of pricing‐related materials was the primary focus of the last two  meetings.98 

3.17 While there will always be scope for debate about the appropriate level  of external involvement in agency campaigns, and the potential ‘compliance  burden’  this  may  represent,  the  ANAO  continued  to  observe,  as  in  the  previous  audit,  that  there  is  benefit  in  third  party  scrutiny  and  advice  for  campaigns which are viewed as being more sensitive. External review is a key  element of the Australian Government’s campaign advertising framework and  it is essential that agencies are well organised to meet the ICC’s timeframes. 

Compliance with the five information and advertising campaign principles

Principle 1

3.18 The  ANAO’s  assessment  o f  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 1 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 3.3. 

                                                       96 DBCDE advised that: ‘the dynamic nature of the case study creative development process (unscripted testimonials) results in the fast tracking of the concept testing/refinement stage. Given the nature of the case studies, the traditional

development process is reversed, and changes are usually made at the end, rather than in the middle stages. This necessitated going frequently to the ICC to ensure that the Committee was provided with the most up-to-date information. The department was testing and taking on board changes suggested by the ICC on a weekly basis, which made it impossible to meet the six day deadline’. 97

As noted in paragraph 3.10, the PRG also warned DBCDE about ‘overpromising on pricing’. 98 DBCDE advised that: ‘the comments of the ICC were taken into consideration, alongside the research results, and the constraints around working with statements made by the case study participants (unscripted). The ICC process is by

nature interactive but this is not the same as there ‘being a reluctance to adapt some materials. The NBN pricing message is complex (for example ‘wholesale price’) and needs to be presented in a digestible form. This was achieved through the ICC process and to the satisfaction of the ICC. The fact that it took some time goes to the rigorous approach taken by the ICC’.

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Table 3.3

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 1

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities.

The subject matter of campaigns should be directly related to the Government’s responsibilities. As such, only policies or programs underpinned by:

 legislative authority; or

 appropriation of the Parliament; or

 a Cabinet Decision which is intended to be implemented during the current Parliament should be the subject of a campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The NBN is a Government policy initiative, announced in April 2009.99 The regulatory framework for the NBN is established through the National Broadband Network Companies Act 2011 and the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures—Access Arrangements) Act 2011. The campaign sought to inform the public of NBN policies and services, and inform consideration of issues surrounding the NBN.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE campaign documentation.

Principle 2

3.19 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 2 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 3.4. 

Table 3.4

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 2

Principle 2: Campaign materials should be presented in an objective, fair and accessible manner and be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign.

Campaign materials should enable the recipients of the information to distinguish between facts, comment, opinion and analysis.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: There were two key types of creative materials for the regional NBN advertising campaign. The main type of creative material was case studies, in which Australians discussed their actual use of the NBN, to demonstrate that the NBN is offering certain benefits (such as improved access to education or health services). The case studies were supported by another type of creative material, which presented ‘facts and benefits’ about the NBN. In some materials, case studies and factual claims were combined.

                                                       99 The Hon Kevin Rudd MP, the Hon Wayne Swan MP, the Hon Lindsay Tanner MP and Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Joint Media Release. New National Broadband Network, 7 April 2009.

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Table 3.3

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 1

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities.

The subject matter of campaigns should be directly related to the Government’s responsibilities. As such, only policies or programs underpinned by:

 legislative authority; or

 appropriation of the Parliament; or

 a Cabinet Decision which is intended to be implemented during the current Parliament should be the subject of a campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The NBN is a Government policy initiative, announced in April 2009.99 The regulatory framework for the NBN is established through the National Broadband Network Companies Act 2011 and the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures—Access Arrangements) Act 2011. The campaign sought to inform the public of NBN policies and services, and inform consideration of issues surrounding the NBN.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE campaign documentation.

Principle 2

3.19 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 2 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 3.4. 

Table 3.4

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 2

Principle 2: Campaign materials should be presented in an objective, fair and accessible manner and be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign.

Campaign materials should enable the recipients of the information to distinguish between facts, comment, opinion and analysis.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: There were two key types of creative materials for the regional NBN advertising campaign. The main type of creative material was case studies, in which Australians discussed their actual use of the NBN, to demonstrate that the NBN is offering certain benefits (such as improved access to education or health services). The case studies were supported by another type of creative material, which presented ‘facts and benefits’ about the NBN. In some materials, case studies and factual claims were combined.

                                                       99 The Hon Kevin Rudd MP, the Hon Wayne Swan MP, the Hon Lindsay Tanner MP and Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Joint Media Release. New National Broadband Network, 7 April 2009.

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As the case studies involved a person discussing his or her experiences with the NBN, they presented a mix of personal comments, opinions and factual statements. Nevertheless, the informal nature of the case studies indicated to audiences the weight that should be given to the different information presented. The supporting materials presenting ‘facts and benefits’ about the NBN (such as ‘The NBN rollout is underway, prioritising regional Australia’) were clearly identified, or identifiable, as factual statements.100

Where information is presented as a fact, it should be accurate and verifiable. When making a factual comparison, the material should not attempt to mislead the recipient about the situation with which the comparison is made and it should state explicitly the basis for the comparison.

ANAO assessment: Generally compliant.

ANAO comment: The ANAO identified technical inaccuracies for a small number of campaign statements. The ANAO considered that in light of the broader intended messages of the relevant advertisements, the inaccuracies were technical in nature, rather than misleading. Refer to paragraph 3.20 for further discussion.

Pre-existing policies, products, services and activities should not be presented as new.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The campaign did not present pre-existing policies, products, services and activities as new.

Special attention should be paid to communicating with any disadvantaged individuals or groups identified as being within the target audience. Particular attention should be paid to the communication needs of young people, the rural community and those for whom English is not a convenient language in which to receive information.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: DCDBE prepared a radio advertisement, translated into 18 different languages, which captured key messages from the campaign. The department also contracted a public relations agency to develop Indigenous-specific materials.

Imagery used in campaign materials should reflect the diverse range of Australians. There should be recognition of the full participation of women, Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities by realistically portraying their interests, lifestyles and contributions to Australian society.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The creative materials included women, young people, the elderly and Indigenous Australians.

                                                       100 In its Statement of Compliance to the ICC, DBCDE advised that the department's Legal Services Branch had reviewed the final creative materials, to ensure that they were accurate and verifiable, enabling recipients to distinguish between

facts, comment, opinion and analysis. However, DBCDE was not able to provide evidence of its Legal Services Branch reviewing creative materials for their accuracy or that recipients could distinguish between facts and comment or opinion. Instead, Legal Services Branch had assessed whether the materials complied with all relevant laws (such as Intellectual Property or privacy laws), which is one element of compliance with Principle 5 (discussed in

Table 3.8).

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Campaign materials should be tested with target audiences to indicate they are engaging and perform well against the objectives of the campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The various creative materials underwent 11 rounds of creative concept testing. Prior to their release, all materials were considered to be likely to achieve aspects of the objectives of the campaign.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE campaign documentation.

Issue: accuracy and verification of campaign statements presented as factual

3.20 Principle  2  of  the  Guidelines  provides  that  where  information  is  presented as fact in campaign advertising, it should be accurate and verifiable.  DBCDE  prepared  verification  matrices  for  the  ICC,  in  which  evidence  and  references were provided for all factual campaign statements.101 In response to  various  requests  from  the  ICC  for  further  information  to  verify  certain  statements, DBCDE supplemented its verification documentation with a range  of additional information. The ANAO assessed the sufficiency and relevance of  the verification information provided by DBCDE to the ICC, for all campaign  statements presented as fact. 

3.21 After  DBCDE  had  responded  to  the  ICC’s  requests  for  additional  information, the large majority of factual campaign statements were supported  by sufficient, relevant evidence. For example, the majority of the statements  made in creative materials which sought to express NBN ‘facts and benefits’  were restatements of government policy, and were sufficiently evidenced by  DBCDE. However, insufficient evidence was provided to the ICC to support  one element of the campaign statement: ‘Our broadband infrastructure lags  behind technology leaders like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Sweden’.  The evidence DBCDE provided to the ICC for the statement as a whole did not  include specific information relating to Singapore. At the  time, DBCDE itself  held evidence to support this part of the statement, but it was not provided to  the ICC. DBCDE was also subsequently able to demonstrate the accuracy of  the Singapore reference to the ANAO. 

3.22 The ANAO’s analysis also identified some technical inaccuracies for a  small number of campaign statements. Two examples were: 

                                                       101 The ANAO has observed in previous audits that the preparation of such a matrix is consistent with better practice. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to

August 2011, paragraph 30. See also ANAO Audit Report No.12, 2012-13, Administration of Commonwealth Responsibilities under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, p. 88.

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Campaign materials should be tested with target audiences to indicate they are engaging and perform well against the objectives of the campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The various creative materials underwent 11 rounds of creative concept testing. Prior to their release, all materials were considered to be likely to achieve aspects of the objectives of the campaign.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE campaign documentation.

Issue: accuracy and verification of campaign statements presented as factual

3.20 Principle  2  of  the  Guidelines  provides  that  where  information  is  presented as fact in campaign advertising, it should be accurate and verifiable.  DBCDE  prepared  verification  matrices  for  the  ICC,  in  which  evidence  and  references were provided for all factual campaign statements.101 In response to  various  requests  from  the  ICC  for  further  information  to  verify  certain  statements, DBCDE supplemented its verification documentation with a range  of additional information. The ANAO assessed the sufficiency and relevance of  the verification information provided by DBCDE to the ICC, for all campaign  statements presented as fact. 

3.21 After  DBCDE  had  responded  to  the  ICC’s  requests  for  additional  information, the large majority of factual campaign statements were supported  by sufficient, relevant evidence. For example, the majority of the statements  made in creative materials which sought to express NBN ‘facts and benefits’  were restatements of government policy, and were sufficiently evidenced by  DBCDE. However, insufficient evidence was provided to the ICC to support  one element of the campaign statement: ‘Our broadband infrastructure lags  behind technology leaders like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Sweden’.  The evidence DBCDE provided to the ICC for the statement as a whole did not   include specific information relating to Singapore. At the time, DBCDE itself  held evidence to support this part of the statement, but it was not provided to  the ICC. DBCDE was also subsequently able to demonstrate the accuracy of  the Singapore reference to the ANAO. 

3.22 The ANAO’s analysis also identified some technical inaccuracies for a  small number of campaign statements. Two examples were: 

                                                       101 The ANAO has observed in previous audits that the preparation of such a matrix is consistent with better practice. See ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to

August 2011, paragraph 30. See also ANAO Audit Report No.12, 2012-13, Administration of Commonwealth Responsibilities under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, p. 88.

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 ‘over  30  NBN  retail  providers  can  deliver  world  class  broadband  wherever  you  live’—while  DBCDE  advised  that  the  intent  of  the  advertisement  was  to  convey  the  message  that  there  are  more  than  30 providers of NBN services nationally (offering fibre, wireless and/or  satellite),  Australians  in  areas  which  will  access  satellite  technology  (particularly relevant to the regional NBN campaign) could only access  services from 12 providers (as at December 2012)102; and 

 ‘we’ve got a system that is cheaper, and if I said ten times quicker, I’m  probably, you know, not even getting close to it’—DBCDE provided  evidence that the NBN speeds at the relevant school were 10 times or  just over 10 times faster. However, the statement ‘I’m probably, you  know, not even getting close to it’ would likely be understood by most  viewers to suggest speed well in excess of 10 times. 

3.23 DBCDE’s  processes  for  verifying  case  studies  relied  largely  on  the  people used in the case studies signing statements attesting to their truth.103 As  previously  discussed,  in  response  to  various  ICC  enquiries,  DBCDE  supplemented  its  verification  documentation  with  a  range  of  additional  information. While recognising that there will generally be less precision in  u

nscripted  material,  there  would  have  been  benefit  in  DBCDE  taking  additional  steps  to  verify  the  unscripted  statements,  which  featured  prominently in the campaign. This would have helped to mitigate the risk that  media or public concerns about the accuracy of certain campaign statements  could  undermine  confidence  in  statements  presented  as  fact,  and  in  consequence  the  campaign’s  effectiveness.  This  would  have  also  more  efficiently facilitated the ICC’s factual review of campaign statements. 

Principle 3

3.24 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 3 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 3.5. 

                                                       102 NBN Co, Satellite service providers, accessible via: [accessed 20 December 2012]. 103

DBCDE also performed background checks to verify identities and check for criminal records.

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Table 3.5

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 3

Principle 3: Campaign materials should be objective and not directed at promoting party political interests.

Campaign materials must be presented in objective language and be free of political argument.

Campaign materials must not try to foster a positive impression of a particular political party or promote party political interests.

Campaign materials must not:

(a) mention the party in Government by name;

(b) directly attack or scorn the views, policies or actions of others such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups;

(c) include party political slogans or images;

(d) be designed to influence public support for a political party, a candidate for election, a Minister or a Member of Parliament; or

(e) refer or link to the websites of politicians or political parties.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The campaign did not contain any overt promotion of party political interests, political slogans or bias contrary to the mandatory sub-paragraphs of Principle 3.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE campaign documentation.

Principle 4

3.25 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 4 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 3.6. 

Table 3.6

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 4

Principle 4: Campaigns should be justified and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner.

Campaigns should only be instigated where a need is demonstrated, target recipients are clearly identified and the campaign is informed by appropriate research or evidence.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: To demonstrate the need for the campaign, DBCDE advised the ICC that throughout 2010 and 2011, it had observed growing ‘misunderstandings and misconceptions’ surrounding the NBN, which did not reflect the Government’s policy or the project parameters. DBCDE advised the ICC that the existence of misperceptions about the NBN indicated a need for an information campaign to provide clarification and/or to encourage households and businesses to take-up an NBN service.

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Table 3.5

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 3

Principle 3: Campaign materials should be objective and not directed at promoting party political interests.

Campaign materials must be presented in objective language and be free of political argument.

Campaign materials must not try to foster a positive impression of a particular political party or promote party political interests.

Campaign materials must not:

(a) mention the party in Government by name;

(b) directly attack or scorn the views, policies or actions of others such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups;

(c) include party political slogans or images;

(d) be designed to influence public support for a political party, a candidate for election, a Minister or a Member of Parliament; or

(e) refer or link to the websites of politicians or political parties.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The campaign did not contain any overt promotion of party political interests, political slogans or bias contrary to the mandatory sub-paragraphs of Principle 3.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE campaign documentation.

Principle 4

3.25 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 4 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 3.6. 

Table 3.6

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 4

Principle 4: Campaigns should be justified and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner.

Campaigns should only be instigated where a need is demonstrated, target recipients are clearly identified and the campaign is informed by appropriate research or evidence.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: To demonstrate the need for the campaign, DBCDE advised the ICC that throughout 2010 and 2011, it had observed growing ‘misunderstandings and misconceptions’ surrounding the NBN, which did not reflect the Government’s policy or the project parameters. DBCDE advised the ICC that the existence of misperceptions about the NBN indicated a need for an information campaign to provide clarification and/or to encourage households and businesses to take-up an NBN service.

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While the decision to conduct departmental campaigns was a matter for the Government and DBCDE, this was the first time a Department of State has conducted advertising campaigns in an area in which a Government Business Enterprise has charter responsibilities. Refer to paragraph 3.26 for further discussion.

Research informed the targeting of the campaign and target recipients were identified.

Campaign information should clearly and directly affect the interests of recipients.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The Government’s policy is that all Australians will have access to the NBN. The campaign sought to increase regional Australians’ understanding of the NBN.

The medium and volume of the advertising activities should be cost-effective and justifiable within the budget allocated to the campaign.

ANAO assessment: Partially compliant.

ANAO comment: DBCDE sought the advice of the Master Media Agency on the media plan and buy for the campaign. However, DBCDE did not make its own assessment of the cost-effectiveness of the media buy, in accordance with the requirements of the financial framework and the Guidelines. Refer to paragraph 3.35 for further discussion.

Distribution of unsolicited material should be carefully controlled.

ANAO assessment: Not applicable.

ANAO comment: No unsolicited materials were used as part of the campaign.

Campaigns should be evaluated to determine effectiveness.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: DBCDE evaluated the effectiveness of the regional NBN campaign. Refer to paragraph 3.48 for discussion of the findings of the evaluation.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE campaign documentation.

Issue: campaigns should be justified and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner

3.26 Principle  4  of  the  Guidelines  provides  that  campaigns  should  be  justified and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner. Under  Principle 4, paragraph 29 of the Guidelines provides that campaigns should  only be instigated where a need is demonstrated. 

3.27 To demonstrate the need for the campaign, DBCDE advised the ICC  that throughout 2010 and 2011, it had observed growing ‘misunderstandings 

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and  misconceptions’  surrounding  the  NBN104,  which  did  not  reflect  the  Government’s policy or the project parameters. DBCDE’s research105 showed  that there was a high awareness of the NBN initiative and its association with  high‐speed  broadband.  However,  a  number  of  ‘myths  and  misconceptions’  were  held  by  Australians  living  in  regional  areas  about  the  NBN.  These  included that the NBN was no longer happening; that it would be rolled out in  major cities first; and that NBN services would be expensive.106 

3.28 DBCDE advised the ICC that: 

A failure to communicate more accurate information to the Australian public  on the NBN would result in a continuation of these misunderstandings and  misconceptions  which  will  ultimately  leave  Australians  exposed  with  little  understanding and less likely to opt in or experience the personal, commercial  and community benefits of the NBN in coming years. Overwhelmingly, the  research  found  that  re‐engaging  the  public  with  the  NBN  initiative  and  tangible benefits would decrease misconceptions and ensure consumers were  more  accurately  informed  about  this  policy  initiative  and  able  to  take  appropriate action when it rolls out in their area.107 

3.29 The  regional  NBN  campaign  was  noteworthy  as  the  first  time  a  Department  o f  State  had  conducted  a  campaign  in  an  area  of  Government  Business  Enterprise  charter  responsibilities—in  this  case  NBN  Co,  the  wholly‐owned Commonwealth company responsible for designing, building  and operating the NBN.108 

3.30 NBN  Co  conducts  its  own  communications  activities  to  ensure  Australians  are  aware  of  the  NBN  construction  schedule,  to  promote  the  potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect  to  the  network  when  it  is  available  in  their  area.109  These  communications 

                                                       104 These misunderstandings and misconceptions were observed through Ministerial correspondence, media enquiries, and broader reviews and inquiries (such as the House Inquiry into the Role and Benefits of the National Broadband

Network). There was intense media and public debate around a range of NBN matters in 2010 and 2011, which continued into 2012. 105 Hall & Partners Open Mind, February 2012, NBN Regional Advertising Campaign - Developmental Communications

Research. 106 It is worth noting that the developmental research did not seek to test whether awareness and understandings were more or less strongly held in regional areas than in metropolitan areas. When DBCDE did examine awareness and

understandings in metropolitan areas, it found that Australians in metropolitan areas held even more ‘myths and misperceptions’, in part because of a higher awareness of the NBN itself. 107 DBCDE, Statement of Compliance against the Information and Advertising Principles, signed 23 April 2012, p. 10. 108

In response to an ANAO inquiry, Finance advised that it had not previously encountered a situation in which a Department of State had advertised in an area of a Government Business Enterprise’s responsibilities. 109 From March 2012, NBN Co also commenced its first ‘large-scale community information activity’ to coincide with the

release of the three-year rollout plan. Source: NBN Co, Annual Report 2011-12, pp. 25 and 26.

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and  misconceptions’  surrounding  the  NBN104,  which  did  not  reflect  the  Government’s policy or the project parameters. DBCDE’s research105 showed  that there was a high awareness of the NBN initiative and its association with  high‐speed  broadband.  However,  a  number  of  ‘myths  and  misconceptions’  were  held  by  Australians  living  in  regional  areas  about  the  NBN.  These  included that the NBN was no longer happening; that it would be rolled out in  major cities first; and that NBN services would be expensive.106 

3.28 DBCDE advised the ICC that: 

A failure to communicate more accurate information to the Australian public  on the NBN would result in a continuation of these misunderstandings and  misconceptions  which  will  ultimately  leave  Australians  exposed  with  little  understanding and less likely to opt in or experience the personal, commercial  and community benefits of the NBN in coming years. Overwhelmingly, the  research  found  that  re‐engaging  the  public  with  the  NBN  initiative  and  tangible benefits would decrease misconceptions and ensure consumers were  more  accurately  informed  about  this  policy  initiative  and  able  to  take  appropriate action when it rolls out in their area.107 

3.29 The  regional  NBN  campaign  was  noteworthy  as  the  first  time  a  Department  o f  State  had  conducted  a  campaign  in  an  area  of  Government  Business  Enterprise  charter  responsibilities—in  this  case  NBN  Co,  the  wholly‐owned Commonwealth company responsible for designing, building  and operating the NBN.108 

3.30 NBN  Co  conducts  its  own  communications  activities  to  ensure  Australians  are  aware  of  the  NBN  construction  schedule,  to  promote  the  potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect  to  the  network  when  it  is  available  in  their  area.109  These  communications 

                                                       104 These misunderstandings and misconceptions were observed through Ministerial correspondence, media enquiries, and broader reviews and inquiries (such as the House Inquiry into the Role and Benefits of the National Broadband

Network). There was intense media and public debate around a range of NBN matters in 2010 and 2011, which continued into 2012. 105 Hall & Partners Open Mind, February 2012, NBN Regional Advertising Campaign - Developmental Communications

Research. 106 It is worth noting that the developmental research did not seek to test whether awareness and understandings were more or less strongly held in regional areas than in metropolitan areas. When DBCDE did examine awareness and

understandings in metropolitan areas, it found that Australians in metropolitan areas held even more ‘myths and misperceptions’, in part because of a higher awareness of the NBN itself. 107 DBCDE, Statement of Compliance against the Information and Advertising Principles, signed 23 April 2012, p. 10. 108

In response to an ANAO inquiry, Finance advised that it had not previously encountered a situation in which a Department of State had advertised in an area of a Government Business Enterprise’s responsibilities. 109 From March 2012, NBN Co also commenced its first ‘large-scale community information activity’ to coincide with the

release of the three-year rollout plan. Source: NBN Co, Annual Report 2011-12, pp. 25 and 26.

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activities  reflect  the  commercial  and  operational  incentives  for  NBN  Co  to  transition  people  to  the  NBN  in  a  timely  and  efficient  manner.  NBN  Co  advised the ANAO that the cost of its communications activities was in the  order of $8 million per year. 

3.31 In  respect  to  the  differences  between  NBN  Co’s  communications  activities and its own, DBCDE advised the ICC that: 

The departmentʹs campaign differs from, and is complementary to, NBN Coʹs  communications by focusing on the governmentʹs policy settings, in particular  the  services  that  regional  Australia  can  expect  and  it  will  address  the  associated  misconceptions.  Importantly,  this  campaign  will  address  the  governmentʹs priority in rolling out the NBN in regional Australia. NBN Coʹs  three year rollout campaign will involve telling Australians how the NBN is  progressing and where it is being rolled out. Additionally, later in 2012 there is  a key role for NBN Co communications activity around migration, to educate  and inform people on the transition from the copper network to the new NBN  fibre network. 

There are two clear roles for the department and NBN Co in communicating  about the NBN: 

 DBCDE—to promote the overarching NBN rationale, key fa cts about  the project and provide context to all Australians; and 

 NBN Co—to educate and inform people of the implementation and  rollout timetable, and what theyʹll need to do to drive migration.110 

3.32 There was some evidence that DBCDE and NBN Co coordinated their  communication  activities  in  2012  for  both  the  regional  and  metropolitan  NBN campaigns.  In  practice,  several  of  the  messages  used  in  DBCDE’s  NBN campaigns were similar to communications made by NBN Co and retail  service  providers  in  areas  where  the  NBN  was  rolling  out.111  As  shown  in   Table 3.7, the communication activities of both entities, and one major retail  service provider, sought to explain the reason for building the NBN, promote  its benefits, and inform households that competitive prices would be available.  DBCDE  noted  that  these  messages  were  complementary,  and  enabled  the 

                                                       110 DBCDE, Statement of Compliance against the Information and Advertising Principles, signed 23 April 2012, p. 3. DBCDE discussed the delineation of the roles of itself and NBN Co with the ICC on four occasions. DBCDE undertook

to focus its campaign on the broader policy agenda and to minimise potential overlap through continued monitoring. 111 In this respect, NBN Co advised that the extent of its own communications activities would be affected by the effectiveness of DBCDE’s campaigns. NBN Co expected that it would need to conduct less communications activities if

the DBCDE campaigns significantly shifted attitudes and built intentions to connect to the NBN.

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presentation  of  an  otherwise  diverse  range  of  messages  in  each  party’s  communications. 

Table 3.7

Messages of different NBN communications activities

Topic DBCDE NBN Co

Retail service provider

Reason for building the NBN

Our copper network was originally designed for phones, not today’s

Internet.

The existing copper

telecommunications network wasn’t originally built with the Internet in mind.

The current infrastructure is too old school. It’s like we’re sticking to riding bikes even though cars have been invented.

Benefits of NBN The NBN will provide

access to speeds greater than what many people experience on ADSL

today. The NBN optic fibre

network will be capable of providing broadband

speeds up to 40 times

faster than ADSL

broadband.

With incredible wholesale speeds of up to 100Mbps for downloads and 40Mbps for uploads, the NBN offers

super-fast Internet even if you live a long way from the exchange or have multiple devices connected.

You’ll be able to enjoy download speeds of up to 100 megabits per

second—around four

times quicker than the fastest ADSL2+

broadband currently

available.

Pricing It’s also good to know that over 30 NBN retail

providers can deliver

world class broadband wherever you live, at a price that doesn’t

discriminate between city and country. NBN packages are

already proving to be

competitive with existing broadband, such as

ADSL. And you still get your choice of ISP and plan ... your choice of

data speeds, data volume and the price you pay.

The benefits of the NBN

could be enjoyed for a price less than you’d think, and there’s a great range of

competitive packages

available from a number of service providers. To find a package that suits you,

simply talk to your preferred service provider.

Every one of our NBN plans is geared to giving you more without you paying more. What’s

more, you get the

flexibility of being able to mix and match your

quota and speed to suit you.

Source: ANAO, from DBCDE’s regional and metropolitan NBN advertising campaigns, NBN Co communications materials and an NBN brochure of one major retail service provider.

3.33 With the NBN rollout ongoing until 2021112, for a substantial number of  households and businesses DBCDE’s large scale NBN advertising took place  years before the NBN is due to become available in their area. In some other 

                                                       112 Refer to the NBN Co website for details of the NBN rollout schedule, available at: , [accessed 9 June 2013].

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areas where the NBN rollout is already advanced, a number of NBN‐related  communication activities ran within a relatively short timeframe of each other.  For example, with the NBN rolling out in a suburb in Canberra, the advertising  campaigns  and  activities  of  NBN  Co  and  various  retail  service  providers  closely followed the first phase of the Australian Government’s metropolitan  NBN advertising campaign.113 

3.34 While  it  was  open  to  the  Government  and  DBCDE  to  conduct  campaigns  under  the  Guidelines,  the  closely  related  communications  objectives and activities of two government entities raises questions around the  focus, scale and timing of the departmental advertising effort. There would  have been benefit in DBCDE assessing the cost‐effectiveness of its proposed  NBN  campaigns114,  as  part  of  its  original  advice  to  Ministers,  to  inform  government decisions on the campaigns’ targeting, scale and timing.115 

Issue: economy and cost-effectiveness of the media buy

3.35 Section 44 (1) of the FMA Act requires agencies to promote the proper  use of Commonwealth resources. Proper use is defined as efficient, effective,  economical  and  ethical  use  that  is  not  inconsistent  with  Commonwealth  policies.  While  the  term  economy  is  not  defined  in  the  Act,  Finance  has  advised agencies that economy relates to minimising cost.116 

3.36 In  s eeking  the  Minister’s  approval  for  the  regional  NBN  campaign  budget,  DBCDE  recommended  that  any  ‘excess  funds’  from  associated  campaign  costs  such  as  research  and  creative  development  would  be  reallocated  to  the  media  buy.117  While  a  spending  proposal  approval  may  provide some flexibility in the allocation of expenditure, in this case it would  have  been  prudent  for  the  department  to  propose  that  any  reallocation  of  ‘excess funds’ to additional media should be contingent on the expenditure 

                                                       113 The first phase of the metropolitan NBN campaign was finalised in January 2013. NBN Co and retail service providers commenced communications activities in the relevant Canberra area in early February 2013. 114

The related metropolitan NBN campaign is discussed in Chapter 4. 115 A March 2012 update of the Cabinet Handbook included a requirement that proposals for information campaigns include justification of the cost-effectiveness of the campaign. The proposal for the metropolitan NBN campaign was

considered by Ministers following this update. For further discussion on cost-effectiveness and advertising campaigns, see ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, pp. 69-77. 116 Finance further advised that while the concepts of efficiency and effectiveness already encompassed the concept of economy, the addition of the term economy (in March 2011) was intended to emphasise the requirement to avoid waste and increase the focus on the level of resources that the Commonwealth applies to achieve outcomes. See Finance Circular 2011/01, Commitments to spend public money (FMA Regulations 7-12), p. 12. 117 DBCDE also made the same recommendation for the metropolitan NBN campaign.

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presentation  of  an  otherwise  diverse  range  of  messages  in  each  party’s  communications. 

Table 3.7

Messages of different NBN communications activities

Topic DBCDE NBN Co

Retail service provider

Reason for building the NBN

Our copper network was originally designed for phones, not today’s

Internet.

The existing copper

telecommunications network wasn’t originally built with the Internet in mind.

The current infrastructure is too old school. It’s like we’re sticking to riding bikes even though cars have been invented.

Benefits of NBN The NBN will provide

access to speeds greater than what many people experience on ADSL

today. The NBN optic fibre

network will be capable of providing broadband

speeds up to 40 times

faster than ADSL

broadband.

With incredible wholesale speeds of up to 100Mbps for downloads and 40Mbps for uploads, the NBN offers

super-fast Internet even if you live a long way from the exchange or have multiple devices connected.

You’ll be able to enjoy download speeds of up to 100 megabits per

second—around four

times quicker than the fastest ADSL2+

broadband currently

available.

Pricing It’s also good to know that over 30 NBN retail

providers can deliver

world class broadband wherever you live, at a price that doesn’t

discriminate between city and country. NBN packages are

already proving to be

competitive with existing broadband, such as

ADSL. And you still get your choice of ISP and plan ... your choice of

data speeds, data volume and the price you pay.

The benefits of the NBN

could be enjoyed for a price less than you’d think, and there’s a great range of

competitive packages

available from a number of service providers. To find a package that suits you,

simply talk to your preferred service provider.

Every one of our NBN plans is geared to giving you more without you paying more. What’s

more, you get the

flexibility of being able to mix and match your

quota and speed to suit you.

Source: ANAO, from DBCDE’s regional and metropolitan NBN advertising campaigns, NBN Co communications materials and an NBN brochure of one major retail service provider.

3.33 With the NBN rollout ongoing until 2021112, for a substantial number of  households and businesses DBCDE’s large scale NBN advertising took place  years before the NBN is due to become available in their area. In some other 

                                                       112 Refer to the NBN Co website for details of the NBN rollout schedule, available at: , [accessed 9 June 2013].

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continuing  to  represent  a  proper  use  of  Commonwealth  resources.  In  this  regard, Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide advises that agencies: 

...  be  mindful  that  while  a  campaign  budget  may  have  been  agreed  by  government, it does not mean that the full budget has to be spent if it would  not be a proper use of Commonwealth resources to do so.118 

3.37 DBCDE advised that while it sought the option to reallocate funds to  the media buy, the option was not exercised. DBCDE also advised that if the  option  had  eventuated,  it  would  have  applied  a  rigorous  process  to  the  transfer of funds. 

3.38 Paragraph 31 of the Guidelines states that the ‘medium and volume of  the  advertising  activities  should  be  cost  effective  and  justifiable  within  the  budget allocated to the campaign’.119 A specific requirement of the campaign  advertising  framework  is  that  agencies  plan  and  place  their  campaign  advertising through the Master Media Agency (MMA).120 As required, DBCDE  sought the advice of the MMA on the media plan and buy for the regional  NBN advertising campaign. In subsequently seeking the Secretary’s approval  for the Media Booking Authority for the campaign, DBCDE advised that: 

For all Financial Management and Accountability Act 19 97 agencies, Universal  McCann is the sole provider to the Commonwealth for campaign advertising.  Value for money has been assessed by the Finance Department during their  evaluation process of the coordinated procurement. 

3.39 The ANAO has previously observed in respect to campaign advertising  that financial delegates must be personally satisfied that spending proposals  would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources: 

While  agencies  are  required  to  place  their  advertising  through  the  MMA,  which  brings  specialist  expertise  and  market  knowledge  to  the  table,  the  cost‐effectiveness  of  the  media  buy  undertaken  by  MMA  on  an  agency’s 

                                                       118 Finance, Campaign Planning Guide, September 2012, p. 60. 119

This issue has arisen in past ANAO audits of government advertising, with the most recent report observing that ‘while the campaign budget agreed by government provides policy authority and a financial ceiling for agencies’ delivery of campaigns, it does not require agencies to spend to the limit of that authority’, p. 27. 120

The MMA is part of the Australian Government’s Central Advertising System (CAS), which consolidates government advertising expenditure to secure optimal media discounts on Commonwealth-wide media rates. Under the CAS, two master media agencies have been selected to assist in media planning, placement and rates negotiations with media outlets.

In this regard, Finance’s September 2012 Campaign Planning Guide states that: ‘Financial delegates should treat the approval of [a Media Booking Authority] in the same way as they would treat any other spending proposal. That is, the delegate must be satisfied that the spending proposal would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources. To demonstrate this, you need to clearly document the process undertaken to select the recommended media channels and the volume/cost of advertising’, p. 60.

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continuing  to  represent  a  proper  use  of  Commonwealth  resources.  In  this  regard, Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide advises that agencies: 

...  be  mindful  that  while  a  campaign  budget  may  have  been  agreed  by  government, it does not mean that the full budget has to be spent if it would  not be a proper use of Commonwealth resources to do so.118 

3.37 DBCDE advised that while it sought the option to reallocate funds to  the media buy, the option was not exercised. DBCDE also advised that if the  option  had  eventuated,  it  would  have  applied  a  rigorous  process  to  the  transfer of funds. 

3.38 Paragraph 31 of the Guidelines states that the ‘medium and volume of  the  advertising  activities  should  be  cost  effective  and  justifiable  within  the  budget allocated to the campaign’.119 A specific requirement of the campaign  advertising  framework  is  that  agencies  plan  and  place  their  campaign  advertising through the Master Media Agency (MMA).120 As required, DBCDE  sought the advice of the MMA on the media plan and buy for the regional  NBN advertising campaign. In subsequently seeking the Secretary’s approval  for the Media Booking Authority for the campaign, DBCDE advised that: 

For all Financial Management and Accountability Act 19 97 agencies, Universal  McCann is the sole provider to the Commonwealth for campaign advertising.  Value for money has been assessed by the Finance Department during their  evaluation process of the coordinated procurement. 

3.39 The ANAO has previously observed in respect to campaign advertising  that financial delegates must be personally satisfied that spending proposals  would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources: 

While  agencies  are  required  to  place  their  advertising  through  the  MMA,  which  brings  specialist  expertise  and  market  knowledge  to  the  table,  the  cost‐effectiveness  of  the  media  buy  undertaken  by  MMA  on  an  agency’s 

                                                       118 Finance, Campaign Planning Guide, September 2012, p. 60. 119

This issue has arisen in past ANAO audits of government advertising, with the most recent report observing that ‘while the campaign budget agreed by government provides policy authority and a financial ceiling for agencies’ delivery of campaigns, it does not require agencies to spend to the limit of that authority’, p. 27. 120

The MMA is part of the Australian Government’s Central Advertising System (CAS), which consolidates government advertising expenditure to secure optimal media discounts on Commonwealth-wide media rates. Under the CAS, two master media agencies have been selected to assist in media planning, placement and rates negotiations with media outlets.

In this regard, Finance’s September 2012 Campaign Planning Guide states that: ‘Financial delegates should treat the approval of [a Media Booking Authority] in the same way as they would treat any other spending proposal. That is, the delegate must be satisfied that the spending proposal would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources. To demonstrate this, you need to clearly document the process undertaken to select the recommended media channels and the volume/cost of advertising’, p. 60.

Regional National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign

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behalf—including  issues  of  quantity  and  quality—remains  an  agency  responsibility.  Agency  approvers  of  spending  proposals  must  satisfy  themselves on the question of cost‐effectiveness and should not assume that  the MMA’s involvement will, of itself, secure value for money.121 

3.40 In relation to monitoring the media buy, DBCDE advised the ICC that a  ‘matrix model’ would be used by the MMA to determine the use of different  creative materials and types of media. For example, the model was to gauge  the relative effectiveness of the different television advertisements, to assist in  determining  how  often  each  should  be  used.  The  department  advised  the  ANAO that in the event, the matrix model was not used, and therefore it did  not assist in optimising the cost‐effectiveness of media activities.122 This also  meant that DBCDE did not adhere to its advice to the ICC, on which its review  of the campaign against paragraph 31 of the Guidelines was in part based. 

Principle 5

3.41 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 5 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 3.8. 

   

                                                       121 ANAO Audit report No.24, February 2012, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, p. 27. The matter was considered further at pp. 74-75. 122

Due to the late finalisation of a number of materials, the range of materials that DBCDE would have been able to monitor and select from would have been limited. For example, the last television and radio advertisements were finalised six weeks after the campaign’s commencement.

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Table 3.8

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 5

Principle 5: Campaigns must comply with legal requirements and procurement policies and procedures.

The manner of presentation and the delivery of campaigns must comply with all relevant laws including:

(a) laws with respect to broadcasting and media;

(b) privacy laws;

(c) intellectual property laws;

(d) electoral laws;

(e) trade practices and consumer protection laws; and

(f) workplace relations laws.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: DBCDE obtained internal legal advice which indicated that the campaign complied with all relevant laws, including the laws listed above.

Procurement policies and procedures for the tendering and commissioning of services and the employment of consultants should be followed and there should be a clear audit trail regarding decision making.

ANAO assessment: Partially compliant.

ANAO comment: While there was a reasonably clear audit trail regarding DBCDE’s procurement decision making, there were areas in which DBCDE could improve its compliance with procurement policies and procedures, and advising on financial approvals. Refer to discussion in paragraphs 3.42 to 3.47.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE campaign documentation.

Issue: adherence to procurement policies and procedures

3.42 A  range  of  services  are  typically  procured  for  advertising  campaigns.123 These include: developmental research to understand the need  for  a  campaign;  creative  development  of  campaign  materials;  testing  of 

                                                       123 Procurement of advertising services for Australian Government campaigns was to comply with division 1 of the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (CPGs) prior to 1 July 2012. Since that time, campaign procurement is to

comply with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs). The core principle of the Australian Government’s procurement policy framework is value for money. Value for money is enhanced by using competitive procurement processes, and conducting a process that is commensurate with the scale and scope of the procurement. The procurement of advertising services is exempt from the additional rules that apply to high value procurements. Communications suppliers for campaigns valued at $250 000 or more must be selected from the Communications Multi-Use List. As previously discussed, media placement must be procured through the MMA. Source: Finance, Commonwealth Procurement Rules, p. 14, and Division 2 of the CPRs (and the former CPGs) specifies additional rules for procurements at or above the relevant procurement threshold.

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Table 3.8

Regional NBN advertising campaign—Principle 5

Principle 5: Campaigns must comply with legal requirements and procurement policies and procedures.

The manner of presentation and the delivery of campaigns must comply with all relevant laws including:

(a) laws with respect to broadcasting and media;

(b) privacy laws;

(c) intellectual property laws;

(d) electoral laws;

(e) trade practices and consumer protection laws; and

(f) workplace relations laws.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: DBCDE obtained internal legal advice which indicated that the campaign complied with all relevant laws, including the laws listed above.

Procurement policies and procedures for the tendering and commissioning of services and the employment of consultants should be followed and there should be a clear audit trail regarding decision making.

ANAO assessment: Partially compliant.

ANAO comment: While there was a reasonably clear audit trail regarding DBCDE’s procurement decision making, there were areas in which DBCDE could improve its compliance with procurement policies and procedures, and advising on financial approvals. Refer to discussion in paragraphs 3.42 to 3.47.

Source: 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis of DBCDE campaign documentation.

Issue: adherence to procurement policies and procedures

3.42 A  range  of  services  are  typically  procured  for  advertising  campaigns.123 These include: developmental research to understand the need  for  a  campaign;  creative  development  of  campaign  materials;  testing  of 

                                                       123 Procurement of advertising services for Australian Government campaigns was to comply with division 1 of the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (CPGs) prior to 1 July 2012. Since that time, campaign procurement is to

comply with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs). The core principle of the Australian Government’s procurement policy framework is value for money. Value for money is enhanced by using competitive procurement processes, and conducting a process that is commensurate with the scale and scope of the procurement. The procurement of advertising services is exempt from the additional rules that apply to high value procurements. Communications suppliers for campaigns valued at $250 000 or more must be selected from the Communications Multi-Use List. As previously discussed, media placement must be procured through the MMA. Source: Finance, Commonwealth Procurement Rules, p. 14, and Division 2 of the CPRs (and the former CPGs) specifies additional rules for procurements at or above the relevant procurement threshold.

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creative materials with potential audiences; evaluative research to test their  effectiveness; and media placement. 

FMA Regulation 9 approvals

3.43 Funding  approval,  pursuant  to  FMA  Regulation 9,  for  the  regional  NBN campaign budget was made by the Minister prior to DBCDE engaging  contractors for the campaign. The approval specified a total cost, and costs for  various elements of the campaign, such as for the creative agency,  creative  concept  testing  and  evaluation  research,  public  relations  activities,  and  the  media buy. The approval also provided for DBCDE to reallocate costs of up to  five percent between those elements, with ‘any excess funds to be allocated to  the media buy’ (refer also to paragraph 3.36). In this respect, the Minister’s  Regulation 9 approval was conditional.124 Further, while the total campaign  expenditure  remained  within  the  approved  budget,  expenditure  on  the  research  element  (approximately  $1.7  million)  considerably  exceeded  the  approved amount ($990 000), even allowing for a variation of five per cent.125  In  the  circumstances,  the  department  should  have  requested  a  new  FMA  Regulation  9  approval  from  the  Minister,  because  of  the  conditions  he  had  placed on his original approval.126 

3.44 A number of other FMA Regulation 9 approvals were sought from the  Minister for campaign related  expenditure, including for the engagement of  contractors  to  work  as  part  of  the  DBCDE  team  developing  the  campaign.  DBCDE sought and obtained the approval from the Minister for the use of  administered funding from an NBN/Digital community engagement127 budget  to  pay  for  these  contractors.  However,  the  department  did  not  advise  the  Minister that administered funding, which is to be used for specific outcomes,  cannot be transferred to departmental funding. Departmental funding is to be  used for the ordinary operating costs of government agencies.128 

                                                       124 Note 3 to FMA Regulation 9 advises that approvals may be given subject to conditions. 125

DBCDE advised that it ‘spent more than originally budgeted on the research element as continual rounds or refinement testing were required given the nature of the campaign.’ 126 Finance Circular 2011/01 advises that any conditions relating to an approval under FMA Regulation 9 must be complied

with (refer to page 22 of the circular). 127 The department advised the Minister that the administered funding was for communication work associated with broadband champions, promotion of the Digital Hubs and Digital Enterprise programs, revising the architecture and

maintenance of nbn.gov.au, and the continuation of local business forums in NBN early release sites. 128 Finance, Annual Appropriation Rules - Summarised, accessible via: [accessed 30 January 2013]. DBCDE advised that while the Minute to the

Minister referred to funding for ‘Contractors for NBN regional advertising campaign’, the funding was used for non-campaign related ‘below-the-line work’.

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Supplier selection and engagement

3.45 Three  companies  from  the  Australian  Government  Communications  Multi‐Use List were invited to submit proposals for developmental research  for the regional NBN campaign. Proposals were also to indicate the companies’  skills and capacity to undertake other phases of research, such as evaluation  research. The companies were requested to submit a budget for developmental  research, with separate quotes to be sought for any further phases of research.  The preferred supplier was engaged to conduct the developmental research,  and was subsequently also engaged to conduct creative concept testing. 

3.46 Following feedback from the PRG and the ICC, DBCDE recognised the  need  for  a  separate  provider  of  campaign  evaluation  research,  to  avoid  a  conflict  of  interest.129  DBCDE  then  engaged  the  firm  ranked  second  in  the  developmental research tender to conduct the campaign evaluation research,  even though the criteria used for that tender were not directly relevant to the  company’s ability to undertake evaluation research. DBCDE’s budget for the  proposed developmental research was approximately $275 000, including GST.  In total, $1.7 million of services130 were provided by the two companies for  developmental research, creative concept testing, and evaluative research.131 

3.47 DBCDE’s  processes  for  procuring  research  services  for  the  regional  NBN  campaign  were  not   commensurate  with  the  scale  and  scope  of  the  services that were provided. Given the value of creative concept testing and  evaluation services, separate requests for proposals were warranted to form a  sound basis for supplier selections.132 

Campaign evaluation 3.48 As previously discussed in Table 3.6, DBCDE engaged a contractor to  evaluate  the  effectiveness  of  the  regional  NBN  advertising  campaign.  Following  benchmarking  in  early  April  2012,  and  two  rounds  of  research 

                                                       129 To avoid a conflict of interest, formative and evaluative research should be conducted by different suppliers. Source: Finance, Campaign Planning Guide, September 2012, p. 50. 130

Services provided included eleven rounds of creative concept testing, as well as benchmarking, tracking and evaluation services. 131 A further $1.2 million in research services was also ordered on the basis of this procurement process for the

metropolitan NBN campaign. 132 In contrast, a creative agency and a public relations consultant were each engaged after assessing the relative merit of three proposals. DBCDE advised the ANAO that: ‘conducting a separate tender [for the evaluation services] given the

similarity of the work conducted by the consultancy was not considered to represent a value for money outcome’.

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Supplier selection and engagement

3.45 Three  companies  from  the  Australian  Government  Communications  Multi‐Use List were invited to submit proposals for developmental research  for the regional NBN campaign. Proposals were also to indicate the companies’  skills and capacity to undertake other phases of research, such as evaluation  research. The companies were requested to submit a budget for developmental  research, with separate quotes to be sought for any further phases of research.  The preferred supplier was engaged to conduct the developmental research,  and was subsequently also engaged to conduct creative concept testing. 

3.46 Following feedback from the PRG and the ICC, DBCDE recognised the  need  for  a  separate  provider  of  campaign  evaluation  research,  to  avoid  a  conflict  of  interest.129  DBCDE  then  engaged  the  firm  ranked  second  in  the  developmental research tender to conduct the campaign evaluation research,  even though the criteria used for that tender were not directly relevant to the  company’s ability to undertake evaluation research. DBCDE’s budget for the  proposed developmental research was approximately $275 000, including GST.  In total, $1.7 million of services130 were provided by the two companies for  developmental research, creative concept testing, and evaluative research.131 

3.47 DBCDE’s  processes  for  procuring  research  services  for  the  regional  NBN  campaign  were  not   commensurate  with  the  scale  and  scope  of  the  services that were provided. Given the value of creative concept testing and  evaluation services, separate requests for proposals were warranted to form a  sound basis for supplier selections.132 

Campaign evaluation 3.48 As previously discussed in Table 3.6, DBCDE engaged a contractor to  evaluate  the  effectiveness  of  the  regional  NBN  advertising  campaign.  Following  benchmarking  in  early  April  2012,  and  two  rounds  of  research 

                                                       129 To avoid a conflict of interest, formative and evaluative research should be conducted by different suppliers. Source: Finance, Campaign Planning Guide, September 2012, p. 50. 130

Services provided included eleven rounds of creative concept testing, as well as benchmarking, tracking and evaluation services. 131 A further $1.2 million in research services was also ordered on the basis of this procurement process for the

metropolitan NBN campaign. 132 In contrast, a creative agency and a public relations consultant were each engaged after assessing the relative merit of three proposals. DBCDE advised the ANAO that: ‘conducting a separate tender [for the evaluation services] given the

similarity of the work conducted by the consultancy was not considered to represent a value for money outcome’.

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during the campaign, the final evaluation report was provided to DBCDE in  late July 2012. 

3.49 The evaluation report found that overall, the campaign had met most of  its  objectives,  including  that  it  had  increased  understanding  of  the  NBN;  improved understanding in relation to ‘myths and misconceptions’ about the  NBN;  increased  awareness  of  the  priority  to  roll  out  the  NBN  in  regional  Australia; and alerted people to how they could get more information about  the NBN. For example, understanding that the ‘NBN rollout is now underway  prioritising regional Australia’ rose from 37 to 52 per cent as a result of the  campaign, and understanding that the ‘NBN will deliver high speed reliable  broadband  to  all  of  Australia’  rose  from  42  to  51  per  cent.  Further,  the  proportion of respondents who believed that ‘the NBN would bring a lot of  benefits to my community’ rose from 47 to 49 per cent, and the proportion of  respondents  who  believed  that  ‘the  NBN  delivers  improved  broadband  services, reliability and vastly superior capacity’ rose from 50 to 54 per cent. 

3.50 The evaluation report also indicated that one of the objectives of the  evaluation133 had  not  been  achieved:  increasing intentions to  connect  to  the  NBN: 

While  the  campaign  has  not  yet  had  a  positive  impact  on  the  behavioural  objective  (increasing  intentions  to  connect  to  the  NBN),  this  is  likely  to  be  related to low issue saliency or relevance for most people in regional Australia  (excluding NBN ready and NBN underway regions). For most, the issue is still  not an immediate one. This gap between the time of the research and actual  access to the NBN (‘at their door’) means that shifts in behavioural intention  are much more likely to come when each region moves into NBN ready status  and the ability to access the NBN becomes a reality.134 

Conclusion 3.51 DBCDE was tasked with delivering an advertising campaign focused  on regional and remote areas of Australia, to improve public understanding,  address  misconceptions,  and  provide  updated  information  about  the  NBN.  The regional NBN campaign was developed within 11 weeks, a challenging 

                                                       133 The evaluation report examined the campaign’s performance in relation to seven evaluation/communication objectives, which were derived from the campaign’s objectives. 134

DBCDE, NBN Regional Public Information and Awareness Campaign Evaluation, Final Campaign Evaluation Report, July 2012, p. 5.

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timeframe  as  the  campaign  involved  the  development  of  television  advertisements. The campaign ran from late April 2012 to late June 2012. 

3.52 In the main, DBCDE’s administration of the regional NBN advertising  campaign  met  the  requirements  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  However,  on  several  occasions  DBCDE  provided  campaign  materials  and  supporting documentation to the ICC late, which did not effectively support  the third party review of the campaign. There were some technical inaccuracies  in a small number of statements made in the regional NBN campaign as part of  unscripted case studies. In approving the campaign media buy, DBCDE relied  on  the  Master  Media  Agency’s  advice.  DBCDE  did  not  make  its  own  assessment of the cost‐effectiveness of the media buy, in accordance with the  requirements of the financial framework and the Guidelines. 

3.53 It has long been recognised that it is legitimate for government to use  public funds to explain government policies, programs or services, to inform  members  of  the  public  of  their  obligations,  rights  and  entitlements,  to  encourage informed consideration of issues, or to change behaviour. DBCDE  identified a need for communications activities to address ‘misunderstandings  and misconceptions’ about the NBN. While acknowledging that the decision to  conduct  the

  two  NBN  campaigns  was  a  matter  for  the  Government  and  DBCDE,  this  was  the  first  time  a  Department  of  State  has  conducted  advertising campaigns in an area in which a Government Business Enterprise  has charter responsibilities. NBN Co is responsible for designing, building and  operating the NBN, and conducts its own communications activities to ensure  Australians  are  aware  of  the  NBN  construction  schedule,  to  promote  the  potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect  to  the  network  when  it  is  available  in  their  area.  While  DBCDE  sought  to  differentiate its activities from NBN Co by focusing on matters of government  policy,  the  closely  related  communications  objectives  and  activities  of  a  Department of State and a Government Business Enterprise with a commercial  charter raises questions around the focus, scale and timing of the departmental  advertising  effort.  Of  particular  note,  with  the  NBN  rollout  ongoing  until  2021135, for a substantial number of households and businesses DBCDE’s large  scale  NBN  advertising  took  place  years  before  the  NBN  is  due  to  become  available in their area. There would have been benefit in DBCDE assessing the 

                                                       135 Refer to the NBN Co website for details of the NBN rollout schedule, available at: , [accessed 9 June 2013].

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timeframe  as  the  campaign  involved  the  development  of  television  advertisements. The campaign ran from late April 2012 to late June 2012. 

3.52 In the main, DBCDE’s administration of the regional NBN advertising  campaign  met  the  requirements  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  However,  on  several  occasions  DBCDE  provided  campaign  materials  and  supporting documentation to the ICC late, which did not effectively support  the third party review of the campaign. There were some technical inaccuracies  in a small number of statements made in the regional NBN campaign as part of  unscripted case studies. In approving the campaign media buy, DBCDE relied  on  the  Master  Media  Agency’s  advice.  DBCDE  did  not  make  its  own  assessment of the cost‐effectiveness of the media buy, in accordance with the  requirements of the financial framework and the Guidelines. 

3.53 It has long been recognised that it is legitimate for government to use  public funds to explain government policies, programs or services, to inform  members  of  the  public  of  their  obligations,  rights  and  entitlements,  to  encourage informed consideration of issues, or to change behaviour. DBCDE  identified a need for communications activities to address ‘misunderstandings  and misconceptions’ about the NBN. While acknowledging that the decision to  conduct  the

  two  NBN  campaigns  was  a  matter  for  the  Government  and  DBCDE,  this  was  the  first  time  a  Department  of  State  has  conducted  advertising campaigns in an area in which a Government Business Enterprise  has charter responsibilities. NBN Co is responsible for designing, building and  operating the NBN, and conducts its own communications activities to ensure  Australians  are  aware  of  the  NBN  construction  schedule,  to  promote  the  potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect  to  the  network  when  it  is  available  in  their  area.  While  DBCDE  sought  to  differentiate its activities from NBN Co by focusing on matters of government  policy,  the  closely  related  communications  objectives  and  activities  of  a  Department of State and a Government Business Enterprise with a commercial  charter raises questions around the focus, scale and timing of the departmental  advertising  effort.  Of  particular  note,  with  the  NBN  rollout  ongoing  until  2021135, for a substantial number of households and businesses DBCDE’s large  scale  NBN  advertising  took  place  years  before  the  NBN  is  due  to  become  available in their area. There would have been benefit in DBCDE assessing the 

                                                       135 Refer to the NBN Co website for details of the NBN rollout schedule, available at: , [accessed 9 June 2013].

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cost‐effectiveness  of  its  proposed  NBN  campaigns  to  inform  government  decisions on the campaigns’ targeting, scale and timing. 

3.54 The evaluation report for the regional NBN advertising campaign was  finalised in July 2012. The evaluation noted improvements in understanding  and attitudes against the majority of the campaign’s objectives. For example;  understanding that the ‘NBN rollout is now underway prioritising regional  Australia’  rose  from  37  to  52  per  cent  as  a  result  of  the  campaign;  understanding that the ‘NBN will deliver high speed reliable broadband to all  of Australia’ rose from 42 to 51 per cent; and the proportion of respondents  who believed that ‘the NBN would bring a lot of benefits to my community’  rose from 47 to 49 per cent. 

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4. Metropolitan National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign

This chapter examines the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign administered by  DBCDE, including the development of the campaign, the campaign’s compliance with  the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines and the results of the campaign’s evaluation. 

Campaign overview 4.1 In the 2012-13 Mid‐Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement, the  Australian  Government  allocated  $22  million  (including  GST)  to  ’improve  public  understanding,  address  misconceptions  and  provide  updated  information  about  the  National  Broadband  Network’.136  An  additional  $5.4 million (including GST) was provided for the advertising campaign in the  2012-13  Portfolio  Additional  Estimates.137  The  campaign,  known  as  the  metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign,  was  to  focus  on  five  major  metropolitan areas, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, where  access to the NBN is to be provided through optical fibre.138 The advertising  campaign  was  administered  by  DBCDE,  and  was  subject  to  the  campaign  advertising framework, including the 2010 Guidelines. 

4.2 Table 4.1 summarises the key elements of the campaign, including its  objectives, timing, target audiences and budget. The campaign involved two  phases,  one  in  late  2012  and  one  commencing  in  March  2013.  This  chapter  relates  only  to  DBCDE’s  administration  of  the  first  phase  of  the  campaign.  Refer to Appendix 3 for an example of a print advertisement from the  first  phase of the campaign. 

                                                       136 Commonwealth of Australia, Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement 2012-13, accessible via: [accessed 22 January 2013].

As with the HAP and regional NBN advertising campaigns, the level of campaign funding was high in comparison to the majority of other advertising campaigns. See footnote 57. 137 Commonwealth of Australia, Portfolio Additional Estimates 2012-13, Broadband, Communications and the Digital

Economy Portfolio, accessible via: [accessed 13 June 2013]. 138 DBCDE also subsequently included a number of other cities in the campaign’s target audience. See Table 4.6 for

further discussion.

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4. Metropolitan National Broadband Network Advertising Campaign

This chapter examines the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign administered by  DBCDE, including the development of the campaign, the campaign’s compliance with  the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines and the results of the campaign’s evaluation. 

Campaign overview 4.1 In the 2012-13 Mid‐Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement, the  Australian  Government  allocated  $22  million  (including  GST)  to  ’improve  public  understanding,  address  misconceptions  and  provide  updated  information  about  the  National  Broadband  Network’.136  An  additional  $5.4 million (including GST) was provided for the advertising campaign in the  2012-13  Portfolio  Additional  Estimates.137  The  campaign,  known  as  the  metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign,  was  to  focus  on  five  major  metropolitan areas, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, where  access to the NBN is to be provided through optical fibre.138 The advertising  campaign  was  administered  by  DBCDE,  and  was  subject  to  the  campaign  advertising framework, including the 2010 Guidelines. 

4.2 Table 4.1 summarises the key elements of the campaign, including its  objectives, timing, target audiences and budget. The campaign involved two  phases,  one  in  late  2012  and  one  commencing  in  March  2013.  This  chapter  relates  only  to  DBCDE’s  administration  of  the  first  phase  of  the  campaign.  Refer to Appendix 3 for an example o f a print advertisement from the first  phase of the campaign. 

                                                       136 Commonwealth of Australia, Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement 2012-13, accessible via: [accessed 22 January 2013].

As with the HAP and regional NBN advertising campaigns, the level of campaign funding was high in comparison to the majority of other advertising campaigns. See footnote 57. 137 Commonwealth of Australia, Portfolio Additional Estimates 2012-13, Broadband, Communications and the Digital

Economy Portfolio, accessible via: [accessed 13 June 2013]. 138 DBCDE also subsequently included a number of other cities in the campaign’s target audience. See Table 4.6 for

further discussion.

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Table 4.1

Summary of the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign

Summary

Objectives The objectives of the campaign were to:

 increase understanding about the NBN by telling a compelling big picture story highlighting the NBN as an investment in Australia’s future (create credibility);

 engage, inform and educate by explaining the facts, dispelling the myths and showcasing the services and value for money benefits of connecting to the NBN (create excitement and interest);

 build and maintain visibility by showing the personal, business, community and national benefits of connecting to the NBN; using multiple channels and leveraging stakeholder and whole-of-government channels (create a positive disposition); and

 direct people to where they can get more information about how and when they can get connected (call to action).

Timing Phase one: 4 November 2012 to 19 January 2013. Phase two: 17 March 2013 to 26 May 2013.

Target audiences

The primary target audiences for the campaign were: 1. individuals who are positive-to-neutral in their attitudes to the NBN (the neutral majority, generally under 40 years of age); 2. the technologically-savvy, who are interested in the technology behind

the NBN and will be invaluable as word of mouth advocates to the broader community that generally have less understanding about the initiative; 3. professionals and small business people, who are also advocates; and

4. the broader community: people 18+ living in metropolitan areas; families; schools and education facilities; businesses; opinion leaders; and industry, business and community organisations.

Total campaign expenditure (inc. GST)

2012-13 Budget: $27.4 million for both phases of the campaign. 2012-13 Actual: $19.4 million (as at 31 March 2013) for both phases.

Media expenditure (inc. GST)

Budget: Phase one: $10.8 million. Actual: Phase one: $10.1 million.

Source: DBCDE documentation.

4.3 To  assess  the  effectiveness  of  DBCDE’s  administration  of  the  metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign  against  the  requirements  of  the  campaign advertising framework, the ANAO examined the: 

 campaign’s development, including the approval of the campaign and  the timeframe in which it was implemented; 

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 campaign’s compliance with the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines;  and 

 evaluation of the campaign. 

Campaign development

Approval and timeframe

4.4 As was the case for the regional NBN advertising campaign, the first  phase of the metropolitan NBN campaign was developed by DBCDE within a  challenging  timeframe.  The  Government  approved  the  first  phase  of  the  campaign  on  21 August 2012,  with  advertising  to  be  conducted  in  the  final  quarter  of  2012.  DBCDE  developed  the  campaign  in  11  weeks,  prior  to  advertising commencing in early November 2012. 

4.5 The key dates for the campaign included: 

 22 August 2012—meeting with the PRG to obtain feedback on the draft  campaign communications strategy; 

 4 September 2012—meeting  with  the  ICC  for  its  consideration  of  the  communications strategy139; 

 26 October 2012—DBCDE’s sixth meeting with the ICC, for its initial  consideration of selected final creative materials; 

 4 November 2012—campaign  advertising  commencement,  with  selected materials; 

 14 December 2012—tenth and final ICC meeting for the first phase of  the campaign; and 

 19 January 2013—completion  of  campaign  advertising  (most  advertising  including  television,  print  and  radio  ceased  in  mid‐December,  but  cinema  advertising  was  extended  through  the  Christmas/new  year  period.  Refer  to  paragraph  4.15  for  furthe r  discussion). 

 

                                                       139 DBCDE first met with the ICC on 21 August 2012 to discuss the proposed campaign and developmental research.

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 campaign’s compliance with the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines;  and 

 evaluation of the campaign. 

Campaign development

Approval and timeframe

4.4 As was the case for the regional NBN advertising campaign, the first  phase of the metropolitan NBN campaign was developed by DBCDE within a  challenging  timeframe.  The  Government  approved  the  first  phase  of  the  campaign  on  21 August 2012,  with  advertising  to  be  conducted  in  the  final  quarter  of  2012.  DBCDE  developed  the  campaign  in  11  weeks,  prior  to  advertising commencing in early November 2012. 

4.5 The key dates for the campaign included: 

 22 August 2012—meeting with the PRG to obtain feedback on the draft  campaign communications strategy; 

 4 September 2012—meeting  with  the  ICC  for  its  consideration  of  the  communications strategy139; 

 26 October 2012—DBCDE’s sixth meeting with the ICC, for its initial  consideration of selected final creative materials; 

 4 November 2012—campaign  advertising  commencement,  with  selected materials; 

 14 December 2012—tenth and final ICC meeting for the first phase of  the campaign; and 

 19 January 2013—completion  of  campaign  advertising  (most  advertising  including  television,  print  and  radio  ceased  in  mid‐December,  but  cinema  advertising  was  extended  through  the  Christmas/new  year  period.  Refer  to  paragraph  4.15  for  furthe r  discussion). 

 

                                                       139 DBCDE first met with the ICC on 21 August 2012 to discuss the proposed campaign and developmental research.

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Peer Review Group feedback

4.6 DBCDE  met  with  the  PRG  on  22 August 2012  to  discuss  the  draft  campaign communications strategy. In its feedback the PRG commented that: 

 a key challenge for the campaign was to develop clear messages that  were compelling and provided a direct and worthwhile benefit to the  range of audiences identified; 

 DBCDE  reconsider  the  focus  of  the  two  proposed  phases.  The  PRG  expressed concern that DBCDE’s plan to promote the benefits of the  NBN in the first phase rather than address myths and misconceptions  could potentially exacerbate misconceptions; and 

 DBCDE consider developing a contingency plan for the possibility that  additional  funds  for  the  second  phase  of  the  campaign  were  not  approved. 

4.7 The  PRG  usefully  pointed  out  a  range  of  issues  and  technical  communication  matters  for  DBCDE  to  consider  as  it  progressed  its  development  of  the  campaign.  DBCDE’s  subsequent  administration  of  the  campaign addressed some of the matters raised by the PRG. 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines

Compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

4.8 The 2010 Guidelines include a number of certification, publication and  reporting  requirements,  outlined  in  paragraphs  14  and  17.  The  ANAO’s  assessment of whether DCDBE complied with these requirements is shown in  Table 4.2. 

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Table 4.2

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

Paragraph 14. For advertising campaigns of $250 000 or more:

The ICC will consider the proposed campaign and provide a report to the chief executive on compliance with Principles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Guidelines. Agencies will be responsible for providing a report to their chief executive on campaign compliance with Principle 5 of the Guidelines.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The ICC provided four review reports. In addition, the requirement for DBCDE to provide a report to the chief executive was complied with. The four reports DBCDE provided to its Secretary indicated that an attached document demonstrated compliance with relevant procurement policies and procedures, but the attachment only addressed the campaign’s compliance with relevant laws. On their face, the reports provided limited assurance to the Secretary on compliance with relevant procurement policies and procedures.

140

Following consideration of the reports on campaign compliance, the chief executive will certify that the campaign complies with the Guidelines and relevant government policies.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: DBCDE’s Secretary signed four chief executive certification statements.

The chief executive will give the certification to the relevant Minister who may launch the campaign or approve its launch.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The chief executive certification was provided to the Minister prior to his approval of each of the four batches of creative materials.

The chief executive’s certification will be published on the relevant department’s website when the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The main (first) certification statement was placed on DCDBE’s website when the campaign was launched. The December statement was uploaded within days of its signing. Two November certification statements were uploaded to DBCDE’s website in late December 2012, after the campaign’s launch.

The conclusions of the ICC will be published on Finance’s website after the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Finance published the ICC’s campaign review letter after the campaign was launched.

                                                       140 DBCDE advised that: ’the Secretary’s close involvement with the Department’s financial frameworks and controls meant that he did not need this separately notated in a minute, additionally the Department had a process of copying the

Secretary into all administered Regulation 9 Minutes.’

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Table 4.2

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—compliance with certification, publication and reporting requirements

Paragraph 14. For advertising campaigns of $250 000 or more:

The ICC will consider the proposed campaign and provide a report to the chief executive on compliance with Principles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Guidelines. Agencies will be responsible for providing a report to their chief executive on campaign compliance with Principle 5 of the Guidelines.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The ICC provided four review reports. In addition, the requirement for DBCDE to provide a report to the chief executive was complied with. The four reports DBCDE provided to its Secretary indicated that an attached document demonstrated compliance with relevant procurement policies and procedures, but the attachment only addressed the campaign’s compliance with relevant laws. On their face, the reports provided limited assurance to the Secretary on compliance with relevant procurement policies and procedures.

140

Following consideration of the reports on campaign compliance, the chief executive will certify that the campaign complies with the Guidelines and relevant government policies.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: DBCDE’s Secretary signed four chief executive certification statements.

The chief executive will give the certification to the relevant Minister who may launch the campaign or approve its launch.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The chief executive certification was provided to the Minister prior to his approval of each of the four batches of creative materials.

The chief executive’s certification will be published on the relevant department’s website when the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The main (first) certification statement was placed on DCDBE’s website when the campaign was launched. The December statement was uploaded within days of its signing. Two November certification statements were uploaded to DBCDE’s website in late December 2012, after the campaign’s launch.

The conclusions of the ICC will be published on Finance’s website after the campaign is launched.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Finance published the ICC’s campaign review letter after the campaign was launched.

                                                       140 DBCDE advised that: ’the Secretary’s close involvement with the Department’s financial frameworks and controls meant that he did not need this separately notated in a minute, additionally the Department had a process of copying the

Secretary into all administered Regulation 9 Minutes.’

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Paragraph 17. Chief executives will ensure that:

Research reports for advertising campaigns with expenditure of $250 000 or more are published on their agency’s website following the launch of a campaign where it is appropriate to do so.

ANAO assessment: Discretion exercised to make available a short summary of research report. ANAO comment: In late December 2012, DBCDE placed a short summary of developmental research for the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign on its website.

Details of advertising campaigns undertaken will be published in agency annual reports.

ANAO assessment: Not yet applicable. ANAO comment: The metropolitan NBN campaign commenced after the publication of DCDBE’s 2011-12 Annual Report. Details of the campaign should be included in DCDBE’s 2012-13 Annual Report.

Source: March 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis.

4.9 For  the  first  phase  of  the  metropolitan  NBN  campaign,  DBCDE  provided campaign materials141 and supporting documentation to the ICC later  than requested. For example, to inform its review of the metropolitan NBN  campaign, the ICC sought to understand and draw upon the findings of the  evaluation  of  the  regional  campaign.  A  two  page  summary  of  evaluation  findings  was  provided  by  DBCDE  in  early  September  2012,  at  its  second  meeting  with  the  ICC  on  the  metropolitan  campaign.  However,  the  full  evaluation report for the regional NBN campaign was not provided by DBCDE  until October 2012, for its fourth meeting with the ICC on the metropolitan  campaign. DBCDE advised the ANAO that the report had been finalised in  July  2012.  As  discussed  in  Chapter  3  of  this  audit,  third  party  scrutiny  of  campaigns is a core element of the campaign advertising framework, and relies  for its effectiveness on agencies facilitating ICC processes. 

Compliance with the five information and advertising campaign principles

Principle 1

4.10 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 1 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 4.3. 

                                                       141 This was observed in the context of the regional NBN campaign, discussed in Chapter 3.

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Table 4.3

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 1

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities.

The subject matter of campaigns should be directly related to the Government’s responsibilities. As such, only policies or programs underpinned by:

 legislative authority; or

 appropriation of the Parliament; or

 a Cabinet Decision which is intended to be implemented during the current Parliament should be the subject of a campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The NBN is an Australian Government policy initiative, and legislation has been passed by the Commonwealth Parliament to support its implementation (see Table 3.3 for additional detail about NBN policy and legislation).

The metropolitan NBN campaign sought to inform the public of NBN policies, provide information about NBN services to the public, and inform consideration of issues surrounding the NBN.

Source: March 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis.

Principle 2

4.11 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 2 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 4.4. 

Table 4.4

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 2

Principle 2: Campaign materials should be presented in an objective, fair and accessible manner and be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign.

Campaign materials should enable the recipients of the information to distinguish between facts, comment, opinion and analysis.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The campaign materials contained only factual information about the NBN.

Where information is presented as a fact, it should be accurate and verifiable. When making a factual comparison, the material should not attempt to mislead the recipient about the situation with which the comparison is made and it should state explicitly the basis for the comparison.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: As was the case for the regional NBN campaign, to verify factual campaign statements for the metropolitan NBN campaign DBCDE adopted a better practice approach and prepared a series of verification matrices to demonstrate compliance to the ICC. In response to ICC requests, DBCDE again supplemented its verification documentation with a range of additional information. After DBCDE had responded to the ICC’s requests for additional information, campaign statements were supported by sufficient, relevant evidence.

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Table 4.3

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 1

Principle 1: Campaigns should be relevant to government responsibilities.

The subject matter of campaigns should be directly related to the Government’s responsibilities. As such, only policies or programs underpinned by:

 legislative authority; or

 appropriation of the Parliament; or

 a Cabinet Decision which is intended to be implemented during the current Parliament should be the subject of a campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: The NBN is an Australian Government policy initiative, and legislation has been passed by the Commonwealth Parliament to support its implementation (see Table 3.3 for additional detail about NBN policy and legislation).

The metropolitan NBN campaign sought to inform the public of NBN policies, provide information about NBN services to the public, and inform consideration of issues surrounding the NBN.

Source: March 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis.

Principle 2

4.11 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 2 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 4.4. 

Table 4.4

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 2

Principle 2: Campaign materials should be presented in an objective, fair and accessible manner and be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign.

Campaign materials should enable the recipients of the information to distinguish between facts, comment, opinion and analysis.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The campaign materials contained only factual information about the NBN.

Where information is presented as a fact, it should be accurate and verifiable. When making a factual comparison, the material should not attempt to mislead the recipient about the situation with which the comparison is made and it should state explicitly the basis for the comparison.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: As was the case for the regional NBN campaign, to verify factual campaign statements for the metropolitan NBN campaign DBCDE adopted a better practice approach and prepared a series of verification matrices to demonstrate compliance to the ICC. In response to ICC requests, DBCDE again supplemented its verification documentation with a range of additional information. After DBCDE had responded to the ICC’s requests for additional information, campaign statements were supported by sufficient, relevant evidence.

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Pre-existing policies, products, services and activities should not be presented as new.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The campaign did not present pre-existing policies, products, services and activities as new.

Special attention should be paid to communicating with any disadvantaged individuals or groups identified as being within the target audience. Particular attention should be paid to the communication needs of young people, the rural community and those for whom English is not a convenient language in which to receive information.

ANAO assessment: Compliant. ANAO comment: Developmental research showed that culturally and linguistic diverse (CALD) and Indigenous people did not have different information needs about the NBN than the general population. However, they required information through specific communication and media channels to facilitate their understanding of the key messages. As such, DCDBE engaged a specialist to develop print, radio and digital banner advertisements translated into numerous languages and provided through various CALD media channels. For example, the materials were translated into eight languages for radio advertisements. The department also engaged Indigenous communications specialists to provide advice on Indigenous-specific materials, which included an Indigenous-specific radio and print advertisement.

Imagery used in campaign materials should reflect the diverse range of Australians. There should be recognition of the full participation of women, Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities by realistically portraying their interests, lifestyles and contributions to Australian society.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The creative materials included women, men, young people, the elderly, Indigenous Australians and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Campaign materials should be tested with target audiences to indicate they are engaging and perform well against the objectives of the campaign.

ANAO assessment: Partially compliant.

ANAO comment: The various creative campaign materials underwent nine rounds of concept testing. While most materials were considered likely to achieve aspects of the campaign objectives, the testing of the print materials did not clearly indicate that they were considered to be sufficiently engaging, or likely to perform well against the objectives of the campaign. After deciding initially to use the print materials, DBCDE later ceased their use, as the materials had not performed as strongly as materials on other mediums. For further discussion, refer to paragraph 4.12.

Source: March 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis.

Issue: testing of campaign materials

4.12 Paragraph  25  of  the  Guidelines  provides  that  campaign  materials  should  be  tested  with  target  audiences  to  indicate  they  are  engaging  and  perform well against the objectives of the campaign. The various metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign  materials  underwent  nine  rounds  of  creative  concept testing. Prior to their release, most of the materials were considered 

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likely to achieve aspects of the objectives of the campaign. In particular, the  ‘flagship’ television advertisement tested well, and was found to be engaging.  However, in general, the print materials were considered to be less effective,  particularly in engaging the audience. 

4.13 The second to last round of concept testing of the print materials found  that  the  ‘response  to  the  press  ads  was  highly  variable  across  the  different  executions’ and that ‘the visuals being used in these press ads do not appeal to  a general audience and are not consistent in their tone or their message with  the [television] campaign’. In response to these findings, the ICC encouraged  DBCDE to commission additional concept testing of the print advertisements,  and following further discussions with the ICC, DBCDE agreed to commission  this testing. 

4.14 The  materials  were  adapted  and  the  additional  (and  final)  concept  testing  of  the  print  materials  found  that  the  ‘overall  response  to  the  print  advertising  suggests  that  these  are  performing  more  effectively  than  in  the  previous  round’.  The  print  advertisements  were  recommended  by  the  researcher to proceed, with one minor modification and nine additional points  for  consideration.  However,  the  researcher’s  comments  did  not  explicitly  advise on whether the  advertisements were engaging or expected to perform  well against the objectives of the campaign. 

4.15 In mid‐December 2012, DBCDE decided to discontinue the use of the  print advertisements, as they had not performed as well as other media.142 The  additional  funding  made  available  as  a  result  of  this  decision  was  used  to  extend  the  cinema  advertising  buy.  This  meant  that  advertising  continued  through  the  Christmas/new  year  period  to  improve  continuity  between  the  first  phase  and  the  planned  second  phase  of  the  campaign.  DBCDE’s  experience with the print materials demonstrates the value of creative concept  testing as a means of indicating whether creative materials are engaging and  performing  well  against  the  objectives  of  the  campaign.  Further,  the  department’s  ongoing  monitoring  of  the  effectiveness  of  the  campaign  materials enabled it to redirect some expenditure to a better performing media  channel. 

                                                       142 DBCDE advised that ‘the Department was receiving ongoing tracking results from the evaluation researcher. It was clear within the second week of advertising that print was the weakest channel and as a result the Department removed

the ads, and moved the funds allocated to stronger channels, such as cinema.’ DBCDE also advised that media expenditure on the print materials was some $727 000 (excluding research and development costs and media costs for CALD and Indigenous print materials).

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likely to achieve aspects of the objectives of the campaign. In particular, the  ‘flagship’ television advertisement tested well, and was found to be engaging.  However, in general, the print materials were considered to be less effective,  particularly in engaging the audience. 

4.13 The second to last round of concept testing of the print materials found  that  the  ‘response  to  the  press  ads  was  highly  variable  across  the  different  executions’ and that ‘the visuals being used in these press ads do not appeal to  a general audience and are not consistent in their tone or their message with  the [television] campaign’. In response to these findings, the ICC encouraged  DBCDE to commission additional concept testing of the print advertisements,  and following further discussions with the ICC, DBCDE agreed to commission  this testing. 

4.14 The  materials  were  adapted  and  the  additional  (and  final)  concept  testing  of  the  print  materials  found  that  the  ‘overall  response  to  the  print  advertising  suggests  that  these  are  performing  more  effectively  than  in  the  previous  round’.  The  print  advertisements  were  recommended  by  the  researcher to proceed, with one minor modification and nine additional points  for  consideration.  However,  the  researcher’s  comments  did  not  explicitly  advise on whether the  advertisements were engaging or expected to perform  well against the objectives of the campaign. 

4.15 In mid‐December 2012, DBCDE decided to discontinue the use of the  print advertisements, as they had not performed as well as other media.142 The  additional  funding  made  available  as  a  result  of  this  decision  was  used  to  extend  the  cinema  advertising  buy.  This  meant  that  advertising  continued  through  the  Christmas/new  year  period  to  improve  continuity  between  the  first  phase  and  the  planned  second  phase  of  the  campaign.  DBCDE’s  experience with the print materials demonstrates the value of creative concept  testing as a means of indicating whether creative materials are engaging and  performing  well  against  the  objectives  of  the  campaign.  Further,  the  department’s  ongoing  monitoring  of  the  effectiveness  of  the  campaign  materials enabled it to redirect some expenditure to a better performing media  channel. 

                                                       142 DBCDE advised that ‘the Department was receiving ongoing tracking results from the evaluation researcher. It was clear within the second week of advertising that print was the weakest channel and as a result the Department removed

the ads, and moved the funds allocated to stronger channels, such as cinema.’ DBCDE also advised that media expenditure on the print materials was some $727 000 (excluding research and development costs and media costs for CALD and Indigenous print materials).

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Principle 3

4.16 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 3 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 4.5. 

Table 4.5

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 3

Principle 3: Campaign materials should be objective and not directed at promoting party political interests.

Campaign materials must be presented in objective language and be free of political argument.

Campaign materials must not try to foster a positive impression of a particular political party or promote party political interests.

Campaign materials must not:

(a) mention the party in Government by name;

(b) directly attack or scorn the views, policies or actions of others such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups;

(c) include party political slogans or images;

(d) be designed to influence public support for a political party, a candidate for election, a Minister or a Member of Parliament; or

(e) refer or link to the websites of politicians or political parties.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The campaign did not contain any overt promotion of party political interests, political slogans or bias contrary to the mandatory sub-paragraphs of Principle 3.

Source: March 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis.

Principle 4

4.17 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 4 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 4.6. While the  campaign  complied  with  the  specific  requirements  of  the  Guidelines,  as  discussed in Chapter 3, the campaign was noteworthy—as was the regional  NBN campaign—as being the first time a Department of State has conducted  advertising campaigns in an area in which a Government Business Enterprise  has charter responsibilities. 

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Table 4.6

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 4

Principle 4: Campaigns should be justified and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner.

Campaigns should only be instigated where a need is demonstrated, target recipients are clearly identified and the campaign is informed by appropriate research or evidence.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: DBCDE advised the ICC that throughout 2010 and 2011, it had observed growing misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding the NBN, which did not reflect the Government’s policy or the project parameters. DBCDE further advised the ICC that ‘the success of the NBN rollout will be strongly influenced by the individual and community support’. The findings of market research conducted in June 2012 had highlighted ‘a low intention to connect, potentially indicating disengagement with the NBN in metropolitan areas’. The research also identified concerns and misunderstandings in metropolitan areas. Australians in metropolitan areas held more misperceptions than their regional counterparts, in part because of a higher awareness of the NBN itself. Misperceptions held in metropolitan areas included that: the technology was potentially at risk of obsolescence before completion; the project would not facilitate improved wi-fi in metropolitan areas; and the NBN would cost individual households and businesses more in the future.143

As discussed in paragraph 3.26, DBCDE’s NBN campaigns were the first time that a Department of State had conducted advertising in an area of a Government Business Enterprise’s charter responsibilities. Within this context, there were similarities in the objectives of the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign and the focus on NBN Co’s communications on the NBN. The objectives of DBCDE’s metropolitan NBN advertising campaign included to ‘build and maintain visibility by showing the personal, business, community and national benefits of connecting to the NBN’, and to ‘direct people to where they can get more information about how and when they can get connected (call to action)’; and NBN Co’s communications seek to promote the potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect to the network when it is available in their area.

Campaign information should clearly and directly affect the interests of recipients.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The Australian Government’s NBN policy is that all Australians will have access to the NBN. The campaign seeks to increase metropolitan Australians’ understanding of the NBN.

                                                       143 DBCDE, July 2012, Developmental Communication Research. NBN Metropolitan Advertising Campaign. Report of Research Findings. 12 July 2012, pp. 1-2.

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Table 4.6

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 4

Principle 4: Campaigns should be justified and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner.

Campaigns should only be instigated where a need is demonstrated, target recipients are clearly identified and the campaign is informed by appropriate research or evidence.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: DBCDE advised the ICC that throughout 2010 and 2011, it had observed growing misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding the NBN, which did not reflect the Government’s policy or the project parameters. DBCDE further advised the ICC that ‘the success of the NBN rollout will be strongly influenced by the individual and community support’. The findings of market research conducted in June 2012 had highlighted ‘a low intention to connect, potentially indicating disengagement with the NBN in metropolitan areas’. The research also identified concerns and misunderstandings in metropolitan areas. Australians in metropolitan areas held more misperceptions than their regional counterparts, in part because of a higher awareness of the NBN itself. Misperceptions held in metropolitan areas included that: the technology was potentially at risk of obsolescence before completion; the project would not facilitate improved wi-fi in metropolitan areas; and the NBN would cost individual households and businesses more in the future.

143

As discussed in paragraph 3.26, DBCDE’s NBN campaigns were the first time that a Department of State had conducted advertising in an area of a Government Business Enterprise’s charter responsibilities. Within this context, there were similarities in the objectives of the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign and the focus on NBN Co’s communications on the NBN. The objectives of DBCDE’s metropolitan NBN advertising campaign included to ‘build and maintain visibility by showing the personal, business, community and national benefits of connecting to the NBN’, and to ‘direct people to where they can get more information about how and when they can get connected (call to action)’; and NBN Co’s communications seek to promote the potential benefits of NBN services and to inform people about how to connect to the network when it is available in their area.

Campaign information should clearly and directly affect the interests of recipients.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The Australian Government’s NBN policy is that all Australians will have access to the NBN. The campaign seeks to increase metropolitan Australians’ understanding of the NBN.

                                                       143 DBCDE, July 2012, Developmental Communication Research. NBN Metropolitan Advertising Campaign. Report of Research Findings. 12 July 2012, pp. 1-2.

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The medium and volume of the advertising activities should be cost-effective and justifiable within the budget allocated to the campaign.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: DBCDE sought the advice of the MMA in relation to the medium and volume of advertising activities. In contrast with the approach adopted in the regional NBN campaign, DBCDE reviewed the cost-effectiveness of the MMA’s proposal. DBCDE made minor adjustments to the proposed media buy to improve the cost-effectiveness of the proposal and its alignment with the research recommendations. These adjustments included: minimising overlap with another DBCDE campaign which was to commence around the same time as the NBN campaign; adding cities categorised as regional for media purchasing purposes, but which are metropolitan in nature (for example, Canberra and Hobart); and a number of small changes to the volume of different types of media.

Distribution of unsolicited material should be carefully controlled.

ANAO assessment: Not applicable.

ANAO comment: No unsolicited materials were used as part of the campaign.

Campaigns should be evaluated to determine effectiveness.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: The final evaluation report for phase one of the metropolitan NBN advertising campaign was completed in January 2013. Refer to paragraph 4.22 for discussion of the findings of the evaluation.

Source: March 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis.

Principle 5

4.18 The  ANAO’s  assessment  of  whether  DCDBE  complied  with  the  requirements of Principle 5 of the Guidelines is outlined in Table 4.7. 

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Table 4.7

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 5

Principle 5: Campaigns must comply with legal requirements and procurement policies and procedures.

The manner of presentation and the delivery of campaigns must comply with all relevant laws including:

(a) laws with respect to broadcasting and media;

(b) privacy laws;

(c) intellectual property laws;

(d) electoral laws;

(e) trade practices and consumer protection laws; and

(f) workplace relations laws.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: DBCDE obtained internal legal advice, which indicated that the campaign complied with relevant laws, including the laws listed above.

Procurement policies and procedures for the tendering and commissioning of services and the employment of consultants should be followed and there should be a clear audit trail regarding decision making.

ANAO assessment: Partially compliant.

ANAO comment: There were a range of areas in which DBCDE could improve its compliance with procurement policies and procedures, and compliance with financial approvals. DBCDE could also improve its documentation of procurement decision making. Refer to paragraph 4.19 for detailed discussion of adherence to procurement policies and procedures.

Source: March 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis.

Issue: adherence to procurement policies and procedures

4.19 A range of services are typically procured for advertising campaigns.  Refer  to  paragraph  3.42  for  a  brief  description  of  these  services  and  the  requirements which apply to their procurement. 

FMA Regulation 9 approvals

4.20 FMA Regulation 9 approval was provided for the metropolitan NBN  campaign by the Minister in two stages. Approval for developmental market  research  was  provided  on  18 June 2012.  A  broader  Regulation  9  spending  proposal approval for the implementation of the metropolitan NBN campaign  was  provided  on  12 September 2012.  The  broader  approval  specified  expenditure  amounts  for  various  campaign  services,  such  as  research,  the  development of creative materials and the media buy. The approval provided  for  DBCDE  to  reallocate  up  to  ten  per  cent  of  the  expenditure  amounts 

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Table 4.7

Metropolitan NBN advertising campaign—Principle 5

Principle 5: Campaigns must comply with legal requirements and procurement policies and procedures.

The manner of presentation and the delivery of campaigns must comply with all relevant laws including:

(a) laws with respect to broadcasting and media;

(b) privacy laws;

(c) intellectual property laws;

(d) electoral laws;

(e) trade practices and consumer protection laws; and

(f) workplace relations laws.

ANAO assessment: Compliant.

ANAO comment: DBCDE obtained internal legal advice, which indicated that the campaign complied with relevant laws, including the laws listed above.

Procurement policies and procedures for the tendering and commissioning of services and the employment of consultants should be followed and there should be a clear audit trail regarding decision making.

ANAO assessment: Partially compliant.

ANAO comment: There were a range of areas in which DBCDE could improve its compliance with procurement policies and procedures, and compliance with financial approvals. DBCDE could also improve its documentation of procurement decision making. Refer to paragraph 4.19 for detailed discussion of adherence to procurement policies and procedures.

Source: March 2010 Guidelines and ANAO analysis.

Issue: adherence to procurement policies and procedures

4.19 A range of services are typically procured for advertising campaigns.  Refer  to  paragraph  3.42  for  a  brief  description  of  these  services  and  the  requirements which apply to their procurement. 

FMA Regulation 9 approvals

4.20 FMA Regulation 9 approval was provided for the metropolitan NBN  campaign by the Minister in two stages. Approval for developmental market  research  was  provided  on  18 June 2012.  A  broader  Regulation  9  spending  proposal approval for the implementation of the metropolitan NBN campaign  was  provided  on  12 September 2012.  The  broader  approval  specified  expenditure  amounts  for  various  campaign  services,  such  as  research,  the  development of creative materials and the media buy. The approval provided  for  DBCDE  to  reallocate  up  to  ten  per  cent  of  the  expenditure  amounts 

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between services. For reallocations of more than ten per cent, DBCDE was to  consult  with  the  Minister’s  office.144  On  21  December  2012,  DBCDE  subsequently consulted with the Minister’s office before reallocating more than  ten per cent of funding from the media buy to the development of creative  materials  and  creative  concept  testing.  However,  at  that  time,  DBCDE  had  already committed over ten per cent more than the amount specified in the  Regulation 9 approval for the development of creative materials, contrary to  the conditional approval provided by the Minister.145 

Supplier selection and engagement

4.21 For  the  metropolitan  NBN  campaign,  the  existing  contractual  arrangements for the contractors which developed the creative materials and  performed  creative  concept  testing146  were  varied  to  extend  their  term.  An  assessment  of  value  for  money  was  not  documented  prior  to  ordering  additional services from either agency, taking into account the quality of the  work  already  performed  for  the  regional  NBN  campaign  and  relevant  experience.147  The  evaluative  research  provider  for  the  metropolitan  NBN  campaign was engaged following a select tender process. 

Campaign evaluation 4.22 DBCDE engaged a contractor to evaluate the effectiveness of the first  phase  of  the  metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign.  Following  benchmarking in late October 2012, and continuous t racking throughout the  campaign (November—early December 2012), the final evaluation report for  the first phase of the campaign was provided to DBCDE in January 2013. 

4.23 The evaluation measured respondents’ recall of advertisements from  the first phase of the campaign. Seven per cent of respondents recalled the  campaign  without  being  prompted.148  When  asked  if  they  recalled  any 

                                                       144 The approval also provided for any ‘surplus’ funds to be allocated to the media buy. Refer to paragraph 3.36 for further discussion of this issue. 145

Refer to paragraph 3.43 and footnotes 124 and 126 for discussion about conditional approvals. 146 DBCDE conducted eight rounds of concept testing for the metropolitan NBN campaign. The first five rounds of concept testing, with a total value of $400 000, were undertaken before the relevant order for service was issued by DBCDE on

11 October 2012. 147 DBCDE advised the ANAO that ‘given the performance of [the two contractors] in meeting the objectives and milestones associated with the regional advertising campaign, it was not considered prudent to go through another

procurement process but rather efficient and value for money to exercise the option to extend their contracts. Utilising the same service provider for both phases ensured that there was a good understanding of the project and this continuity ensured value for money for the Department, which was discussed but not documented’. 148 Respondents were asked about advertising that had been seen for any major government initiatives.

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advertising for the NBN, 47 per cent of respondents could recall having seen  advertising  for  the  NBN.  However,  responses  to  this  question  are  likely  to  have also been informed by an awareness of the communications activities of  NBN  Co  and  retail  service  providers.  After  being  provided  with  tailored  descriptions  of  metropolitan  NBN  campaign  advertisements  for  different  media,  33  per  cent  of  respondents  recalled  having  seen  campaign  advertisements  on  television,  17  per  cent  recalled  hearing  campaign  advertisements  on  the  radio,  and  nine  per  cent  recalled  seeing  a  campaign  advertisement in the print media. 

4.24 The evaluation report found that ‘overall, attitudes towards the NBN  have shown improvements or held steady, with no deteriorations during the  advertising period ...’. Figure 4.1 shows the results of the evaluation in relation  to  attitudes  towards  five  key  campaign  messages  (which  sought  to  clarify  misperceptions about the NBN). 

Figure 4.1

Attitudes towards key campaign messages

 

Source: ANAO from DBCDE, January 2013, 2012-13 NBN Advertising Campaign Evaluation. Final report.

4.25 In line with the campaign’s objectives, the evaluation also sought to  gauge respondents’ attitudes in relation to: their perceived understanding of  the NBN; their interest in knowing more about the NBN; excitement about the  NBN rollout; and the NBN’s personal relevance. Figure 4.2 shows that there 

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

The NBN will improve wi-fi in the home

The NBN will help Australians be more competitive in the global economy

The NBN will provide more choice and better value for money

The NBN will deliver high speed reliable broadband to all of Australia

The NBN is delivering fibre optic all the way to the home

Per cent agree /strongly agree

Benchmark (late Oct 12) Evaluation (10-16 Dec 12)

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advertising for the NBN, 47 per cent of respondents could recall having seen  advertising  for  the  NBN.  However,  responses  to  this  question  are  likely  to  have also been informed by an awareness of the communications activities of  NBN  Co  and  retail  service  providers.  After  being  provided  with  tailored  descriptions  of  metropolitan  NBN  campaign  advertisements  for  different  media,  33  per  cent  of  respondents  recalled  having  seen  campaign  advertisements  on  television,  17  per  cent  recalled  hearing  campaign  advertisements  on  the  radio,  and  nine  per  cent  recalled  seeing  a  campaign  advertisement in the print media. 

4.24 The evaluation report found that ‘overall, attitudes towards the NBN  have shown improvements or held steady, with no deteriorations during the  advertising period ...’. Figure 4.1 shows the results of the evaluation in relation  to  attitudes  towards  five  key  campaign  messages  (which  sought  to  clarify  misperceptions about the NBN). 

Figure 4.1

Attitudes towards key campaign messages

 

Source: ANAO from DBCDE, January 2013, 2012-13 NBN Advertising Campaign Evaluation. Final report.

4.25 In line with the campaign’s objectives, the evaluation also sought to  gauge respondents’ attitudes in relation to: their perceived understanding of  the NBN; their interest in knowing more about the NBN; excitement about the  NBN rollout; and the NBN’s personal relevance. Figure 4.2 shows that there 

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

The NBN will improve wi-fi in the home

The NBN will help Australians be more competitive in the global economy

The NBN will provide more choice and better value for money

The NBN will deliver high speed reliable broadband to all of Australia

The

NBN is delivering fibre optic all the way to the home

Per cent agree /strongly agree

Benchmark (late Oct 12) Evaluation (10-16 Dec 12)

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were  improvements  observed  against  two  statements,  while  the  other  two  statements saw declines.  

Figure 4.2

Attitudes towards statements about the NBN

 

Source: ANAO from DBCDE, January 2013, 2012-13 NBN Advertising Campaign Evaluation. Final report.

4.26 In  relation  to  the  campaign  objective  to  direct  people  to  further  information about the NBN, there was a significant increase in the number of  visits to the campaign website, including 450 000 site visits across seven weeks.  The number of visits to the website had been less than 10 000 a week in the two  weeks before the campaign commenced. The campaign website was also the  main  driver  of  traffic  to  the  NBN  Co  website  during  the  campaign  (the  campaign website included numerous links to NBN Co websites). 

Conclusion 4.27 DBCDE  was  tasked  with  delivering  an  NBN  advertising  campaign  focused on the metropolitan areas of Australia, where access to the network is  to be provided through optical fibre. The objectives of the campaign were to:  increase  understanding  about  the  NBN;  engage,  inform  and  educate  by  explaining facts, dispelling myths and showcasing the benefits of the NBN;  and direct people to further information about the NBN. DBCDE developed  the first phase of the campaign within 11 weeks, drawing on its experience in 

0 10 20 30 40 50

The NBN will be relevant to me

I am excited about the rollout of the NBN

I would like to know more about the NBN

I feel I know a lot about the NBN

Percent of respondents who agreed, or strongly agreed with statements about the NBN

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developing  the  regional  NBN  campaign.  The  campaign  ran  from  November 2012 to mid‐January 2013. 

4.28 DBCDE’s  administration  of  the  metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign  generally  met  the  requirements  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  For  this  campaign,  DBCDE  improved  its  administration  by:  providing  the  ICC  with  sufficient  and  relevant  evidence  to  verify  factual  statements  used  in  the  campaign;  and  assessing  and  refining  the  cost‐effectiveness of the proposed media buy. 

4.29 As part of its review of the campaign, the ICC identified the need for  additional  testing  of  print  materials,  as  the  materials  had  generally  tested  poorly.  Additional  testing  indicated  relative  improvement  in  the  advertisements,  but  did  not  make  it  clear  that  the  advertisements  were  engaging or expected to perform well against the objectives of the campaign  (which is encouraged under the Guidelines). Following the initial use of the  materials,  DBCDE  decided  to  discontinue  their  use,  as  they  were  underperforming relative to other media. In this respect, DBCDE’s monitoring  of  the  effectiveness  of  the  campaign  materials  enabled  it  to  redirect  some  expenditure  on  print  materials  to  a  better  performing  media  channel.  The  department’s experience demonstrates the value of creative concept testing as  a means of indicating whether creative materials are engaging and performing  well

 against campaign objectives. 

4.30 The evaluation report for the first phase of the metropolitan campaign  was  completed  in  January  2013.  After  being  provided  with  tailored  descriptions  of  metropolitan  NBN  campaign  advertisements  for  different  media,  33  per  cent  of  the  respondents  recalled  having  seen  campaign  advertisements  on  television,  17  per  cent  recalled  hearing  campaign  advertisements  on  the  radio,  and  nine  per  cent  recalled  seeing  a  campaign  advertisement in the print media. The evaluation also measured changes in  respondents’ attitudes towards key campaign messages, which had sought to  clarify misperceptions about the NBN. For example, respondents’ agreement to  the statement ‘the NBN is delivering fibre optic all the way to the home’ rose  from 39 per cent before the campaign, to 47 per cent in the final week of the  evaluation. In relation to the campaign objective to direct people to further  information about the NBN, both the campaign and NBN Co websites saw a  significant increase in site visits during the campaign. 

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developing  the  regional  NBN  campaign.  The  campaign  ran  from  November 2012 to mid‐January 2013. 

4.28 DBCDE’s  administration  of  the  metropolitan  NBN  advertising  campaign  generally  met  the  requirements  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework.  For  this  campaign,  DBCDE  improved  its  administration  by:  providing  the  ICC  with  sufficient  and  relevant  evidence  to  verify  factual  statements  used  in  the  campaign;  and  assessing  and  refining  the  cost‐effectiveness of the proposed media buy. 

4.29 As part of its review of the campaign, the ICC identified the need for  additional  testing  of  print  materials,  as  the  materials  had  generally  tested  poorly.  Additional  testing  indicated  relative  improvement  in  the  advertisements,  but  did  not  make  it  clear  that  the  advertisements  were  engaging or expected to perform well against the objectives of the campaign  (which is encouraged under the Guidelines). Following the initial use of the  materials,  DBCDE  decided  to  discontinue  their  use,  as  they  were  underperforming relative to other media. In this respect, DBCDE’s monitoring  of  the  effectiveness  of  the  campaign  materials  enabled  it  to  redirect  some  expenditure  on  print  materials  to  a  better  performing  media  channel.  The  department’s experience demonstrates the value of creative concept testing as  a means of indicating whether creative materials are engaging and performing  well

 against campaign objectives. 

4.30 The evaluation report for the first phase of the metropolitan campaign  was  completed  in  January  2013.  After  being  provided  with  tailored  descriptions  of  metropolitan  NBN  campaign  advertisements  for  different  media,  33  per  cent  of  the  respondents  recalled  having  seen  campaign  advertisements  on  television,  17  per  cent  recalled  hearing  campaign  advertisements  on  the  radio,  and  nine  per  cent  recalled  seeing  a  campaign  advertisement in the print media. The evaluation also measured changes in  respondents’ attitudes towards key campaign messages, which had sought to  clarify misperceptions about the NBN. For example, respondents’ agreement to  the statement ‘the NBN is delivering fibre optic all the way to the home’ rose  from 39 per cent before the campaign, to 47 per cent in the final week of the  evaluation. In relation to the campaign objective to direct people to further  information about the NBN, both the campaign and NBN Co websites saw a  significant increase in site visits during the campaign. 

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5. Commonwealth Funding of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaign

This chapter examines the advertising campaign relating to Commonwealth funding of  Victorian hospitals administered by the Department of Health and Ageing, including  the development of the campaign, and the campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines. 

Campaign overview

Commonwealth funding of healthcare

5.1 The public hospital system is managed by the states and territories, and  funded by these jurisdictions and the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth,  states  and  territories  have  entered  into  agreements  in  relation  to  Commonwealth  funding  of  healthcare  services  delivered  by  states  and  territories.  The  main  agreements  are  the  Intergovernmental  Agreement  on  Federal  Financial  Relations  (IGA)  and  the  National  Health  Reform  Agreement.149 Under these agreements, the Commonwealth pays the states and  territories for healthcare services in advance and in monthly instalments, based  on estimates of healthcare funding made in the Commonwealth Budget. After  30 June of the relevant year, the Commonwealth Treasurer determines the final  funding amount for the preceding year, with the difference between estimated  and  actual  outcomes  normally  accounted  for  as  part  of  the  first  available  payment following the Treasurer’s determination. 

5.2 The Commonwealth budget estimates and the final determination of  Commonwealth  healthcare  funding  are  calculated  using  a  growth  factor  outlined in the IGA. The growth factor has three components: a health specific  cost  index  (a  five  year  average  o f  the  Australian  Institute  of  Health  and  Welfare  health  price  index);  growth  in  population  estimates  weighted  for  hospital utilisation; and a technology factor (Productivity Commission derived  index of technology growth). 

5.3 The  Commonwealth  Treasurer  made  two  announcements  which  addressed healthcare funding in October 2012. These were the Federal Financial  Relations  (National  Specific  Purpose  Payments)  Determination  2011-12  and  the 

                                                       149 Under the National Health Reform arrangements, the National Healthcare Specific Purpose Payments were replaced by National Health Reform funding from 1 July 2012.

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Mid‐Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO). These announcements made  reference to a downward revision in the funding for healthcare from previous  estimates for 2011-12 and 2012-13, in accordance with changes in the growth  factor  for  healthcare  funding.  The  revision  in  funding  particularly  reflected  lower population estimates, weighted for hospital utilisation, and also lower  prices  for  medical  equipment  due  to  the  stronger  Australian  dollar.  The  revisions are shown in Table 5.1. For Victoria, the revision adjusted down the  total  of  Commonwealth  healthcare  funding  for  2011-12  and  2012-13  by  $107 million.150  Recognising  the  scale  of  the  revision,  the  Commonwealth  elected  to  spread  the  revision  over  the  remaining  2012-13  instalment  payments.151 

Table 5.1

Specific Purpose Payments—Healthcare

Specific purpose payments for healthcare Funding ($ million)

2011-12 Victoria Total1

2012-13 Budget (May 2012) 3099.4 12 697.8

2011-12 Determination (Oct 2012) 3059.7 12 548.1

Change in funding -39.7 -149.7

2012-13 Victoria Total1

2012-13 Budget (May 2012) 3322.5 13 518.2

2012-13 MYEFO (Oct 2012) 3255.4 13 264.4

Change in funding -67.1 -253.8

Total -106.8 -403.5

Note 1: Total for all states and territories.

Source: Australian Government, 2012-13 Budget Paper No 3, Australian Government, Federal Financial Relations (National Specific Purpose Payments) Determination 2011-12, available from [accessed 8 April 2013] and Commonwealth of Australia, Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement 2012-13.

5.4 The  revision  in  Commonwealth  healthcare  funding  for  2011-12  and  2012-13 occurred in the context of growth in overall Commonwealth funding  under  the  National  Health  Reform  Agreement.  Actual  and  projected  Commonwealth healthcare funding is shown in Figure 5.1. Between 2011-12 

                                                       150 For comparison, for 2010-11, the Treasurer’s determination increased funding to Victoria by approximately $0.6 million, while for 2011-12, the MYEFO revised the budget estimate downwards for Victoria by approximately $26.2 million. 151

The difference between estimated and actual outcomes is normally accounted for as part of the first available payment following the Treasurer’s determination.

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Mid‐Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO). These announcements made  reference to a downward revision in the funding for healthcare from previous  estimates for 2011-12 and 2012-13, in accordance with changes in the growth  factor  for  healthcare  funding.  The  revision  in  funding  particularly  reflected  lower population estimates, weighted for hospital utilisation, and also lower  prices  for  medical  equipment  due  to  the  stronger  Australian  dollar.  The  revisions are shown in Table 5.1. For Victoria, the revision adjusted down the  total  of  Commonwealth  healthcare  funding  for  2011-12  and  2012-13  by  $107 million.150  Recognising  the  scale  of  the  revision,  the  Commonwealth  elected  to  spread  the  revision  over  the  remaining  2012-13  instalment  payments.151 

Table 5.1

Specific Purpose Payments—Healthcare

Specific purpose payments for healthcare Funding ($ million)

2011-12 Victoria Total1

2012-13 Budget (May 2012) 3099.4 12 697.8

2011-12 Determination (Oct 2012) 3059.7 12 548.1

Change in funding -39.7 -149.7

2012-13 Victoria Total1

2012-13 Budget (May 2012) 3322.5 13 518.2

2012-13 MYEFO (Oct 2012) 3255.4 13 264.4

Change in funding -67.1 -253.8

Total -106.8 -403.5

Note 1: Total for all states and territories.

Source: Australian Government, 2012-13 Budget Paper No 3, Australian Government, Federal Financial Relations (National Specific Purpose Payments) Determination 2011-12, available from [accessed 8 April 2013] and Commonwealth of Australia, Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement 2012-13.

5.4 The  revision  in  Commonwealth  healthcare  funding  for  2011-12  and  2012-13 occurred in the context of growth in overall Commonwealth funding  under  the  National  Health  Reform  Agreement.  Actual  and  projected  Commonwealth healthcare funding is shown in Figure 5.1. Between 2011-12 

                                                       150 For comparison, for 2010-11, the Treasurer’s determination increased funding to Victoria by approximately $0.6 million, while for 2011-12, the MYEFO revised the budget estimate downwards for Victoria by approximately $26.2 million. 151

The difference between estimated and actual outcomes is normally accounted for as part of the first available payment following the Treasurer’s determination.

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and  2015-16,  Commonwealth  healthcare  funding  to  Victoria  is  currently  projected to increase by 38 per cent in dollar terms. 

Figure 5.1

Actual and projected Commonwealth healthcare funding, 2009-10 to 2015-16

 

Source: Australian Government, Federal Financial Relations (National Specific Purpose Payments) Determination 2009-10, Federal Financial Relations (National Specific Purpose Payments) Determination 2010-11, Australian Government, Federal Financial Relations (National Specific Purpose Payments) Determination 2011-12, and Commonwealth of Australia, 2012-13 Budget Paper No 3, and Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement 2012-13.

0.0

1.0

2.0

3.0

4.0

5.0

2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16

Expenditure ($ billion)

Financial Year

Actual payments

Forecast payments (Budget May 2012)

Forecast payments (MYEFO Oct 2012)

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5.5 Following the announcements, the Victorian Government informed its  Local Hospital Networks152 of the funding revision and asked each network to  develop  plans  to  manage  against  a  revised  budget.153  The  revision  and  its  consequences  for  healthcare  services  became  the  focus  of  an  active  public  debate  between  the  Commonwealth  and  Victorian  Health  Ministers,  and  generated  significant  media  coverage.154  The  revision  of  Commonwealth  healthcare  funding  occurred  against  the  backdrop  of  savings  measures  announced  by  the  Victorian  Government  in  its  2012-13  Budget.  Over  four  years,  Victorian  Government  savings  applicable  to  state  health  initiatives  totalled $616 million. 

5.6 The provisions of the National Health Reform Agreement identify that  the  states  and  territories  are  responsible  for  managing  the  public  hospital  system in their respective jurisdictions.155 In addition: 

States will determine the amount they pay for public hospital services and  functions  and  the  mix  of  those  services  and  functions,  and  will  meet  the  balance of the cost of delivering public hospital services and functions over  and above the Commonwealth contribution.156 

5.7 The  Commonwealth  position  was  essentially  that  the  Australian  Government had applied an agreed funding formula, and in consequence, the  downward  revision  in  funding  to  Victoria  was  not  a  decision  of  the   Government, whereas the cuts to Victorian public hospitals were the direct  result of the Victorian Government decision to not make up the $107 million  revision in Commonwealth funding through the use of Victorian own‐source  funds.157 In contrast, the Victorian Government position was that cuts to its  hospital  services  were  a  direct  consequence  of  the  downward  revision  in 

                                                       152 A local hospital network is an organisation that provides public hospital services in accordance with the National Health Reform Agreement. A local hospital network can contain one or more hospitals, and is usually defined as a business

group, geographical area or community. Every Australian public hospital is part of a local hospital network. In Victoria, there are 86 local hospital networks, which oversee 151 hospitals. 153 The Hon. David Davis MLC, Minister for Health, Victoria. Hansard, Finance and Public Administration References

Committee, Implementation of the National Health Reform Agreement, 21 February 2013,

p. 50.

154 Between October 2012 and February 2013, the Victorian Health Minister made nine media releases on the issue. Titles included ‘Canberra ripoff pulls $107 million from Victorian hospitals’, ‘Canberra Sleight of hand costly for Victoria’ and ‘Plea to Plibersek [the Commonwealth Health Minister] - stay long enough to see hospital impacts’. In response, the

Commonwealth Health Minister also released a number of media releases relating to the funding adjustment and State government responses, including one in November 2012, titled ‘Davis’ [the Victorian Health Minister] Three Card trick on Health Funding’. 155

Council of Australian Governments, National Health Reform Agreement, July 2011, clause 1(f)(i). 156 Ibid, paragraph A60. 157

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s letter to the former Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu, undated. Reference: C13/4247.

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5.5 Following the announcements, the Victorian Government informed its  Local Hospital Networks152 of the funding revision and asked each network to  develop  plans  to  manage  against  a  revised  budget.153  The  revision  and  its  consequences  for  healthcare  services  became  the  focus  of  an  active  public  debate  between  the  Commonwealth  and  Victorian  Health  Ministers,  and  generated  significant  media  coverage.154  The  revision  of  Commonwealth  healthcare  funding  occurred  against  the  backdrop  of  savings  measures  announced  by  the  Victorian  Government  in  its  2012-13  Budget.  Over  four  years,  Victorian  Government  savings  applicable  to  state  health  initiatives  totalled $616 million. 

5.6 The provisions of the National Health Reform Agreement identify that  the  states  and  territories  are  responsible  for  managing  the  public  hospital  system in their respective jurisdictions.155 In addition: 

States will determine the amount they pay for public hospital services and  functions  and  the  mix  of  those  services  and  functions,  and  will  meet  the  balance of the cost of delivering public hospital services and functions over  and above the Commonwealth contribution.156 

5.7 The  Commonwealth  position  was  essentially  that  the  Australian  Government had applied an agreed funding formula, and in consequence, the  downward  revision  in  funding  to  Victoria  was  not  a  decision  of  the   Government, whereas the cuts to Victorian public hospitals were the direct  result of the Victorian Government decision to not make up the $107 million  revision in Commonwealth funding through the use of Victorian own‐source  funds.157 In contrast, the Victorian Government position was that cuts to its  hospital  services  were  a  direct  consequence  of  the  downward  revision  in 

                                                       152 A local hospital network is an organisation that provides public hospital services in accordance with the National Health Reform Agreement. A local hospital network can contain one or more hospitals, and is usually defined as a business

group, geographical area or community. Every Australian public hospital is part of a local hospital network. In Victoria, there are 86 local hospital networks, which oversee 151 hospitals. 153 The Hon. David Davis MLC, Minister for Health, Victoria. Hansard, Finance and Public Administration References

Committee, Implementation of the National Health Reform Agreement, 21 February 2013,

p. 50.

154 Between October 2012 and February 2013, the Victorian Health Minister made nine media releases on the issue. Titles included ‘Canberra ripoff pulls $107 million from Victorian hospitals’, ‘Canberra Sleight of hand costly for Victoria’ and ‘Plea to Plibersek [the Commonwealth Health Minister] - stay long enough to see hospital impacts’. In response, the

Commonwealth Health Minister also released a number of media releases relating to the funding adjustment and State government responses, including one in November 2012, titled ‘Davis’ [the Victorian Health Minister] Three Card trick on Health Funding’. 155

Council of Australian Governments, National Health Reform Agreement, July 2011, clause 1(f)(i). 156 Ibid, paragraph A60. 157

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s letter to the former Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu, undated. Reference: C13/4247.

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Commonwealth funding, as ‘Victorian budget allocations are made relying in  part on the Commonwealth delivering on their budget commitments’.158 

5.8 In  the  course  of  the  audit,  DoHA  advised  that  the  Commonwealth  position had been informed by its interpretation of clause A60 of the National  Health  Reform  Agreement,  discussed  in  paragraph  5.6.  The  department  further advised that: 

At the time of finalising the advertisements (22 February), the department was  not  aware  of  any  state  or  territory  other  than  Victoria  that  had  publicly  renegotiated  service  agreements  to  reduce  services  provided  by  its  public  hospitals  as  a  result  of  the  MYEFO  funding  reduction.  Other  states  and  territories appeared to be acting in line with clause A60 of the NHRA, and this  view was supported by advice provided to the department by the National  Health  Funding  Body.  The  department  has  subsequently  been  informed  through the evidence provided to a Senate Committee at a Public Hearing on  21 February 2013 that the Queensland Minister for Health had indicated that  Hospital and Health Services (LHNs) in that state would be responsible for  proportionally absorbing the impact of the MYEFO adjustment.159 

5.9 On  21  February  2013,  the  Commonwealth  Minister  for  Health  announced that $ 107 million in discretionary funding was to be paid directly to  Victorian Local Hospital Networks. This amount of funding was equal to the  funding  revision  announced  for  Victoria  by  the  Commonwealth  in  October 2012. The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) was tasked with  developing a print advertising campaign to appear in Victorian newspapers  following the announcement of the $107 million in Commonwealth funding,  and  the  advertisement  first  appeared  on  23  February  2013.160  Table  5.2  summarises  the  key  elements  of  the  advertising  campaign,  including  its  objectives, timing, target audiences and budget. The advertisement is shown in  Figure 5.2 and Appendix 3. 

                                                       158 The Hon. David Davis MLC, Minister for Health, Victoria. Hansard, Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Implementation of the National Health Reform Agreement, 21 February 2013,

p. 43.

159 DoHA advice to the ANAO, 21 May 2013. 160 The advertisement ran in both The Age and The Herald Sun on 23 and 24 February 2013. On 2 and 3 March 2013, the

advertisement was again placed in The Age and The Herald Sun, and was also placed in two Victorian regional newspapers.

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Table 5.2

Summary of the advertising campaign on Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals

Summary

Aim To raise awareness of the changes [the $107 million funding to

Victorian Local Hospital Networks announced] by the Australian Government [on 21 February 2013], explaining what it means at a state level and also clearly informing residents of Victoria about the changes in their region and how to access important healthcare services and/or benefits that they are entitled to.

Timing 23 February to 3 March 2013.

Target audiences People living in Victoria including people living in areas where health services may have been limited or reduced in recent months [prior to the announcement of Commonwealth funding on 21 February 2013].

Total campaign spend $170 374 (incl. GST).

Media spend $170 374 (incl. GST).

Source: DoHA documentation.

5.10 As  noted  in  the  table  above,  the  total  cost  of  the  campaign  was  $170 374.  For  advertising  campaigns  valued  at  less  than  $250 000,  the  certification, publication and reporting requirements of the Guidelines do not  apply.  However,  agency  chief  executives  have  the  discretion  to  seek  consideration of these campaigns by the ICC.161 In this instance, DoHA did not  seek the ICC’s advice on the campaign. All other aspects of the Guidelines,  including the five campaign principles, applied to the campaign.162 

5.11 To assess the effectiveness of DoHA’s administration of the campaign  against the requirements of the campaign advertising framework, the ANAO  examined: 

 the campaign’s development, including approval processes; and 

                                                       161 Paragraph 6 of the Guidelines provides that: ‘The Independent Communications Committee considers campaigns and provides advice to Chief Executives on all advertising campaigns valued at more than $250,000 or where requested to

do so by the Chief Executive’. 162 Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide states that campaigns valued at less than $250 000 must comply with the intent of the Guidelines. There is scope for Finance to clarify the extent to which agencies should exercise discretion in

complying with all sub-paragraphs of the five Principles of the Guidelines in a campaign of limited scope and scale. For example, the Guidelines indicate that ‘campaign materials should be tested with target audiences…’ and that ‘imagery used in campaign materials should reflect the diverse range of Australians’. For small, low value campaigns, it may not be practicable or economical to apply all sub-paragraphs of the five Principles. The ANAO recommended, in its previous report on government campaign advertising, that Finance provide written guidance to agencies clarifying the mandatory elements of the Guidelines, and this issue could be considered in that context. See ANAO Audit report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, p. 67.

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Table 5.2

Summary of the advertising campaign on Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals

Summary

Aim To raise awareness of the changes [the $107 million funding to

Victorian Local Hospital Networks announced] by the Australian Government [on 21 February 2013], explaining what it means at a state level and also clearly informing residents of Victoria about the changes in their region and how to access important healthcare services and/or benefits that they are entitled to.

Timing 23 February to 3 March 2013.

Target audiences People living in Victoria including people living in areas where health services may have been limited or reduced in recent months [prior to the announcement of Commonwealth funding on 21 February 2013].

Total campaign spend $170 374 (incl. GST).

Media spend $170 374 (incl. GST).

Source: DoHA documentation.

5.10 As  noted  in  the  table  above,  the  total  cost  of  the  campaign  was  $170 374.  For  advertising  campaigns  valued  at  less  than  $250 000,  the  certification, publication and reporting requirements of the Guidelines do not  apply.  However,  agency  chief  executives  have  the  discretion  to  seek  consideration of these campaigns by the ICC.161 In this instance, DoHA did not  seek the ICC’s advice on the campaign. All other aspects of the Guidelines,  including the five campaign principles, applied to the campaign.162 

5.11 To assess the effectiveness of DoHA’s administration of the campaign  against the requirements of the campaign advertising framework, the ANAO  examined: 

 the campaign’s development, including approval processes; and 

                                                       161 Paragraph 6 of the Guidelines provides that: ‘The Independent Communications Committee considers campaigns and provides advice to Chief Executives on all advertising campaigns valued at more than $250,000 or where requested to

do so by the Chief Executive’. 162 Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide states that campaigns valued at less than $250 000 must comply with the intent of

the Guidelines. There is scope for Finance to clarify the extent to which agencies should exercise discretion in complying with all sub-paragraphs of the five Principles of the Guidelines in a campaign of limited scope and scale. For example, the Guidelines indicate that ‘campaign materials should be tested with target audiences…’ and that ‘imagery used in campaign materials should reflect the diverse range of Australians’. For small, low value campaigns, it may not be practicable or economical to apply all sub-paragraphs of the five Principles. The ANAO recommended, in its previous report on government campaign advertising, that Finance provide written guidance to agencies clarifying the mandatory elements of the Guidelines, and this issue could be considered in that context. See ANAO Audit report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, p. 67.

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 the campaign’s compliance with the five information and advertising  campaign principles. 

Campaign development and approval 5.12 The  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  was  developed  in  an  extremely  short  timeframe.  On  Tuesday  19 February 2013, the Health Minister’s office requested that DoHA develop an  advertising campaign to run on the weekend after the funding announcement  on 21 February 2013. In order to meet this deadline, media had to be booked by  10am Thursday 21 February, and creative materials were to be finalised by  midday  Friday  22  February,  for  inclusion  in  newspapers  the  following  day  (23 February). 

5.13 DoHA prepared a draft communications strategy which outlined the  campaign’s  aim,  timing,  target  audiences,  key  messages,  and  an  indicative  budget. DoHA also prepared an initial draft of the advertisement. The draft  advertisement  contained  significantly  more  text  (241  words,  not  including  authorisations) than the final version (52 words, not including authorisations),  including  contextual  information  about  the  National  Health  Reform  Agreement  and  the  funding  to  be  provided  to  Victorian  Local  Hospital  Networks. 

5.14 On Wednesday 20 February 2013, DoHA sought funding approval for  the  campaign  from  the  Minister.  Specifically,  DoHA  sought  approval  for  expenditure of up to $240 000 on ‘communication and advertising activities to  inform  the

  public  of  additional  Government  funding  for  the  Victorian  healthcare system’.163 In seeking the Minister’s approval of funding, DoHA did  not advise the Minister that she would be undertaking a financial task under  the Australian Government’s financial management framework, by providing  approval of a spending proposal; in this case the commitment by DoHA of up  to $240 000 for the campaign.164 A better approach would have indicated that 

                                                       163 The Minute seeking the Minister’s funding approval did not indicate whether the funding of up to $240 000 was GST inclusive or exclusive. DoHA subsequently advised the ANAO that the $240 000 was GST exclusive. However, this

amount equates to $264 000 (GST inclusive), which exceeds the $250 000 threshold, above which the certification, publication and reporting requirements of the Guidelines would have applied to the campaign. DoHA did not alert the Minister to this potential situation. In the event, as discussed in 5.10, the total campaign cost was $170 374 (GST inclusive). 164

Under FMA Regulation 9, an approver must not approve a spending proposal unless the approver is satisfied, after making reasonable inquiries, that giving effect to the spending proposal would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources. Proper use is defined as ‘efficient, effective, economical and ethical use that is not inconsistent with the policies of the Commonwealth’. FMA Regulation 3 provides that an approver may be a Minister.

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the  Minister  had  authority  under  the  financial  framework  to  approve  the  expenditure.  DoHA  could  also  have  provided  the  Minister  with  sufficient  information to make reasonable inquiries that giving effect to the spending  proposal would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources, including its  intended approach to ensure the campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines.  Ministerial approval was provided on Thursday 21 February 2013. 

5.15 At the same time DoHA sought funding approval from the Minister,  the department also provided its initial draft advertisement to the Minister’s  office. DoHA referred to the Guidelines in a covering email to a member of the  Minister’s office, in which a copy of the brief seeking financial approval to  conduct the campaign was included. DoHA specifically noted: ‘It is important  that  the  advertising  content  remains  consistent  with  the  principle  of  the  Australian Government Advertising Campaign Guidelines (ie. strictly factual,  etc)’. The Minister’s office provided DoHA with a re‐drafted version of the  advertisement  on  Thursday  21  February  2013,  which  reduced  the  overall  amount  of  information  presented.  This  draft  of  the  advertisement  was  subsequently further edited by DoHA on 21 and 22 February in response to a  number of comments from staff in the Health Minister’s  office and the Prime  Minister’s  office.  These  edits  further  reduced  the  amount  of  information  provided in the advertisement. 

5.16 On  Friday  22 February  2013,  approximately  an  hour  before  the  deadline for finalisation of creative materials, DoHA sought and obtained the  agreement  of  a  member  of  the  Health  Minister’s  office  to  the  final  advertisement,  subject  to  final  confirmation  of  agreement  by  the  Prime  Minister’s  office.  Half  an  hour  before  the  deadline,  a  member  of  the Prime  Minister’s office provided their agreement to the information and image in the  advertisement. 

5.17 On  22 February 2013,  almost  two  hours  after  submitting  the  final  creative  materials  to  the  MMA,  DoHA  sought  the  Health  Minister’s  final  approval of the advertisement. This second brief to the Minister noted that the  Prime Minister’s office had been consulted, and had approved the attached  advertisement.  The  brief  also  indicated  that  the  Minister’s  approval  was  sought urgently (the same day) ‘to allow for advertisements to be submitted to  the [MMA] for dispatch to booked media’. As was the case with the first brief  to  the  Minister,  the  second  brief  also  made  no  reference  to  the  Australian  Government’s campaign advertising Guidelines. Consequently, DoHA made  no representations to the Minister about the  campaign’s compliance with the  Guidelines  in  either  of  its  briefings.  After  not  receiving  a  response  on  the 

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the  Minister  had  authority  under  the  financial  framework  to  approve  the  expenditure.  DoHA  could  also  have  provided  the  Minister  with  sufficient  information to make reasonable inquiries that giving effect to the spending  proposal would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources, including its  intended approach to ensure the campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines.  Ministerial approval was provided on Thursday 21 February 2013. 

5.15 At the same time DoHA sought funding approval from the Minister,  the department also provided its initial draft advertisement to the Minister’s  office. DoHA referred to the Guidelines in a covering email to a member of the  Minister’s office, in which a copy of the brief seeking financial approval to  conduct the campaign was included. DoHA specifically noted: ‘It is important  that  the  advertising  content  remains  consistent  with  the  principle  of  the  Australian Government Advertising Campaign Guidelines (ie. strictly factual,  etc)’. The Minister’s office provided DoHA with a re‐drafted version of the  advertisement  on  Thursday  21  February  2013,  which  reduced  the  overall  amount  of  information  presented.  This  draft  of  the  advertisement  was  subsequently further edited by DoHA on 21 and 22 February in response to a  number of comments from staff in the Health Minister’s  office and the Prime  Minister’s  office.  These  edits  further  reduced  the  amount  of  information  provided in the advertisement. 

5.16 On  Friday  22 February  2013,  approximately  an  hour  before  the  deadline for finalisation of creative materials, DoHA sought and obtained the  agreement  of  a  member  of  the  Health  Minister’s  office  to  the  final 

advertisement,  subject  to  final  confirmation  of  agreement  by  the  Prime  Minister’s  office.  Half  an  hour  before  the  deadline,  a  member  of  the Prime  Minister’s office provided their agreement to the information and image in the  advertisement. 

5.17 On  22 February 2013,  almost  two  hours  after  submitting  the  final  creative  materials  to  the  MMA,  DoHA  sought  the  Health  Minister’s  final  approval of the advertisement. This second brief to the Minister noted that the  Prime Minister’s office had been consulted, and had approved the attached  advertisement.  The  brief  also  indicated  that  the  Minister’s  approval  was  sought urgently (the same day) ‘to allow for advertisements to be submitted to  the [MMA] for dispatch to booked media’. As was the case with the first brief  to  the  Minister,  the  second  brief  also  made  no  reference  to  the  Australian  Government’s campaign advertising Guidelines. Consequently, DoHA made  no representations to the Minister about the  campaign’s compliance with the  Guidelines  in  either  of  its  briefings.  After  not  receiving  a  response  on  the 

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second  brief,  DoHA  followed‐up  via  email  with  a  staff  member  of  the  Minister’s office on Tuesday 26 February. DoHA was advised via email that a  response might take a few more days, or be provided early in the following  week. 

5.18 The  second  brief  was  returned  to  DoHA  on  1 March 2013,  after  the  advertisements  had  commenced  (on  23  February  2013)  marked  ‘NFA’  (no  further  action).  While  the  Ministerial  briefing  made  provision  for  ‘APPROVED/NOT  APPROVED’  in  respect  of  proceeding165,  there  was  no  indication on the brief whether Ministerial approval had been given. As noted  above, DoHA had previously corresponded with the Health Minister’s office  and the Prime Minister’s office, and relevant office staff had indicated their  agreement  to  the  advertisement.  DoHA  advised  the  ANAO  that  it  was  the  department’s ‘clear understanding that the Ministerʹs office was providing the  Ministerʹs  approval  to  us’.166  However,  in  the  absence  of  a  documented  Ministerial  approval,  it  was  not  evident  that  the  Minister  had  sighted  or  approved the second brief to proceed with the campaign. 

5.19 Ministers  are  responsible  for  authorising  campaign  development  in  their portfolios and for authorising the launch of a campaign; and agencies  remain  responsible  f or  campaigns,  including  compliance  with  the  Guidelines.167  However,  there  was  no  documented  approval  of  the  advertisement by the Health Minister, the DoHA Secretary or a responsible  departmental delegate. In addition, DoHA made no direct representations to  the Minister about the campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines in relevant  briefings.168 Staff in the offices of the Health Minister and Prime Minister were  significantly  involved  in  the  campaign’s  development,  including  actively 

                                                       165 The recommendation was: ‘That you APPROVE the advertisements attached to this Minute.’ 166

DoHA further advised that it had: ‘numerous discussions with multiple staff in the Minister's office relating to approval of the advertisement and signing of the second Minute prepared to document that approval. It was clear that the Minister's office staff, some of whom were with the Minister, were showing the Minister the advertisement to obtain her approval’. DoHA advice to ANAO, 2 May 2013. 167

Finance, Campaign Planning Guide, p. 30. Paragraphs 97 and 98 state that: ‘Ministers are responsible for authorising campaign development in their portfolios and for authorising the launch of the campaign. While ministers do not have responsibility for campaign development, they have a legitimate interest in campaigns in their portfolios. For this reason, it is customary to brief your minister at various stages of campaign development. It is important that ministers are aware that Chief Executives are ultimately responsible for campaigns conducted by their agency.’ 168

The relevant DoHA officer advised the ANAO that: ‘In addition to face to face discussions with staff from the Minister's office, where I discussed the requirements of the Advertising Guidelines, I also discussed the Guidelines over the phone, and clearly in the email providing the Minute seeking expenditure approval’.

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contributing to drafting and editing the advertisement.169 This process led to  the removal of contextual information from the advertisement, and clouded  responsibility for the campaign’s development, even though this responsibility  remained with the department.170 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines 5.20 While the campaign was not subject to the certification, publication and  reporting requirements of the Guidelines as it was valued at less than $250 000;  all  other  aspects  of  the  Guidelines  applied,  including  the  five  campaign  principles.171 

Compliance with the five information and advertising campaign principles

Principle 1

5.21 Principle 1 of the Guidelines states that campaigns should be relevant  to  government  responsibilities.  Principle  1  further  provides  that  the  subject  matter  of  campaigns  should  be  directly  related  to  the  Government’s  responsibilities. 

ANAO assessment: Compliant

5.22 While  the  delivery  of  hospital  services  is  a  state  and  territory  government  responsibility,  a  substantial  proportion  of  funding  for  public  hospitals is provided by the Australian Government. On 26 March 2013, the  Minister for Finance and Deregulation approved funding of $107 million for  payment to Victorian Local Hospital Networks by making the Advance to the  Finance  Minister  Determination  (No.  2  of  2012-13).  One  objective  of  DoHA’s 

                                                       169 The Australian Public Service Commission’s (APSC) Code of Conduct for Ministerial Staff includes provisions covering the working relationships between ministerial staff and APS employees ‘recognising the distinct role of ministerial staff

in providing advice and assistance to ministers but making it clear that they do not have the power to direct APS employees in their own right and that executive decisions are the preserve of ministers and public servants’. APSC, 2008, Circular 2008/7: Code of Conduct for Ministerial Staff, paragraph 5. 170 ‘Historically, one of the most challenging areas in relation to advertising campaigns has been achieving clarity in the roles of Ministers and their offices on the one hand, and agencies on the other. The involvement of Ministers and their offices under former arrangements in making key decisions in approving strategies and briefs, in selecting certain consultants, and in the approval of final creative material and media plans meant that the basis for decisions and the accountability for decisions were not always clear. In announcing the new Guidelines, the Minister for Finance and Deregulation and the Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State noted that ‘Ministers will be briefed on the progress of campaign development, but responsibility for that development will be wholly undertaken by the commissioning department…’.’ Source ANAO Audit Report No.2, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review 2008-09, p. 9. 171 In introducing the 2008 Guidelines, the then Special Minister of State noted that: ‘The guidelines and certification process will ensure Government advertising and information campaigns provide objective, factual and explanatory information, free from partisan promotion of government policy and political argument.’ Source: Senator the Hon John Faulkner and the Hon Lindsay Tanner MP, Joint Media Release, New Advertising Guidelines, 2 July 2008, p. 1.

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contributing to drafting and editing the advertisement.169 This process led to  the removal of contextual information from the advertisement, and clouded  responsibility for the campaign’s development, even though this responsibility  remained with the department.170 

Compliance with the 2010 Guidelines 5.20 While the campaign was not subject to the certification, publication and  reporting requirements of the Guidelines as it was valued at less than $250 000;  all  other  aspects  of  the  Guidelines  applied,  including  the  five  campaign  principles.171 

Compliance with the five information and advertising campaign principles

Principle 1

5.21 Principle 1 of the Guidelines states that campaigns should be relevant  to  government  responsibilities.  Principle  1  further  provides  that  the  subject  matter  of  campaigns  should  be  directly  related  to  the  Government’s  responsibilities. 

ANAO assessment: Compliant

5.22 While  the  delivery  of  hospital  services  is  a  state  and  territory  government  responsibility,  a  substantial  proportion  of  funding  for  public  hospitals is provided by the Australian Government. On 26 March 2013, the  Minister for Finance and Deregulation approved funding of $107 million for  payment to Victorian Local Hospital Networks by making the Advance to the  Finance  Minister  Determination  (No.  2  of  2012-13).  One  objective  of  DoHA’s 

                                                       169 The Australian Public Service Commission’s (APSC) Code of Conduct for Ministerial Staff includes provisions covering the working relationships between ministerial staff and APS employees ‘recognising the distinct role of ministerial staff

in providing advice and assistance to ministers but making it clear that they do not have the power to direct APS employees in their own right and that executive decisions are the preserve of ministers and public servants’. APSC, 2008, Circular 2008/7: Code of Conduct for Ministerial Staff, paragraph 5. 170 ‘Historically, one of the most challenging areas in relation to advertising campaigns has been achieving clarity in the roles of Ministers and their offices on the one hand, and agencies on the other. The involvement of Ministers and their offices under former arrangements in making key decisions in approving strategies and briefs, in selecting certain consultants, and in the approval of final creative material and media plans meant that the basis for decisions and the accountability for decisions were not always clear. In announcing the new Guidelines, the Minister for Finance and Deregulation and the Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State noted that ‘Ministers will be briefed on the progress of campaign development, but responsibility for that development will be wholly undertaken by the commissioning department…’.’ Source ANAO Audit Report No.2, 2009-10, Campaign Advertising Review 2008-09, p. 9. 171 In introducing the 2008 Guidelines, the then Special Minister of State noted that: ‘The guidelines and certification process will ensure Government advertising and information campaigns provide objective, factual and explanatory informa

tion, free from partisan promotion of government policy and political argument.’ Source: Senator the Hon John Faulkner and the Hon Lindsay Tanner MP, Joint Media Release, New Advertising Guidelines, 2 July 2008, p. 1.

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advertising  campaign  was  to  inform  the  public  of  the  provision  of  this  Australian Government funding to Local Hospital Networks in Victoria. 

Principle 2

5.23 Principle 2 of the Guidelines states that campaign materials should be  presented in an objective, fair and accessible manner and be designed to meet  the objectives of the campaign. Principle 2 provides that campaign materials  should enable the recipients of the information to distinguish between facts,  comment, opinion and analysis (paragraph 20). In addition, where information  is  presented  as  a  fact  in  a  campaign,  it  should  be  accurate  and  verifiable  (paragraph 21). 

ANAO assessment: Not compliant

5.24 The advertisement consisted of four statements which were presented  as factual in nature. DoHA did not prepare a verification matrix (or similar) to  cross‐reference  the  campaign  statements  with  supporting  evidence  and  document its analysis, as occurs for many advertising campaigns. In reviewing  the accuracy of the statements, the ANAO considered information provided by  DoHA  and  relevant  publicly  available  information.  Figure  5.2  shows  the  advertisement. 

Figure 5.2

Commonwealth funding to Victorian hospitals advertisement

 

Source: DoHA.

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5.25 The  ANAO  identified  that  one  of  the  four  statements  in  the  advertisement was not presented in an objective manner: ‘This [Injecting $107  million  into  Victorian  hospitals]  will  reverse  cuts  made  by  the  Victorian  Government’.  The  statement  was  not  objective  in  that  it  attributed  full  responsibility  for  the  consequences  of  the  $107 million  downward  funding  revision to the Victorian Government, when: the exact amount of funding to be  provided  to  Victorian  Local  Hospital  Networks  was  equal  to  the  original  Commonwealth funding revision; and the original revision was a consequence  of the application of the funding formula agreed to by both the Australian and  Victorian governments. The advertisement highlighted only one perspective— that  the  Victorian  Government  was  responsible  for  the  reduction  in  public  hospital funding because it decided to pass on the revision in Commonwealth  funding to Local Hospital Networks, rather than maintain the previous level of  funding by replacing the $107 million through the use of own‐source funds.172 

5.26 The  ANAO  also  identified  a  statement  in  the  advertisement  that  contained a technical factual inaccuracy. The statement was: ‘Paid direct to your  local  hospital’.  DoHA  advised  the  Prime  Minister’s  office  by  email  on  21 February 2013  that it considered the statement to be ‘factually incorrect’.  DoHA had suggested the inclusion of the word ‘network’ at the end of the  statement, as the $107 million in funding referred to in the advertisement was  to  be  provided  to  Victorian  Local  Hospital  Networks,  which  were  to  be  responsible for distributing the funding to hospitals. Despite DoHA’s advice,  the Prime Minister’s office decided to leave the line unchanged as ‘paid direct  to  your  local  hospital’.  At  the  time  of  the  advertisements,  DoHA  had  not  finalised  arrangements  to  provide  the  funding  to  the  Local  Hospital  Networks.173 

5.27 While  not  documented  at  the  time,  DoHA  advised  the  ANAO  that  following internal consultation it had come to the view that dropping the word  ‘networks’ from the statement was appropriate and factual. DoHA’s basis for  this conclusion was that: ‘the majority of Local Hospital Networks in Victoria  are individual hospitals’; ‘public awareness of hospital networks is low’; and  ‘money for hospital networks is money for hospitals’.174 In Victoria, there are 

                                                       172 This perspective was presented in the context of an overall increase in Australian Government funding to Victoria (over the life of the relevant intergovernmental agreement). 173

Hansard, Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Implementation of the National Health Reform Agreement, 21 February 2013. p. 66. 174 DoHA advice to ANAO, 3 May 2013.

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5.25 The  ANAO  identified  that  one  of  the  four  statements  in  the  advertisement was not presented in an objective manner: ‘This [Injecting $107  million  into  Victorian  hospitals]  will  reverse  cuts  made  by  the  Victorian  Government’.  The  statement  was  not  objective  in  that  it  attributed  full  responsibility  for  the  consequences  of  the  $107 million  downward  funding  revision to the Victorian Government, when: the exact amount of funding to be  provided  to  Victorian  Local  Hospital  Networks  was  equal  to  the  original  Commonwealth funding revision; and the original revision was a consequence  of the application of the funding formula agreed to by both the Australian and  Victorian governments. The advertisement highlighted only one perspective— that  the  Victorian  Government  was  responsible  for  the  reduction  in  public  hospital funding because it decided to pass on the revision in Commonwealth  funding to Local Hospital Networks, rather than maintain the previous level of  funding by replacing the $107 million through the use of own‐source funds.172 

5.26 The  ANAO  also  identified  a  statement  in  the  advertisement  that  contained a technical factual inaccuracy. The statement was: ‘Paid direct to your  local  hospital’.  DoHA  advised  the  Prime  Minister’s  office  by  email  on  21 February 2013  that it considered the statement to be ‘factually incorrect’.  DoHA had suggested the inclusion of the word ‘network’ at the end of the  statement, as the $107 million in funding referred to in the advertisement was  to  be  provided  to  Victorian  Local  Hospital  Networks,  which  were  to  be  responsible for distributing the funding to hospitals. Despite DoHA’s advice,  the Prime Minister’s office decided to leave the line unchanged as ‘paid direct  to  your  local  hospital’.  At  the  time  of  the  advertisements,  DoHA  had  not  finalised  arrangements  to  provide  the  funding  to  the  Local  Hospital  Networks.173 

5.27 While  not  documented  at  the  time,  DoHA  advised  the  ANAO  that  following internal consultation it had come to the view that dropping the word  ‘networks’ from the statement was appropriate and factual. DoHA’s basis for  this conclusion was that: ‘the majority of Local Hospital Networks in Victoria  are individual hospitals’; ‘public awareness of hospital networks is low’; and  ‘money for hospital networks is money for hospitals’.174 In Victoria, there are 

                                                       172 This perspective was presented in the context of an overall increase in Australian Government funding to Victoria (over the life of the relevant intergovernmental agreement). 173

Hansard, Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Implementation of the National Health Reform Agreement, 21 February 2013. p. 66. 174 DoHA advice to ANAO, 3 May 2013.

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86 Local Hospital Networks, which oversee 151 hospitals. Of the 86 networks,  56 oversee a single hospital, and 30 oversee multiple hospitals. 

Principle 3

5.28 Principle 3 of the Guidelines states that campaign materials should be  objective  and  not  directed  at  promoting  party  political  interests.  The  main  thrust of Principle 3 is that campaign materials not be directed at promoting  party political interests. For example, paragraph 28 of Principle 3 requires that  campaign materials not mention the party in government by name or include  party  political  slogans  or  images.  Paragraph 28(b)  also  provides  that:  ‘campaign materials must not directly attack or scorn the views, policies or  actions  of  others  such  as  the  policies  and  opinions  of  opposition  parties  or  groups’. 

ANAO assessment: Compliant

5.29 The  advertisement  appeared  in  the  context  of  an  active  and  public  debate between the Australian and Victorian governments over the healthcare  funding revision announced in the MYEFO, and the Victorian Government’s  management of that revision. Between December 2012 and February 2013, the  revision  was  the  source  of  numerous  media  articles,  media  releases  and  correspondence  from  both  Australian  Government  and  Victorian  Ministers,  often  cast  in  strong  terms.175  The  media  and  the  Victorian  Health  Minister  generally linked healthcare service cuts, s uch as bed closures and cancelled  elective surgeries, to the revision in Commonwealth healthcare funding, while  the  Commonwealth  focused  on  Victorian  Government  budget  decisions  to  reduce expenditure and on the Victorian government decision not to replace  the  revision  in  Commonwealth  funding  by  providing  additional  Victorian  own‐source funding to its public hospitals. Table 5.3 shows that the Australian  and  Victorian  governments  had  different  perspectives  in  relation  to  the  original  Commonwealth  funding  revision  and  the  Australian  Government’s  subsequent  provision  of  an  equal  amount  of  funding  to  Victorian  Local  Hospital Networks. 

                                                       175 See for example: The Herald Sun, Elective surgery waiting lists to blow out after $107 million cut to Federal Government funding, 5 November 2012, and The Age, Health cuts cost jobs, close beds, 8 January 2013. See also

Table 5.3 and footnote 154.

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5.30 The  advertisement  contained  no  overt  promotion  of  party  political  interests,  and  was  therefore  compliant  with  the  main  thrust  of  Principle  3.  Nevertheless,  there  are  likely  to  be  a  range  of  views  about  the  campaign’s  compliance  with  the  spirit  of  Principle  3,  as  the  advertisement  may  be  interpreted as directly attacking or scorning the policies or actions of ‘others’— in this case, aspects of the Victorian Government approach. 

5.31 The Guidelines have been framed in an Australian Government context  and  do  not  explicitly  address  campaign  statements  which  refer  to  other  governments. This is an area of the Guidelines that would benefit from further  review in light of this campaign. 

Principle 4

5.32 Principle 4 of the Guidelines states that campaigns should be justified  and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner. In particular,  campaigns  should  only  be  instigated  where  a  need  is  demonstrated  and  campaign  information  should  clearly  and  directly  affect  the  interests  of  recipients. The medium and volume of advertising activities should also be  cost effective and justifiable within the budget allocated to the campaign. 

ANAO assessment: Compliant

5.33 DoHA  advised  the  ANAO  that  it  became  aware  of  confusion  in  Victoria about the availability of funding for healthcare services based o n its  monitoring  of  media  coverage  between  October  2012  and  February  2013.  Against  this  backdrop,  the  office  of  the  Health  Minister  requested  on  19 February 2013 that an advertising campaign be developed. 

5.34 The advertising campaign sought to inform the Victorian public of the  provision of Australian Government funding, and also to reassure Victorians  that health services were to be maintained: 

In  particular,  the  proposed  communication  program  aims  to  ensure  that  residents of Victoria do not delay or miss out on accessing healthcare when  they  need  it  due  to  confusion  about  the  availability  of  funding  for  critical  health services and facilities, such as elective surgery and hospital beds. 

There is a need for responsive, clear communication with a broad reach and  the ability to cut through the clutter (and confusion) that has been generated in  the  media  regarding  the  status  and  availability  of  quality  health  care  in  Victoria. ... 

Aim:  To  raise  awareness  of  the  changes  introduced  by  the  Australian  Government,  explaining  what  it  means  at  a  state  level  and  also  clearly 

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Table 5.3

Perspectives of the Australian and Victorian governments

Australian Government Victorian Government

‘... in recent months you have embarked on a disingenuous and purely political campaign in relation to a $107 million adjustment of health funding from the Federal Government. Your campaign has been designed to detract from the decisions you and your Government have made.’ Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s letter to the former Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu.

‘The ripoff includes $40 million which has been long spent by our hospitals from the 2011/12 year, and a further $67 million from hospital budgets which have already been set and signed off on for the current year— which are already almost half gone.’ Victorian Health Minister, David Davis, Media release, Canberra ripoff pulls $107 million from Victorian hospitals, 1 November 2012.

‘The adjustment is based on ABS revised population figures and lower than anticipated increases in health costs as a result of the high Australian dollar.’ Australian Government Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, Media release, Davis’ three card trick on health funding, 9 November 2012.

‘The Federal Government plans to rip more than $100 million out of Victoria's public hospitals this year to prop up its own budget with a scam based on dodgy population figures.’ David Davis, (as above).

‘The Gillard Government has today announced a $107 million rescue package for Victorian hospitals, following Premier Ted Baillieu’s failure to properly manage the state’s health system. The cash injection will be paid directly to Local Hospital Networks, which will distribute the money to ailing Victorian hospitals ... The rescue package will not pass through the hands of the Baillieu government which has proven itself to be a cruel and incompetent manager of the Victorian health system.’ Tanya Plibersek, Media Release, Victorian hospital rescue package helps patients, 21 February 2013.

‘Victorian public hospitals have already felt the pinch with the number of people on the waiting list increasing. There has also been an increase in patients visiting emergency departments, and there have been more patients admitted to hospitals. ... despite the Canberra funding cuts, Victoria's hospitals are treating more patients than ever before and in many cases performance has been maintained or improved. This demonstrates improved efficiency, clinical and operating practices, and resilience by our hospitals.’ David Davis, Media release, Federal funding cuts hit Victorian hospital performance, 16 October 2012.

‘So if we see any other premier playing this kind of politics the way that Premier Baillieu has, then there is a very clear message to those premiers. We will go round you, we will deal direct with hospitals and local hospital networks and we will rearrange your budget for you. … We will rearrange state budgets by cutting them back in other areas.’ Julia Gillard, Transcript of doorstop interview, Adelaide, 21 February 2013.

‘All they've done overnight is to restore $107 million to Victorian hospitals, and then turn around and say Victorians are going to pay for that by taking that out of budget money in Victoria.’ Ted Baillieu, AAP, We’ll rearrange health budgets, Prime Minister warns states, 21 February 2013.

Source: ANAO, from various public statements.

 

Commonwealth Funding of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaign

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5.30 The  advertisement  contained  no  overt  promotion  of  party  political  interests,  and  was  therefore  compliant  with  the  main  thrust  of  Principle  3.  Nevertheless,  there  are  likely  to  be  a  range  of  views  about  the  campaign’s  compliance  with  the  spirit  of  Principle  3,  as  the  advertisement  may  be  interpreted as directly attacking or scorning the policies or actions of ‘others’— in this case, aspects of the Victorian Government approach. 

5.31 The Guidelines have been framed in an Australian Government context  and  do  not  explicitly  address  campaign  statements  which  refer  to  other  governments. This is an area of the Guidelines that would benefit from further  review in light of this campaign. 

Principle 4

5.32 Principle 4 of the Guidelines states that campaigns should be justified  and undertaken in an efficient, effective and relevant manner. In particular,  campaigns  should  only  be  instigated  where  a  need  is  demonstrated  and  campaign  information  should  clearly  and  directly  affect  the  interests  of  recipients. The medium and volume of advertising activities should also be  cost effective and justifiable within the budget allocated to the campaign. 

ANAO assessment: Compliant

5.33 DoHA  advised  the  ANAO  that  it  became  aware  of  confusion  in  Victoria about the availability of funding for healthcare services based o n its  monitoring  of  media  coverage  between  October  2012  and  February  2013.  Against  this  backdrop,  the  office  of  the  Health  Minister  requested  on  19 February 2013 that an advertising campaign be developed. 

5.34 The advertising campaign sought to inform the Victorian public of the  provision of Australian Government funding, and also to reassure Victorians  that health services were to be maintained: 

In  particular,  the  proposed  communication  program  aims  to  ensure  that  residents of Victoria do not delay or miss out on accessing healthcare when  they  need  it  due  to  confusion  about  the  availability  of  funding  for  critical  health services and facilities, such as elective surgery and hospital beds. 

There is a need for responsive, clear communication with a broad reach and  the ability to cut through the clutter (and confusion) that has been generated in  the  media  regarding  the  status  and  availability  of  quality  health  care  in  Victoria. ... 

Aim:  To  raise  awareness  of  the  changes  introduced  by  the  Australian  Government,  explaining  what  it  means  at  a  state  level  and  also  clearly 

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Table 5.3

Perspectives of the Australian and Victorian governments

Australian Government Victorian Government

‘... in recent months you have embarked on a disingenuous and purely political campaign in relation to a $107 million adjustment of health funding from the Federal Government. Your campaign has been designed to detract from the decisions you and your Government have made.’ Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s letter to the former Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu.

‘The ripoff includes $40 million which has been long spent by our hospitals from the 2011/12 year, and a further $67 million from hospital budgets which have already been set and signed off on for the current year— which are already almost half gone.’ Victorian Health Minister, David Davis, Media release, Canberra ripoff pulls $107 million from Victorian hospitals, 1 November 2012.

‘The adjustment is based on ABS revised population figures and lower than anticipated increases in health costs as a result of the high Australian dollar.’ Australian Government Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, Media release, Davis’ three card trick on health funding, 9 November 2012.

‘The Federal Government plans to rip more than $100 million out of Victoria's public hospitals this year to prop up its own budget with a scam based on dodgy population figures.’ David Davis, (as above).

‘The Gillard Government has today announced a $107 million rescue package for Victorian hospitals, following Premier Ted Baillieu’s failure to properly manage the state’s health system. The cash injection will be paid directly to Local Hospital Networks, which will distribute the money to ailing Victorian hospitals ... The rescue package will not pass through the hands of the Baillieu government which has proven itself to be a cruel and incompetent manager of the Victorian health system.’ Tanya Plibersek, Media Release, Victorian hospital rescue package helps patients, 21 February 2013.

‘Victorian public hospitals have already felt the pinch with the number of people on the waiting list increasing. There has also been an increase in patients visiting emergency departments, and there have been more patients admitted to hospitals. ... despite the Canberra funding cuts, Victoria's hospitals are treating more patients than ever before and in many cases performance has been maintained or improved. This demonstrates improved efficiency, clinical and operating practices, and resilience by our hospitals.’ David Davis, Media release, Federal funding cuts hit Victorian hospital performance, 16 October 2012.

‘So if we see any other premier playing this kind of politics the way that Premier Baillieu has, then there is a very clear message to those premiers. We will go round you, we will deal direct with hospitals and local hospital networks and we will rearrange your budget for you. … We will rearrange state budgets by cutting them back in other areas.’ Julia Gillard, Transcript of doorstop interview, Adelaide, 21 February 2013.

‘All they've done overnight is to restore $107 million to Victorian hospitals, and then turn around and say Victorians are going to pay for that by taking that out of budget money in Victoria.’ Ted Baillieu, AAP, We’ll rearrange health budgets, Prime Minister warns states, 21 February 2013.

Source: ANAO, from various public statements.

 

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informing residents of Victoria about the changes in their region and how to  access important healthcare services and/or benefits that they are entitled to.176 

5.35 DoHA had approximately three days to develop the campaign. As a  consequence  of  this  timeframe,  the  department  did  not  have  the  benefit  of  developmental research, which is generally employed to explore the need for a  campaign and possible approaches to address that need, but is not mandated  by the Guidelines. Ultimately, the decision to conduct a campaign rests with  the  responsible  Minister  and  agency,  based  on  their  assessment  of  demonstrated need. In this case, that judgement was informed by the policy  and  program  environment  and  the  management  of  the  Australian  Government’s intergovernmental relations. 

5.36 With  respect  to  the  medium  and  volume  of  advertising  activities,  DoHA booked the media through the MMA, as required under the Australian  Government’s Central Advertising System. Of the total approved expenditure  of up to $240 000, media placement costs of $170 374 (including GST) were  accrued, with the advertisement placed in selected Victorian newspapers over  two  weekends.177  DoHA  elected  to  run  the  advertisements  for  a  second  weekend, following a request from the Minister’s office. 

Principle 5

5.37 Principle 5 o f the Guidelines states that campaigns must comply with  legal requirements and procurement policies and procedures. 

ANAO assessment: Compliant

5.38 In the limited time available, DoHA did not seek formal or verbal legal  advice on the campaign’s compliance with legal requirements. DoHA advised  the ANAO that given its experience in developing advertising campaigns, it  was confident that the advertisement complied with legal requirements. DoHA  ensured that appropriate permissions were in place for the use of the image in  the advertisement.178 

                                                       176 DoHA, Draft [campaign communication strategy]: Localised communication campaign, p. 1. DoHA advised the ANAO that due to the short timeframe for campaign development, the draft communication plan was not finalised. See also

paragraph 5.30. 177 There were no additional creative or production costs associated with the campaign. The Guidelines provide that the: ‘value of a campaign does not include departmental staff and other associated costs’. 178

DoHA advised that the image was of a real nurse, obtained as part of the development of a previous campaign conducted by the department.

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informing residents of Victoria about the changes in their region and how to  access important healthcare services and/or benefits that they are entitled to.176 

5.35 DoHA had approximately three days to develop the campaign. As a  consequence  of  this  timeframe,  the  department  did  not  have  the  benefit  of  developmental research, which is generally employed to explore the need for a  campaign and possible approaches to address that need, but is not mandated  by the Guidelines. Ultimately, the decision to conduct a campaign rests with  the  responsible  Minister  and  agency,  based  on  their  assessment  of  demonstrated need. In this case, that judgement was informed by the policy  and  program  environment  and  the  management  of  the  Australian  Government’s intergovernmental relations. 

5.36 With  respect  to  the  medium  and  volume  of  advertising  activities,  DoHA booked the media through the MMA, as required under the Australian  Government’s Central Advertising System. Of the total approved expenditure  of up to $240 000, media placement costs of $170 374 (including GST) were  accrued, with the advertisement placed in selected Victorian newspapers over  two  weekends.177  DoHA  elected  to  run  the  advertisements  for  a  second  weekend, following a request from the Minister’s office. 

Principle 5

5.37 Principle 5 o f the Guidelines states that campaigns must comply with  legal requirements and procurement policies and procedures. 

ANAO assessment: Compliant

5.38 In the limited time available, DoHA did not seek formal or verbal legal  advice on the campaign’s compliance with legal requirements. DoHA advised  the ANAO that given its experience in developing advertising campaigns, it  was confident that the advertisement complied with legal requirements. DoHA  ensured that appropriate permissions were in place for the use of the image in  the advertisement.178 

                                                       176 DoHA, Draft [campaign communication strategy]: Localised communication campaign, p. 1. DoHA advised the ANAO that due to the short timeframe for campaign development, the draft communication plan was not finalised. See also

paragraph 5.30. 177 There were no additional creative or production costs associated with the campaign. The Guidelines provide that the:

‘value of a campaign does not include departmental staff and other associated costs’. 178 DoHA advised that the image was of a real nurse, obtained as part of the development of a previous campaign

conducted by the department.

Commonwealth Funding of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaign

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5.39 As  noted  in  paragraph  5.36,  DoHA  booked  the  media  through  the  MMA,  as  required  under  the  Australian  Government’s  Central  Advertising  System. As discussed in paragraph 5.14, in seeking the Minister’s approval of  funding, DoHA did not advise the Minister that she would be undertaking a  financial  task  under  the  Australian  Government’s  financial  management  framework, by providing approval of a spending proposal. 

Conclusion 5.40 In  October  2012,  the  Treasurer  made  two  announcements  which  involved a downward revision in Commonwealth funding of health services.  In Victoria, the revision amounted to $107 million for 2011-12 and 2012-13.  The funding revision was the result of the application of a funding formula  which had been agreed to by both the Australian and Victorian governments.  The revision and its consequences for healthcare services were the focus of  active  debate  between  the  Commonwealth  and  State  Health  Ministers,  and  generated  extensive  media  coverage.  In  February  2013,  the  Australian  Government announced it would provide $107 million in funding directly to  Victorian Local Hospital Networks. DoHA was tasked with developing a print  advertising  campaign  to  follow  the  announcement  of  the  funding.  The  campaign was developed in approximately three days, and ran in Victorian  newspapers over two weekends. 

5.41 M

inisters  are  responsible  for  authorising  campaign  development  in  their portfolios and for authorising the launch of a campaign; and agencies  remain responsible for campaigns, including compliance with the Guidelines.  However,  there  was  no  documented  approval  of  the  advertisement  by  the  Health Minister, the DoHA Secretary or a responsible departmental delegate.179  In addition, DoHA made no direct representations to the Minister about the  campaign’s compliance with the Guidelines in relevant briefings.180 Staff in the  offices of the Health Minister and Prime Minister were significantly involved  in the campaign’s development, including actively contributing to drafting and 

                                                       179 DoHA had corresponded with the Health Minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s office, and relevant office staff had indicated their agreement to the advertisement. DoHA advised the ANAO that it was the department’s ‘clear

understanding that the Minister's office was providing the Minister's approval to us’. DoHA advice to ANAO, 2 May 2013. 180 DoHA referred to the Guidelines in a covering email to a member of the Minister’s office in which a copy of the brief

seeking financial approval to conduct the campaign was included. DoHA specifically noted: ‘It is important that the advertising content remains consistent with the principle of the Australian Government Advertising Campaign Guidelines (ie. strictly factual, etc)’. The relevant DoHA officer advised the ANAO that: ‘In addition to face to face

discussions with staff from the Minister's office, where I discussed the requirements of the Advertising Guidelines, I also discussed the Guidelines over the phone, and clearly in the email providing the Minute seeking expenditure approval’.

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editing  the  advertisement.  This  process  led  to  the  removal  of  contextual  information  from  the  advertisement,  and  clouded  responsibility  for  the  campaign’s development, even though this responsibility remained with the  department. 

5.42 The  advertisement  appeared  in  the  context  of  an  active  and  public  debate  between  the  Australian  and  Victorian  governments  over  the  October 2012 healthcare funding revision. Within this context, one of the four  statements  in  the  advertisement  was  not  presented  in  an  objective  manner:  ‘This [Injecting $107 million into Victorian hospitals] will reverse cuts made by the  Victorian  Government’.  The  statement  attributed  full  responsibility  for  the  consequences of the $107 million downward funding revision to the Victorian  Government, when: the exact amount of funding to be provided to Victorian  Local Hospital Networks was equal to the original Commonwealth funding  revision; and the original revision was a consequence of the application of the  funding formula agreed to by both the Australian and Victorian governments.  The  advertisement  highlighted  only  one  perspective—that  the  Victorian  Government  was  responsible  for  the  reduction  in  public  hospital  funding  because it decided to pass on the revision in Commonwealth funding to Local  Hospital  Networks,  rather  than  maintain  the  previous  level  of  funding  by  replacing the  $107 million through the use of own‐source funds. 

5.43 The  advertisement  contained  no  overt  promotion  of  party  political  interests, and was therefore compliant with the main thrust of Principle 3 of  the Guidelines. Nevertheless, there are likely to be a range of views about the  campaign’s compliance with the spirit of the Principle, as the advertisement  may be interpreted as directly attacking or scorning the policies or actions of  ‘others’—in  this  case,  aspects  of  the  Victorian  Government  approach.  The  Guidelines have been framed in an Australian Government context and do not  explicitly address campaign statements which refer to other governments. This  is an area of the Guidelines that would benefit from further review in light of  this campaign. 

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editing  the  advertisement.  This  process  led  to  the  removal  of  contextual  information  from  the  advertisement,  and  clouded  responsibility  for  the  campaign’s development, even though this responsibility remained with the  department. 

5.42 The  advertisement  appeared  in  the  context  of  an  active  and  public  debate  between  the  Australian  and  Victorian  governments  over  the  October 2012 healthcare funding revision. Within this context, one of the four  statements  in  the  advertisement  was  not  presented  in  an  objective  manner:  ‘This [Injecting $107 million into Victorian hospitals] will reverse cuts made by the  Victorian  Government’.  The  statement  attributed  full  responsibility  for  the  consequences of the $107 million downward funding revision to the Victorian  Government, when: the exact amount of funding to be provided to Victorian  Local Hospital Networks was equal to the original Commonwealth funding  revision; and the original revision was a consequence of the application of the  funding formula agreed to by both the Australian and Victorian governments.  The  advertisement  highlighted  only  one  perspective—that  the  Victorian  Government  was  responsible  for  the  reduction  in  public  hospital  funding  because it decided to pass on the revision in Commonwealth funding to Local  Hospital  Networks,  rather  than  maintain  the  previous  level  of  funding  by  replacing the  $107 million through the use of own‐source funds. 

5.43 The  advertisement  contained  no  overt  promotion  of  party  political  interests, and was therefore compliant with the main thrust of Principle 3 of  the Guidelines. Nevertheless, there are likely to be a range of views about the  campaign’s compliance with the spirit of the Principle, as the advertisement  may be interpreted as directly attacking or scorning the policies or actions of  ‘others’—in  this  case,  aspects  of  the  Victorian  Government  approach.  The  Guidelines have been framed in an Australian Government context and do not  explicitly address campaign statements which refer to other governments. This  is an area of the Guidelines that would benefit from further review in light of  this campaign. 

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6. Administration of the Campaign Advertising Framework

This  chapter  examines  the  administration  of  the  campaign  advertising  framework,  including  the  progress  made  against  previous  ANAO  recommendations  and  suggestions,  the  contribution  of  the  Peer  Review  Group,  Finance’s  advice  and  administrative support, and the ICC’s review of advertising campaigns. 

Introduction 6.1 The ANAO assessed the effectiveness of the ongoing administration of  the campaign advertising framework, building upon the work of ANAO Audit  Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements:  March 2010 to August 2011. The 2011-12 report examined key aspects of the  framework, including: the 2010 Guidelines; Finance’s provision of support to  agencies responsible for campaigns; Finance’s work to establish and support  the ICC; and Finance’s administration of the Central Advertising System. 

6.2 The ANAO reviewed the progress made against the recommendations  and  suggestions  of  the  previous  audit.  The  ANAO  also  assessed  the  contribution of the new Peer Review Group process and Finance’s ongoing  involvement in the framework, and considered the ICC’s ongoing review of  advertising campaigns. 

Progress against previous ANAO recommendations and suggestions 6.3 This section examines the progress made against the recommendations  and suggestions of ANAO Audit Report No. 24, 2011-12. 

Recommendations

6.4 The 2011-12 audit report made five recommendations. The first three  recommendations were directed towards Finance. The fourth recommendation  applied to agencies g ranted a campaign exemption from the 2010 Guidelines.  The fifth recommendation was directed towards the former DCCEE.181 All five 

                                                       181 In machinery of government changes announced on 26 March 2013, the functions of DCCEE were allocated to other departments.

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recommendations  were  agreed  to.  Table  6.1  details  the  status  of  the  five  recommendations. 

Table 6.1 Status of previous ANAO recommendations

Recommendations, status and ANAO comment

Recommendation No. 1: (directed towards Finance) To support agencies in their application of the 2010 Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, the ANAO recommends that the Department of Finance and Deregulation provide written guidance to agencies clarifying which parts of the Guidelines are mandatory and which are sound practice. Status: Not yet acted upon. ANAO comment: PM&C and Finance advised that the clarity and interpretation of the Guidelines would be examined when the Government’s campaign advertising framework was next subject to review. The revised framework was originally scheduled to be reviewed in March 2012, two years after its introduction. However, a review of the framework has been deferred until at least September 2013, with a final decision to be made taking into account the findings of this audit. Refer to paragraph 6.33 for further discussion.

Recommendation No. 2: (directed towards Finance) To support agencies in complying with the amended ‘proper use’ requirements of section 44(3) of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and Regulation 9 of the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997, the ANAO recommends that the Department of Finance and Deregulation provide guidance to agencies on assessing the efficient, effective and economical use of Commonwealth resources in the context of developing and approving spending proposals for campaign advertising. Status: Completed. ANAO comment: The September 2012 Campaign Planning Guide (the Guide)182 includes a section on ‘Approving and booking media’. The Guide advises:

Financial delegates should treat the approval of [a Media Booking Authority] in the same way as they would treat any other spending proposal. That is, the delegate must be satisfied that the spending proposal would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources. To demonstrate this, you need to clearly document the process undertaken to select the recommended media channels and the volume/cost of advertising. Financial delegates should consider:

 information from the campaign master media agency’s media strategy which justifies the channel selections

 any research used to inform media planning decisions

 outcomes from discussions with the campaign master media agency to refine or modify the media recommendations.

Delegates should also be mindful that while a campaign budget may have been agreed by government, it does not mean that the full budget has to be spent if it would not be a proper use of Commonwealth resources to do so.

                                                       182 Finance. Campaign Planning Guide. September 2012, pp. 59-60.

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recommendations  were  agreed  to.  Table  6.1  details  the  status  of  the  five  recommendations. 

Table 6.1 Status of previous ANAO recommendations

Recommendations, status and ANAO comment

Recommendation No. 1: (directed towards Finance) To support agencies in their application of the 2010 Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, the ANAO recommends that the Department of Finance and Deregulation provide written guidance to agencies clarifying which parts of the Guidelines are mandatory and which are sound practice. Status: Not yet acted upon. ANAO comment: PM&C and Finance advised that the clarity and interpretation of the Guidelines would be examined when the Government’s campaign advertising framework was next subject to review. The revised framework was originally scheduled to be reviewed in March 2012, two years after its introduction. However, a review of the framework has been deferred until at least September 2013, with a final decision to be made taking into account the findings of this audit. Refer to paragraph 6.33 for further discussion.

Recommendation No. 2: (directed towards Finance) To support agencies in complying with the amended ‘proper use’ requirements of section 44(3) of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and Regulation 9 of the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997, the ANAO recommends that the Department of Finance and Deregulation provide guidance to agencies on assessing the efficient, effective and economical use of Commonwealth resources in the context of developing and approving spending proposals for campaign advertising. Status: Completed. ANAO comment: The September 2012 Campaign Planning Guide (the Guide)182 includes a section on ‘Approving and booking media’. The Guide advises:

Financial delegates should treat the approval of [a Media Booking Authority] in the same way as they would treat any other spending proposal. That is, the delegate must be satisfied that the spending proposal would be a proper use of Commonwealth resources. To demonstrate this, you need to clearly document the process undertaken to select the recommended media channels and the volume/cost of advertising. Financial delegates should consider:

 information from the campaign master media agency’s media strategy which justifies the channel selections

 any research used to inform media planning decisions

 outcomes from discussions with the campaign master media agency to refine or modify the media recommendations.

Delegates should also be mindful that while a campaign budget may have been agreed by government, it does not mean that the full budget has to be spent if it would not be a proper use of Commonwealth resources to do so.

                                                       182 Finance. Campaign Planning Guide. September 2012, pp. 59-60.

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The Guide refers readers to Finance Circular 2011/01: Commitments to Spend Public Money (FMA Regulations 7 to 12), which advises FMA Act agencies on the application of the financial framework to spending proposals.183 The Guide also describes how to optimise the benefit from the services of the master media agency, and maximise value for money.184 Additionally, the Guide covers good practice in the procurement of advertising services, and the requirement to document the spending decision. This includes planning well ahead, approaching multiple providers from the Communications Multi Use List, and documenting spending proposals.185

Recommendation No. 3: (directed towards Finance) To strengthen alignment between the 2010 Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies and agency chief executives’ written certifications, the ANAO recommends that the Department of Finance and Deregulation review its ‘Chief Executive Certification for Government Advertising Campaigns’ template for alignment against the Guidelines. Status: Completed. ANAO comment: Finance has adjusted the campaign certification template for chief executives to ensure that the wording clearly aligns to the content of the Guidelines.

Recommendation No. 4: (directed towards agencies granted a campaign exemption from the Guidelines) The ANAO recommends that in future, agencies granted an exemption from the 2010 Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies should adopt a process of internal ‘certification’ to provide assurance to the agency chief executive of compliance with the Guidelines to the extent that they continue to apply. Status: Not applicable. ANAO comment: The application of this recommendation could not be assessed because no campaign was granted an exemption during the period covered by this audit. Finance made reference to this recommendation in its advice to agencies about exemptions from the Guidelines in the Guide.

186

Recommendation No. 5: (directed towards the former DCCEE) To strengthen transparency in the application of Paragraph 21 (a sub‐element of Principle 2) of the 2010 Guidelines on Information and Advertising Campaigns by Australian Government Departments and Agencies, the ANAO recommends that the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency review its campaign certification processes to ensure that there is a clear line of sight between information presented as fact in a government advertising campaign and the sources cited in support of that information. Status: Completed. ANAO comment: DCCEE revised its business processes for external communications activities. The revised processes required that the relevant policy or program area provide written approval as to the accuracy of all new communications content produced by the Communications and Public Affairs Branch, before the content was used externally. At a minimum, approval was required from a Band 1 SES officer.

Source: ANAO, Audit Report No.24, 2011-12.

                                                       183 Finance could consider including information about campaign advertising spending proposals in a future update of the circular.

184 Finance. Campaign Planning Guide. September 2012, pp. 50-51. 185 ibid, pp. 48-49 and 59-60. 186

ibid, p. 39.

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Suggestions

6.5 The 2011-12 audit report also included 10 suggestions directed towards  Finance and other agencies. Table 6.2 outlines the suggestions and any actions  taken in response. 

Table 6.2

Status of previous ANAO suggestions

Suggestion ANAO comment

(Paragraphs 2.32-2.34) The Hawke Review 187 recommended (No. 6(a)) that

information regarding the cost‐effectiveness of proposed campaigns be mandatory at the initial approval stage (with the Cabinet Handbook revised accordingly). At the time of the 2011-12 audit, PM&C advised that an updated draft of the Cabinet Handbook reflecting the recommendation was before the Government for consideration.

Status: Completed. The March 2012 edition of the Cabinet Handbook includes the requirement that proposals for information campaigns include justification of the cost-effectiveness of the campaign.

(Paragraphs 3.7 and 3.8) ... there would be benefit in Finance publishing a single public statement of its roles and responsibilities [in relation to the campaign advertising framework]. The roles and responsibilities of other key participants in the framework, including the new PRG and PM&C as chair of the PRG, could also usefully be set out in the statement.

Status: Completed. Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide includes a chapter on the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders. The roles of key stakeholders are also outlined in Finance’s Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies. September 2012. Full Year Report 2011-12.

(Paragraph 3.20) The inclusion of a consolidated table on total expenditure incurred on ‘consultants, services and other costs’, and expenditure on media placement inclusive of GST would further enhance transparency and the value of the report (the full year report of Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies).

Status: No action taken. Finance advised that the method of reporting figures exclusive of GST aligns with the way expenditure figures are reported more broadly in the advertising industry. Finance further advised that its reports provide information not previously made available, including information relating to consultancy costs and expenditure on non-English speaking background and Indigenous-specific advertising. Finance also advised that various media outlets had collated the information contained in the report to provide ‘total’ expenditure amounts. This issue is discussed later in this Chapter.

                                                       187 Hawke, A., Independent Review of Government Advertising Arrangements, 26 February 2010.

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Suggestions

6.5 The 2011-12 audit report also included 10 suggestions directed towards  Finance and other agencies. Table 6.2 outlines the suggestions and any actions  taken in response. 

Table 6.2

Status of previous ANAO suggestions

Suggestion ANAO comment

(Paragraphs 2.32-2.34) The Hawke Review 187 recommended (No. 6(a)) that

information regarding the cost‐effectiveness of proposed campaigns be mandatory at the initial approval stage (with the Cabinet Handbook revised accordingly). At the time of the 2011-12 audit, PM&C advised that an updated draft of the Cabinet Handbook reflecting the recommendation was before the Government for consideration.

Status: Completed. The March 2012 edition of the Cabinet Handbook includes the requirement that proposals for information campaigns include justification of the cost-effectiveness of the campaign.

(Paragraphs 3.7 and 3.8) ... there would be benefit in Finance publishing a single public statement of its roles and responsibilities [in relation to the campaign advertising framework]. The roles and responsibilities of other key participants in the framework, including the new PRG and PM&C as chair of the PRG, could also usefully be set out in the statement.

Status: Completed. Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide includes a chapter on the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders. The roles of key stakeholders are also outlined in Finance’s Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies. September 2012. Full Year Report 2011-12.

(Paragraph 3.20) The inclusion of a consolidated table on total expenditure incurred on ‘consultants, services and other costs’, and expenditure on media placement inclusive of GST would further enhance transparency and the value of the report (the full year report of Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies).

Status: No action taken. Finance advised that the method of reporting figures exclusive of GST aligns with the way expenditure figures are reported more broadly in the advertising industry. Finance further advised that its reports provide information not previously made available, including information relating to consultancy costs and expenditure on non-English speaking background and Indigenous-specific advertising. Finance also advised that various media outlets had collated the information contained in the report to provide ‘total’ expenditure amounts. This issue is discussed later in this Chapter.

                                                       187 Hawke, A., Independent Review of Government Advertising Arrangements, 26 February 2010.

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Suggestion ANAO comment

(Paragraph 3.22) There would be benefit in Finance reviewing its approach to recording commonly asked questions [from agencies], so as to maintain corporate memory and reduce the potential for inconsistent advice.

Status: Completed. Finance advised the ANAO that it had introduced a system for recording and tracking commonly asked questions received from agencies. The Campaign Planning Guide also provides answers to commonly asked questions.

(Paragraph 3.25) ... there would be merit in Finance providing agencies with written guidance on the Guidelines, consistent with the department’s long‐standing practice of issuing Finance Circulars and other guidance on key aspects of general policy frameworks.

Status: Completed. Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide was published in September 2012.

(Paragraph 3.31) To promote clarity and provide additional support to agencies and Ministers, there would be benefit in Finance advising agencies of the process agreed by the Special Minister of State for considering and granting an exemption from the Guidelines. The proposed ‘Information and Advertising Campaign Planning Guide’ would be an appropriate vehicle for doing so.

Status: Completed. Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide details the process for granting an exemption from the Guidelines in the chapter on Review and Certification.

(Paragraph 3.35) While the indicative timeline [for an advertising campaign] was circulated to agency chief executives in correspondence on 20 May 2010, it is not otherwise readily available to agencies. There would be benefit in Finance making the indicative timetable available to agencies through appropriate means, such as the draft ‘Information and Advertising Campaign Planning Guide’.

Status: Completed. The development of a campaign timeline is discussed in Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide. The indicative timeline is available from Finance on request.

(Paragraph 3.44) [In relation to the caretaker period after an election is called], Finance could better inform agencies during this period by proactively issuing prepared [Questions and Answers].

Status: Action planned. Finance advised that when entering a caretaker period, it plans to brief the Special Minister of State and seek advice on securing bipartisan support for certain campaigns. Agencies responsible for administering campaigns that remain active during the caretaker period will be issued with Questions and Answers.

(Paragraph 3.52) ... there is merit in Finance advising the ICC on options for more timely distribution [of ICC minutes] as a means of providing additional support to agencies.

Status: Completed. Finance advised that the previous ANAO report was a catalyst for renewed effort in this area, and as a result, the average time to distribute ICC minutes has fallen from 24 working days in the period examined in the previous audit (April 2010 to September 2011), to 12 working days in 2012.

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Suggestion ANAO comment

(Paragraph 5.15) It is prudent for agencies to alert ministers, where necessary, to the potential risks of significantly truncated campaign development timeframes and provide options, and there would be benefit in Finance incorporating such advice in its guidance materials.

Status: Partially completed. As previously noted, the development of a campaign timeline is discussed in Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide. In particular, the Guide advises agencies: ‘You should be realistic when providing indicative timelines to stakeholders so that they do not over-promise on the time required to develop a campaign. Campaign timelines must allow for internal approval turnaround times, procurement and legal processes, as well as review by the ICC and the PRG’.

The four campaigns examined in this audit all

involved significantly truncated timeframes. There would be merit in Finance incorporating, in its advice to agencies, the relevant elements of the Finance Secretary’s 20 May 2010 correspondence to chief executives on the risks arising from compressed timelines.188

Source: ANAO, Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, and ANAO analysis of agency documentation.

Public reporting of campaign advertising expenditure

6.6 The transparency of Australian Government expenditure on campaign  advertising  is  an  important  consideration  in  ensuring  public  confidence  in  government  communication  activities.189  As  part  of  the  revised  campaign  advertising framework, the Government undertook to report twice yearly to  the Parliament on advertising expenditure for government departments and  agencies. A half year report was first released in March 2009 and the first full  year report was released in September 2009. Further full and half year reports  have  been  released  by  Finance  in  a  timely  manner.  To  further  enhance  transparency  of  campaign  advertising  expenditure  and  the  value  of  these  reports,  the  2011-12  audit  report  on  government  advertising  suggested  the  inclusion of a consolidated table on total expenditure incurred on ‘consultants, 

                                                       188 In his 20 May 2010 correspondence to chief executives about changes to the framework, the Finance Secretary advised that: ‘Allowing sufficient time for campaign development remains critical to achieving optimal outcomes. Ultimately,

compressed timelines increase the risk that the justification for, and quality of campaigns, will be negatively affected’. 189 Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Government advertising and accountability, 2005. In the Committee’s view, two major mechanisms were required to deal with these concerns: ‘The first is an adequate

system for disclosing the quantum of advertising expenditure and, equally importantly, for disclosing the public policy justification of major advertising campaigns. The second is the scrutiny of that justification and of the government’s proposed campaign material against agreed guidelines,’ p. xvii.

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Suggestion ANAO comment

(Paragraph 5.15) It is prudent for agencies to alert ministers, where necessary, to the potential risks of significantly truncated campaign development timeframes and provide options, and there would be benefit in Finance incorporating such advice in its guidance materials.

Status: Partially completed. As previously noted, the development of a campaign timeline is discussed in Finance’s Campaign Planning Guide. In particular, the Guide advises agencies: ‘You should be realistic when providing indicative timelines to stakeholders so that they do not over-promise on the time required to develop a campaign. Campaign timelines must allow for internal approval turnaround times, procurement and legal processes, as well as review by the ICC and the PRG’.

The four campaigns examined in this audit all

involved significantly truncated timeframes. There would be merit in Finance incorporating, in its advice to agencies, the relevant elements of the Finance Secretary’s 20 May 2010 correspondence to chief executives on the risks arising from compressed timelines.

188

Source: ANAO, Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: March 2010 to August 2011, and ANAO analysis of agency documentation.

Public reporting of campaign advertising expenditure

6.6 The transparency of Australian Government expenditure on campaign  advertising  is  an  important  consideration  in  ensuring  public  confidence  in  government  communication  activities.189  As  part  of  the  revised  campaign  advertising framework, the Government undertook to report twice yearly to  the Parliament on advertising expenditure for government departments and  agencies. A half year report was first released in March 2009 and the first full  year report was released in September 2009. Further full and half year reports  have  been  released  by  Finance  in  a  timely  manner.  To  further  enhance  transparency  of  campaign  advertising  expenditure  and  the  value  of  these  reports,  the  2011-12  audit  report  on  government  advertising  suggested  the  inclusion of a consolidated table on total expenditure incurred on ‘consultants, 

                                                       188 In his 20 May 2010 correspondence to chief executives about changes to the framework, the Finance Secretary advised that: ‘Allowing sufficient time for campaign development remains critical to achieving optimal outcomes. Ultimately,

compressed timelines increase the risk that the justification for, and quality of campaigns, will be negatively affected’. 189 Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Government advertising and accountability, 2005. In the Committee’s view, two major mechanisms were required to deal with these concerns: ‘The first is an adequate

system for disclosing the quantum of advertising expenditure and, equally importantly, for disclosing the public policy justification of major advertising campaigns. The second is the scrutiny of that justification and of the government’s proposed campaign material against agreed guidelines,’ p. xvii.

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services and other costs’, and expenditure on media placement inclusive of  GST. 

6.7 Finance  has  not  published  a  consolidated  table  of  total  campaign  expenditure inclusive of GST in its biannual reports on Campaign Advertising by  Australian  Government  Departments  and  Agencies.  Finance  instead  reports  the  total  expenditure  on  media  placement  by  FMA  agencies.  This  expenditure  excludes GST and ‘consultants, services and other costs’, such as: advertising  agency  costs;  market  research;  public  relations;  communications  for  Indigenous Australians and people from non‐English speaking backgrounds;  and printed materials and direct mail. These additional associated campaign  costs  have  been  included  in  Finance’s  biannual  reports  (since  2008-09),  but  included  separately  for  each  individual  campaign,  and  have  not  been  consolidated or incorporated into the total campaign expenditure amounts. 

6.8 The ANAO collated the expenditure information contained in Finance’s  reports  in  order  to  present  trends  in  campaign  advertising  expenditure.   Figure  6.1  shows  expenditure  on  campaign  advertising  from  2008-09  to   2011-12.  In  addition  to  the  media  placement  costs,  the  ANAO  has  also  included the expenditure on GST and ‘consultants, services and other costs’  incurred as part of campaign advertising. 

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Figure 6.1

Campaign advertising expenditure by FMA Act agencies, by financial year: 2008-09 to 2011-12

 

Note: Finance advised that $68 million (incl. GST) was spent on media placement in the period 1 July 2012 to 31 March 2013.

Source: ANAO analysis of information provided in the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies—Full Year Report 2011-12 (September 2012).

6.9 As the above figure demonstrates, expenditure on ‘consultants, services  and other costs’ has increased continually since it was first reported in 2008-09.  At that time, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ totalled $38.2 million and  constituted 22.7 per cent of total campaign advertising expenditure. In 2011-12,  the costs totalled $63.6 million and constituted 31.3 per cent of total campaign  advertising expenditure.190 

   

                                                       190 In 2009-10 and 2010-11, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ totalled $39.7 and $46.9 million, and constituted 25.7 and 28.6 per cent of total campaign advertising expenditure, respectively.

0

50

100

150

200

250

2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

Expenditure ($ million)

Financial year

Media placement Consultants, services and other costs GST

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Figure 6.1

Campaign advertising expenditure by FMA Act agencies, by financial year: 2008-09 to 2011-12

 

Note: Finance advised that $68 million (incl. GST) was spent on media placement in the period 1 July 2012 to 31 March 2013.

Source: ANAO analysis of information provided in the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies—Full Year Report 2011-12 (September 2012).

6.9 As the above figure demonstrates, expenditure on ‘consultants, services  and other costs’ has increased continually since it was first reported in 2008-09.  At that time, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ totalled $38.2 million and  constituted 22.7 per cent of total campaign advertising expenditure. In 2011-12, 

the costs totalled $63.6 million and constituted 31.3 per cent of total campaign  advertising expenditure.190 

   

                                                       190 In 2009-10 and 2010-11, ‘consultants, services and other costs’ totalled $39.7 and $46.9 million, and constituted 25.7 and 28.6 per cent of total campaign advertising expenditure, respectively.

0

50

100

150

200

250

2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

Expenditure ($ million)

Financial year

Media placement Consultants, services and other costs GST

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Recommendation No.1 6.10 To improve the transparency of Australian Government expenditure on  campaign advertising, the ANAO recommends that the Department of Finance  and Deregulation report the total campaign advertising expenditure, including  expenditure related to ‘consultants, services and other costs’, and GST, in its  reports  on  Campaign  Advertising  by  Australian  Government  Departments  and  Agencies. 

Finance response:  

6.11 Not agreed. The Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) notes that  the  current  biannual  reporting  framework  for  campaign  advertising  provides  a  considerably  enhanced  level  of  transparency  compared  to  any  previous  reporting  arrangements.  The  presentation  of  campaign  media  expenditure  (gross  media,  excluding GST) in the biannual reports aligns to convention in terms of campaign  expenditure reporting by previous governments, and is also consistent with broader  Australian  media  industry  practice.  The  format  of  the  reporting  also  allows  for  consistent comparison of historical campaign media expenditure. 

6.12 Finance notes that the biannual reports include consultant, services and other  costs associated with the development of all campaigns above the value of $250,000  (provided on a financial year basis). Accordingly, an aggregated total of media and  other expenditure on campaigns, and the GST component of that expenditure, can be  readily  derived  from  information  already  within  the  biannual  reports  on  campaign  advertising. 

6.13 ANA

O  comment:  While  Finance  has  made  a  range  of  additional  financial information available through its reports, and the government has  referred to total campaign expenditure on an ad hoc basis191, the systematic  inclusion  of  consolidated  information  on  total  expenditure  in  Finance’s  campaign  advertising  reports  would  further  improve  transparency  and  the  value of Finance’s expenditure reporting. 

                                                       191 In the media release relating to the tabling of the Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies - Full Year Report 2011-12, the Special Minister of State reported the 2011-12 total expenditure, including

‘consultants, services and other costs’. The Special Minister of State also sought to compare the 2011-12 total expenditure to an estimate of the 2007 calendar year expenditure including ‘consultants, services and other costs’. Source: the Hon. Gary Gray MP, Full Year Report for Campaign Advertising tabled, accessible via: [accessed 14 February 2013].

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Long-term campaign expenditure analysis

6.14 ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2008-09 The Administration of Contracting  Arrangements in relation to Government Advertising to November 2007 examined  the  monthly  expenditure  on  media  placement  for  campaign  advertising  through the Central Advertising System192, in real terms, from June 1989 to  December 2007. The audit observed that: 

An examination of campaign expenditure in the lead up to the last six elections  demonstrates that for each election (excepting the November 2001 election),  monthly average expenditure in the nine months leading up to the election  exceeded, by between 14 and 86 per cent (in real terms), the monthly average  for the period between elections.193 

6.15 Figure  6.2  extends  this  analysis  of  monthly  expenditure  on  media  placement costs for campaign advertising, to cover the period from July 1989  to December 2012, using December 2012 prices. The extended analysis shows  that campaign media placement expenditure also increased in the lead‐up to  the 2010 election. 

 

                                                       192 The Central Advertising System consolidates government advertising expenditure with the goal of securing media discounts for government. Two ‘master media’ agencies are contracted by the Department of Finance and Deregulation

to manage media planning, placement and rates negotiations with media outlets. 193 ANAO, Audit Report No.24, 2008-09, The Administration of Contracting Arrangements in relation to Government Advertising to November 2007, p. 54.

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Long-term campaign expenditure analysis

6.14 ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2008-09 The Administration of Contracting  Arrangements in relation to Government Advertising to November 2007 examined  the  monthly  expenditure  on  media  placement  for  campaign  advertising  through the Central Advertising System192, in real terms, from June 1989 to  December 2007. The audit observed that: 

An examination of campaign expenditure in the lead up to the last six elections  demonstrates that for each election (excepting the November 2001 election),  monthly average expenditure in the nine months leading up to the election  exceeded, by between 14 and 86 per cent (in real terms), the monthly average  for the period between elections.193 

6.15 Figure  6.2  extends  this  analysis  of  monthly  expenditure  on  media  placement costs for campaign advertising, to cover the period from July 1989  to December 2012, using December 2012 prices. The extended analysis shows  that campaign media placement expenditure also increased in the lead‐up to  the 2010 election. 

 

                                                       192 The Central Advertising System consolidates government advertising expenditure with the goal of securing media discounts for government. Two ‘master media’ agencies are contracted by the Department of Finance and Deregulation

to manage media planning, placement and rates negotiations with media outlets. 193 ANAO, Audit Report No.24, 2008-09, The Administration of Contracting Arrangements in relation to Government Advertising to November 2007, p. 54.

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Figure 6.2

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Source: ANAO, Department of Finance and Deregulation, and ABS Catalogue 6401.0, available from [accessed 6 March 2013].

Notes: Data for the period 1989 to 2007 is sourced from ANAO Audit Report No. 24, 2008-09. Data for the period 2008 to 2012 was provided by Finance. Data from 1989 to 2003 aggregates media placement expenditure by FMA agencies, CAC Act bodies and Territory Governments. December 1998 expenditure is not available due to a change of contractors. Data from 2004 to 2012 is the campaign advertising media expenditure by FMA Act agencies only.

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Peer Review Group 6.16 The introduction of the PRG was announced in August 2011. At the  same  time,  Finance’s  mandatory  role  in  the  provision  of  campaign  development  advice  to  agencies  ended.  Specifically,  the  PRG  aims  to  ‘maximise the strategic integrity and effectiveness of communication activities  and,  in  doing  so,  aims  to  build  the  professional  capability  of  government  communicators’. Other stated aims of the PRG include to improve the quality  and timeliness of campaigns.194 

6.17 The PRG is chaired by PM&C and co‐chaired by Finance. In addition to  the chair and co‐chair, the PRG involves a revolving membership of Senior  Executive  Service  communications  officers,  and  it  may  seek  advice  from  a  range of experts. 

6.18 Agencies  are  required  to  submit  a  draft  of  their  campaign  communication strategy to the PRG, and may return to the PRG at later stages  of  campaign  development.  For  each  campaign,  the  PRG  develops  a  brief  feedback report on the outcomes of its assessment. Between its commencement  in September 2011 and the end of 2012, the PRG reviewed 24 campaigns, seven  of which were considered twice by the group. 

6.19 To consider the contribution of the PRG, the ANAO:  

 reviewed the character of all o f the campaign feedback reports of the  PRG between September 2011 to the end of 2012;  

 examined  in  detail  the  feedback  provided  by  the  PRG  for  the  three  campaigns  selected  for  review  in  this  audit  which  received  PRG  feedback;  

 interviewed the chair and co‐chair of the PRG; and 

 held discussions with four Senior  Executive Service staff about their  different interactions with the PRG, including as members of the PRG. 

6.20 The PRG’s feedback on campaigns was provided to agencies in a timely  fashion,  usually  within  two  days  of  the  meeting.  The  feedback  generally  identified a range of issues for agencies to consider as they further developed 

                                                       194 Finance, Campaign Planning Guide. September 2012, p. 31. In correspondence in August 2011, the Finance Secretary informed agency chief executives that: ‘the essence of these changes is to make agencies more directly accountable for

campaign quality and timeliness, but also introduces a mechanism to address perceptions about the quality and timeliness of campaigns’.

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Peer Review Group 6.16 The introduction of the PRG was announced in August 2011. At the  same  time,  Finance’s  mandatory  role  in  the  provision  of  campaign  development  advice  to  agencies  ended.  Specifically,  the  PRG  aims  to  ‘maximise the strategic integrity and effectiveness of communication activities  and,  in  doing  so,  aims  to  build  the  professional  capability  of  government  communicators’. Other stated aims of the PRG include to improve the quality  and timeliness of campaigns.194 

6.17 The PRG is chaired by PM&C and co‐chaired by Finance. In addition to  the chair and co‐chair, the PRG involves a revolving membership of Senior  Executive  Service  communications  officers,  and  it  may  seek  advice  from  a  range of experts. 

6.18 Agencies  are  required  to  submit  a  draft  of  their  campaign  communication strategy to the PRG, and may return to the PRG at later stages  of  campaign  development.  For  each  campaign,  the  PRG  develops  a  brief  feedback report on the outcomes of its assessment. Between its commencement  in September 2011 and the end of 2012, the PRG reviewed 24 campaigns, seven  of which were considered twice by the group. 

6.19 To consider the contribution of the PRG, the ANAO:  

 reviewed the character of all o f the campaign feedback reports of the  PRG between September 2011 to the end of 2012;  

 examined  in  detail  the  feedback  provided  by  the  PRG  for  the  three  campaigns  selected  for  review  in  this  audit  which  received  PRG  feedback;  

 interviewed the chair and co‐chair of the PRG; and 

 held discussions with four Senior  Executive Service staff about their  different interactions with the PRG, including as members of the PRG. 

6.20 The PRG’s feedback on campaigns was provided to agencies in a timely  fashion,  usually  within  two  days  of  the  meeting.  The  feedback  generally  identified a range of issues for agencies to consider as they further developed 

                                                       194 Finance, Campaign Planning Guide. September 2012, p. 31. In correspondence in August 2011, the Finance Secretary informed agency chief executives that: ‘the essence of these changes is to make agencies more directly accountable for

campaign quality and timeliness, but also introduces a mechanism to address perceptions about the quality and timeliness of campaigns’.

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their  campaign  strategies.195  For  example,  the  PRG  provided  advice  on  the  appropriate timing and phasing of campaigns, linkages with other government  initiatives and campaigns, and suitable methods to achieve communications  objectives and target certain audiences. 

6.21 The  PRG  panel  members  interviewed  generally  considered  that  the  PRG  had  helped  to  build  the  capability  of  participating  government  communicators.  These  staff  noted  the  benefits  of  being  exposed  to  other  campaigns, and the ability to share information and lessons across agencies.196 

6.22 While  there  is  general  acceptance  that  the  PRG  process  has  been  arranged  to  minimise  the  associated  workload  for  agencies  developing  campaigns,  it  remains  an  additional  process  in  the  campaign  advertising  framework;  a  point  made  by  a  number  of  stakeholders.  There  is  no  straightforward way to ascertain whether the PRG has achieved its stated aim  of improving the timeliness of campaigns. In many instances, sound advice  provided  by  the  PRG  at  an  early  stage  has  given  direction  to  campaign  development, thereby potentially avoiding later rework. That said, the PRG’s  advice has not always been implemented by agencies, reflecting the primary  responsibility of agencies for campaign development and implementation.197 

Finance’s revised role 6.23 Following the introduction of the PRG, Finance’s role in government  advertis

ing was amended. Agencies were no longer required to seek campaign  development advice from Finance, or involve Finance in campaign advertising  tender processes. While no longer required to do so, agencies remained able to  seek Finance’s input, if desired. Finance continues to be responsible for the  publication  of  biannual  reports  on  campaign  advertising  and  provides  secretariat assistance to the ICC. A new role for Finance is to co‐chair the PRG  and provide it with secretariat support. 

   

                                                       195 Greater clarity is needed on who determines whether or not a second meeting with the PRG is to be held for a campaign, and the circumstances that may necessitate a second meeting. It is also important that second meetings

occur at a point in the campaign when adjustments can still be made to creative materials, where appropriate. 196 Finance advised the ANAO that it had deliberately sought to include lesser-experienced members alongside more experienced government communicators on PRG panels. 197

Refer to paragraphs 2.15, 3.11 and 4.7 for discussion of the relevant departments’ implementation of PRG comments for advertising campaigns examined as part of this audit.

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6.24 To consider the effectiveness of Finance’s administration, the ANAO  examined Finance’s: 

 overall  response  to  the  recommendations  and  suggestions  of  the   2011-12 audit report on government advertising; 

 involvement  in  co‐chairing  the  PRG  and  provision  of  secretariat  support for the PRG; and 

 provision of secretariat services and a range of advice to the ICC to  support its review of the HAP and NBN campaigns. 

6.25 As shown in Table 6.1 and Table 6.2, Finance has addressed, or plans to  address,  the  majority  of  recommendations  and  suggestions  of  the  2011-12  audit  report.  Actions  taken  have  further  strengthened  its  strategies  and  processes for supporting FMA Act agencies in developing campaigns which  meet the requirements of the Guidelines. For example, with the release of the  Campaign Planning Guide, Finance further strengthened its suite of guidance on  the campaign advertising framework. 

6.26 Since the commencement of the PRG, Finance has participated in PRG  meetings and has provided appropriate secretariat and administrative support.  Importantly, Finance has used the opportunity to highlight important issues  for consideration at an early stage of campaign development, drawing on its  experience.  Finance  has  developed  expertise  in  campaign  advertising  over  time,  and  its  participation  in  the   PRG  enables  it  to  continue  to  share  its  experience with other agencies, to the benefit of the framework as a whole. 

6.27 Finance also supports the ICC in its review of advertising campaigns.  For each of the ICC’s meetings, Finance prepares a brief for the committee  which typically includes: 

 background information and the key elements of the campaign; 

 the PRG’s comments on the campaign (or a summary of the comments); 

 a summary of any previous ICC consideration of the campaign, and  agency changes to campaign materials in response; 

 Finance’s own comments on the agency’s campaign materials, such as  in regard to market research or creative concept testing; and 

 suggested  talking  points  for  the  ICC,  drawing  upon  the  range  of  matters listed above. 

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6.24 To consider the effectiveness of Finance’s administration, the ANAO  examined Finance’s: 

 overall  response  to  the  recommendations  and  suggestions  of  the   2011-12 audit report on government advertising; 

 involvement  in  co‐chairing  the  PRG  and  provision  of  secretariat  support for the PRG; and 

 provision of secretariat services and a range of advice to the ICC to  support its review of the HAP and NBN campaigns. 

6.25 As shown in Table 6.1 and Table 6.2, Finance has addressed, or plans to  address,  the  majority  of  recommendations  and  suggestions  of  the  2011-12  audit  report.  Actions  taken  have  further  strengthened  its  strategies  and  processes for supporting FMA Act agencies in developing campaigns which  meet the requirements of the Guidelines. For example, with the release of the  Campaign Planning Guide, Finance further strengthened its suite of guidance on  the campaign advertising framework. 

6.26 Since the commencement of the PRG, Finance has participated in PRG  meetings and has provided appropriate secretariat and administrative support.  Importantly, Finance has used the opportunity to highlight important issues  for consideration at an early stage of campaign development, drawing on its  experience.  Finance  has  developed  expertise  in  campaign  advertising  over  time,  and  its  participation  in  the   PRG  enables  it  to  continue  to  share  its  experience with other agencies, to the benefit of the framework as a whole. 

6.27 Finance also supports the ICC in its review of advertising campaigns.  For each of the ICC’s meetings, Finance prepares a brief for the committee  which typically includes: 

 background information and the key elements of the campaign; 

 the PRG’s comments on the campaign (or a summary of the comments); 

 a summary of any previous ICC consideration of the campaign, and  agency changes to campaign materials in response; 

 Finance’s own comments on the agency’s campaign materials, such as  in regard to market research or creative concept testing; and 

 suggested  talking  points  for  the  ICC,  drawing  upon  the  range  of  matters listed above. 

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6.28 Overall, the ANAO found the advisory support provided by Finance to  the ICC for the three campaigns to be sound.198 Finance’s careful consideration  of campaign materials and supporting documentation, particularly market and  creative concept research, led it to draw a range of key matters to the attention  of the ICC, for the committee to discuss with the relevant departments and  consider in its review. 

Ongoing Independent Communications Committee review of campaigns 6.29 As  previously  noted  in  paragraph  1.7,  the  ICC  advises  on  the  compliance of proposed campaigns valued at $250 000 or more, with Principles  1 to 4 of the 2010 Guidelines.199 For advertising campaigns valued at less than  $250 000, agency chief executives have the discretion to seek consideration of  these  campaigns  by  the  ICC.  The  ICC’s  review  of  advertising  campaigns  typically requires a number of meetings with agencies to consider campaign  materials and supporting documentation200, at various stages of the campaign’s  development. The ICC provides a report advising the relevant agency chief  executive  on  the  campaign’s  compliance  with  Principles  1  to  4  of  the  Guidelines. 

6.30 The ICC’s review of the HAP and NBN campaigns resulted in a range  of improvements by the responsible departments to campaign materials a nd  supporting documentation, which led to the strengthening of each campaign’s  compliance with the 2010 Guidelines. Examples include: 

 adjustments to creative materials (such as television scripts), to ensure  that audiences would be able to distinguish between facts and opinion,  or that campaign statements were factually accurate; 

 the  provision  of  a  range  of  additional  supporting  documentation  to  strengthen the verification of factual campaign statements; and 

                                                       198 This was also a finding of ANAO Audit Report No.24, 2011-12, see paragraph 24. 199

The ICC is also responsible for: overseeing the operation of the Guidelines to ensure compliance with their integrity and spirit; reporting to responsible Ministers on activities undertaken under the Guidelines, as necessary, including any trends and emerging issues; and considering and proposing to responsible Ministers any revisions to the Guidelines as necessary in light of experience. Source: Finance, Campaign Advertising by Australian Government Departments and Agencies - Full Year Report 2011-12 (September 2012), pp. 3-4. 200

Such as market research and creative concept testing, evidence to support factual claims, information about the media buy and a ‘Statement of Compliance’, in which agencies provide representations to the ICC on the campaign’s compliance with the first four principles of the Guidelines.

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 adjustments by agencies to their Statement of Compliance, to improve  their documented representations on the campaign’s compliance with  the Guidelines. 

6.31 The ICC review and advisory process is a key element of the Australian  Government’s  campaign  advertising  framework  and  it  is  essential  that  agencies are well organised to meet the ICC’s timeframes. In this regard, the  ANAO observed that DBCDE provided campaign materials and supporting  documentation  to  the  ICC  later  than  requested  in  the  context  of  complex  campaigns developed within short timeframes (see paragraphs 3.13 and 4.9).  To  support  the  ICC’s  review  of  campaigns,  it  is  important  that  agencies  provide  relevant  documentation  to  the  committee  in  a  timely  manner,  and  respond appropriately to any compliance matters raised. 

6.32 As discussed previously, there will always be scope for debate about  the appropriate level of external involvement in agency campaigns, and the  potential  ‘compliance  burden’  this  may  represent.  That  said,  the  ANAO  continued to observe, as in the previous audit, that there is benefit in third  party  scrutiny  and  advice  for  campaigns  which  are  viewed  as  being  more  sensitive. 

Application of the Guidelines 6.33 As previously noted in Table 6.1, the Government’s planned review of  the  campaign  advertising  framework  has  been  deferred  until  at  least  September  2013

,  with  a  final  decision  to  be  made  taking  into  account  the  findings  of  this  audit.  Finance  advised  the  ANAO,  in  its  response  to  Recommendation  1  of  the  previous  audit  report,  that  the  clarity  and  interpretation of the Guidelines, including which parts of the Guidelines are  mandatory and which parts are sound practice, would be examined when the  Government’s campaign advertising framework is next subject to review.201 

6.34 The ANAO’s examination of the Commonwealth funding of Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  identified  another  area  in  which  the  requirements of the Guidelines should be clarified. The Guidelines have been  framed  in  an  Australian  Government  context  and  do  not  explicitly  address  campaign statements which refer to other governments. This is an area of the 

                                                       201 Clarity in relation to the Government’s expectations is particularly important in the context of a framework based on formal certification requirements, such as the campaign advertising framework.

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 adjustments by agencies to their Statement of Compliance, to improve  their documented representations on the campaign’s compliance with  the Guidelines. 

6.31 The ICC review and advisory process is a key element of the Australian  Government’s  campaign  advertising  framework  and  it  is  essential  that  agencies are well organised to meet the ICC’s timeframes. In this regard, the  ANAO observed that DBCDE provided campaign materials and supporting  documentation  to  the  ICC  later  than  requested  in  the  context  of  complex  campaigns developed within short timeframes (see paragraphs 3.13 and 4.9).  To  support  the  ICC’s  review  of  campaigns,  it  is  important  that  agencies  provide  relevant  documentation  to  the  committee  in  a  timely  manner,  and  respond appropriately to any compliance matters raised. 

6.32 As discussed previously, there will always be scope for debate about  the appropriate level of external involvement in agency campaigns, and the  potential  ‘compliance  burden’  this  may  represent.  That  said,  the  ANAO  continued to observe, as in the previous audit, that there is benefit in third  party  scrutiny  and  advice  for  campaigns  which  are  viewed  as  being  more  sensitive. 

Application of the Guidelines 6.33 As previously noted in Table 6.1, the Government’s planned review of  the  campaign  advertising  framework  has  been  deferred  until  at  least  September  2013

,  with  a  final  decision  to  be  made  taking  into  account  the  findings  of  this  audit.  Finance  advised  the  ANAO,  in  its  response  to  Recommendation  1  of  the  previous  audit  report,  that  the  clarity  and  interpretation of the Guidelines, including which parts of the Guidelines are  mandatory and which parts are sound practice, would be examined when the  Government’s campaign advertising framework is next subject to review.201 

6.34 The ANAO’s examination of the Commonwealth funding of Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  identified  another  area  in  which  the  requirements of the Guidelines should be clarified. The Guidelines have been  framed  in  an  Australian  Government  context  and  do  not  explicitly  address  campaign statements which refer to other governments. This is an area of the 

                                                       201 Clarity in relation to the Government’s expectations is particularly important in the context of a framework based on formal certification requirements, such as the campaign advertising framework.

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Guidelines that would benefit from further review in light of this campaign.  Specifically, the appropriate application of paragraph 28(b) of the Guidelines,  including for campaigns which relate to other governments.202 

Recommendation No.2 6.35 To support the application of the specific requirements and intent of the  2010  Guidelines  on  Information  and  Advertising  Campaigns  by  Australian  Government  Departments  and  Agencies,  the  ANAO  recommends  that  the  Department of Finance and Deregulation clarify the appropriate application of  paragraph 28(b) of the Guidelines. 

Finance response:  

6.36 Finance  notes  that  paragraph  28(b)  of  the  Guidelines  provides  that  Government  advertising  campaigns  must  not  directly  attack  or  scorn  the  views  of  others, such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups. Although no  agency has sought Financeʹs assistance or advice on how this aspect of the Guidelines  should  be  interpreted,  Finance  agrees  that  there  would  be  benefit  in  clarifying  the  intended application of this area of the Guidelines. The clarity and interpretation of the  Guidelines  will  be  examined  when  the  Governmentʹs  campaign  framework  is  next  subject to review. 

6.37 The  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign also highlighted the potential benefit in agencies seeking third party  advice for more sensitive campaigns valued at less  than $250 000 to inform  their  application  of  the  Guidelines.  For  example,  this  may  involve  seeking  advice from Finance or the ICC.203 

Conclusion 6.38 Finance  has  responded  in  a  timely  manner  to  the  majority  of  recommendations  and  suggestions  in  the  2011-12  ANAO  audit  report  on  government  advertising.204  In  particular,  Finance’s  publication  of  the 

                                                       202 Paragraph 28(b) of Principle 3 provides that: ‘campaign materials must not directly attack or scorn the views, policies or actions of others such as the policies and opinions of opposition parties or groups’. 203

As previously noted, agency chief executives have the discretion to seek consideration of these campaigns by the ICC. 204 In addition, the 2011-12 ANAO audit report (paragraphs 2.32-2.34) noted that the 2010 review of the campaign advertising framework recommended that information regarding the cost‐effectiveness of proposed campaigns be

mandatory at the initial approval stage (with the Cabinet Handbook revised accordingly). At the time of that audit, PM&C advised that an updated draft of the Cabinet Handbook reflecting the recommendation was before the Government for consideration. The March 2012 edition of the Cabinet Handbook includes the requirement that proposals for information campaigns include justification of the cost-effectiveness of the campaign.

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Campaign  Planning  Guide  in  September  2012  has  assisted  in  clarifying  administrative responsibilities under the Guidelines, and Finance has reviewed  its  chief  executive  certification  template  for  alignment  with  the  Guidelines.  However, there is scope to further improve the transparency of the framework  by  reporting  consolidated  information  on  total  campaign  advertising  expenditure in Finance’s public reports. Finance has also actively participated  in and supported the new Peer Review Group (PRG) process, contributing its  experience in campaign advertising. In a similar fashion, Finance has provided  quality advice to the ICC to support its review of the compliance of campaigns  with Principles 1 through 4 of the Guidelines. 

6.39 Overall,  in  its  initial  15  months,  the  PRG  has  assisted  agencies  in  developing their communication activities, and has provided a useful forum  for sharing communications experience and building the capability of agencies  and their staff. The ICC’s review of the HAP and NBN campaigns resulted in a  range of improvements by the relevant departments to creative materials and  supporting  campaign  documentation,  thereby  strengthening  campaign  compliance with the Guidelines. While there will always be scope for debate  about the appropriate level of external involvement in agency campaigns, and  the potential ‘compliance burden’ this may represent, the A NAO continued to  observe, as in the previous audit, that there is benefit in third party scrutiny  and advice for campaigns which are viewed as being more sensitive. From an  agency  perspective,  the  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  highlighted  the  potential  benefit  in  agencies  seeking  independent advice for more sensitive campaigns valued at less than $250 000  to inform their application of the Guidelines. For example, this may involve  seeking advice from Finance or the ICC. 

 

Ian McPhee 

Auditor‐General 

Canberra ACT 

26 June 2013 

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Campaign  Planning  Guide  in  September  2012  has  assisted  in  clarifying  administrative responsibilities under the Guidelines, and Finance has reviewed  its  chief  executive  certification  template  for  alignment  with  the  Guidelines.  However, there is scope to further improve the transparency of the framework  by  reporting  consolidated  information  on  total  campaign  advertising  expenditure in Finance’s public reports. Finance has also actively participated  in and supported the new Peer Review Group (PRG) process, contributing its  experience in campaign advertising. In a similar fashion, Finance has provided  quality advice to the ICC to support its review of the compliance of campaigns  with Principles 1 through 4 of the Guidelines. 

6.39 Overall,  in  its  initial  15  months,  the  PRG  has  assisted  agencies  in  developing their communication activities, and has provided a useful forum  for sharing communications experience and building the capability of agencies  and their staff. The ICC’s review of the HAP and NBN campaigns resulted in a  range of improvements by the relevant departments to creative materials and  supporting  campaign  documentation,  thereby  strengthening  campaign  compliance with the Guidelines. While there will always be scope for debate  about the appropriate level of external involvement in agency campaigns, and  the potential ‘compliance burden’ this may represent, the A NAO continued to  observe, as in the previous audit, that there is benefit in third party scrutiny  and advice for campaigns which are viewed as being more sensitive. From an  agency  perspective,  the  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals  advertising  campaign  highlighted  the  potential  benefit  in  agencies  seeking  independent advice for more sensitive campaigns valued at less than $250 000  to inform their application of the Guidelines. For example, this may involve  seeking advice from Finance or the ICC. 

 

Ian McPhee 

Auditor‐General 

Canberra ACT 

26 June 2013 

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Appendices

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Appendix 1: Agency Responses

 

 

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Appendix 1: Agency Responses

 

 

Appendix 1: Agency Responses

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Appendix 2: Campaign Promotional Materials

1. During  the  conduct  of  the  audit,  the  Auditor‐General  received  correspondence from a member of the Australian Parliament regarding the use  of promotional materials  which were partly funded by the HAP campaign.  After discussions with FaHCSIA and Finance, the Auditor‐General decided to  expand the scope of the audit to include an examination of campaign‐related  promotional materials. 

Promotional materials related to the HAP advertising campaign

2. FaHCSIA used part of the public relations budget of the HAP campaign  to contribute towards the production of 20 000 ‘families kits’. The kits were  branded  with  the  website  families.gov.au  and  consisted  of  a  tote  bag,  containing: 

 brochures for the Dad and Partner Pay advertising campaign and the  Schoolkids Bonus advertising campaign; 

 a  postcard  with  information  about  the  Australian  Families  Facebook  page; 

 a calendar, which provided dates of when relevant families initiatives  were to commence and a magnetised ‘to do’ pad, both branded with  the families website; and 

 a pencil case containing pencils, a ruler and a sharpener, which also  carried the families website branding. 

3. FaHCSIA advised the ANAO that the kits were funded from the public  relations component of the budgets of three of its advertising campaigns: the  HAP campaign; the  Dad and Partner Pay campaign; and the Schoolkids Bonus  campaign. The kits were developed at a total cost of $96 105 (including GST),  $32 870  (including  GST)  of  which  was  derived  from  the  HAP  advertising  campaign public relations budget. FaHCSIA advised that there were no other  promotional/collateral materials which related to HAP. The kits were made  available to the public from December 2012 as part of a range of FaHCSIA’s  ‘family events’. Additionally, every Federal Member of Parliament was offered 

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100 kits.205 FaHCSIA advised that approximately 12 300 kits had been ordered  and distributed by 12 March 2013. 

4. FaHCSIA  described  the  kits  as  forming  part  of  ‘below‐the‐line’  campaign activities or collateral materials, to be used as part of public relations  activities.  FaHCSIA  advised  that  it  developed  and  distributed  the  kits  to  address  confusion  among  families  about  the  range  of  payments  and  entitlements they were potentially eligible for: 

We worked with our policy colleagues on approval of the [families kits], as it  related to research that we collected in the last 18 months around confusion  people had about what is available to them in family assistance. This particular  kit  was  not  a  schoolkids  bonus  kit.  It  related  to  a  number  of  measures,  including the Household Assistance Package, the schoolkids bonus, et cetera.  

... We are driving people to the Families website, where they can find very  simple information around the various payments they have access to. As I  mentioned, the research showed people were confused about what they could  or could not access in the payment space. Some of the research indicated some  people are not even accessing what they are entitled to. So [the fam ilies kits]  drives them to the Families site, where they can find out about the payments  and also other information around family issues.206 

5. In the context of the ICC’s review of the Schoolkids Bonus campaign,  FaHCSIA advised the ICC that it would introduce an ‘overarching narrative’ to  provide greater context for the range of families‐related initiatives as part of a  comprehensive below‐the‐line strategy. The ICC noted the ‘need for campaign  materials  to  be  developed  to  help  alleviate  the  confusion  that  exists  in  the  community around family assistance and child care payments’. It is important  to note however, that the ICC did not review the families kits. 

6. While the families kits contained brochures on Dad and Partner Pay  and the Schoolkids Bonus, they did not contain similar specific information on  the HAP.207 Further, at the time of the ANAO’s fieldwork (February 2013), the  families.gov.au  website  did  not  contain  information  about  the  HAP,  nor  provide direct links to information about the HAP. Subsequently, the website  has  presented  information  about  the  HAP,  including  advertisements  from 

                                                       205 The kits also attracted a degree of media interest and criticism. See for example, The Daily Telegraph, The pencil case now a campaign billboard, 12 February 2013. 206

Senate Estimates, Community Affairs Legislation Committee, 14 February 2013, p. 31. 207 The 2013 calendar included in the kits contained four specific references to HAP payments, in addition to references to other payments.

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100 kits.205 FaHCSIA advised that approximately 12 300 kits had been ordered  and distributed by 12 March 2013. 

4. FaHCSIA  described  the  kits  as  forming  part  of  ‘below‐the‐line’  campaign activities or collateral materials, to be used as part of public relations  activities.  FaHCSIA  advised  that  it  developed  and  distributed  the  kits  to  address  confusion  among  families  about  the  range  of  payments  and  entitlements they were potentially eligible for: 

We worked with our policy colleagues on approval of the [families kits], as it  related to research that we collected in the last 18 months around confusion  people had about what is available to them in family assistance. This particular  kit  was  not  a  schoolkids  bonus  kit.  It  related  to  a  number  of  measures,  including the Household Assistance Package, the schoolkids bonus, et cetera.  

... We are driving people to the Families website, where they can find very  simple information around the various payments they have access to. As I  mentioned, the research showed people were confused about what they could  or could not access in the payment space. Some of the research indicated some  people are not even accessing what they are entitled to. So [the fam ilies kits]  drives them to the Families site, where they can find out about the payments  and also other information around family issues.206 

5. In the context of the ICC’s review of the Schoolkids Bonus campaign,  FaHCSIA advised the ICC that it would introduce an ‘overarching narrative’ to  provide greater context for the range of families‐related initiatives as part of a  comprehensive below‐the‐line strategy. The ICC noted the ‘need for campaign  materials  to  be  developed  to  help  alleviate  the  confusion  that  exists  in  the  community around family assistance and child care payments’. It is important  to note however, that the ICC did not review the families kits. 

6. While the families kits contained brochures on Dad and Partner Pay  and the Schoolkids Bonus, they did not contain similar specific information on  the HAP.207 Further, at the time of the ANAO’s fieldwork (February 2013), the  families.gov.au  website  did  not  contain  information  about  the  HAP,  nor  provide direct links to information about the HAP. Subsequently, the website  has  presented  information  about  the  HAP,  including  advertisements  from 

                                                       205 The kits also attracted a degree of media interest and criticism. See for example, The Daily Telegraph, The pencil case now a campaign billboard, 12 February 2013. 206

Senate Estimates, Community Affairs Legislation Committee, 14 February 2013, p. 31. 207 The 2013 calendar included in the kits contained four specific references to HAP payments, in addition to references to other payments.

Appendix 2: Campaign Promotional Materials

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phase 3 of the HAP advertising campaign, which was launched in March 2013.  In this respect, FaHCSIA advised that: 

The families.gov.au website has contained information about HAP and direct  links to information about HAP when relevant. As HAP has not been an active  campaign  since  August  2012,  information  concerning  other  campaigns  has  recently been more prominent on the families.gov.au website. As phase three  of HAP is due to roll out from 17 March, information and direct links are again  featured on the website. Regular posts relating to HAP are being placed on the  Families Facebook page.208 

7. In response to the ANAO’s request for documentation to support the  above  advice  that  the  families.gov.au  website  contained  information  on  the  HAP earlier, FaHCSIA was unable to provide further evidence, advising that  in  late  2012,  the:  ‘department  had  instigated  a  new  job  ticketing  system  to  record online job requests; requests made prior to this were not migrated into  the system.’209 

8. In relation to the effectiveness of the kits, FaHCSIA advised that it had  received feedback from parents and stakeholders that the kits were helpful and  informative. Anecdotal feedback from parents at school events indicated that  some parents felt the inclusion o f the pencil case for the children was very  useful, as these are items that are always used by children. FaHCSIA further  advised that the families website experienced a ‘significant spike’ in traffic in  January and February 2013 (8416 and 6106 visits, respectively) in comparison  to visits in October, November and December 2012 (5272, 5145 and 4398 visits,  respectively). 

Promotional materials related to the NBN advertising campaigns

9. To support the regional NBN advertising campaign, DBCDE developed  150 information kits which were distributed to volunteer local advocates.210 In  addition, an NBN‐related newspaper, titled Connecting Australia was published  online in June 2012.211 Copies of the newspaper were also provided to the local  advocates.  This  newspaper  showcased  regionally‐based  people  who  were 

                                                       208 FaHCSIA response to the ANAO, 26 March 2013. 209

Subsequent FaHCSIA response, 15 April 2013. 210 The kits were distributed as part of a community engagement program, in which local advocates were to spread campaign messages via their networks, and participate in local events and media, as appropriate. 211

DBCDE, 21 June 2012, Connecting Australia - Winter Edition, accessible via: [accessed 13 May 2013].

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either already on the NBN, or were looking forward to being connected to the  NBN. The newspaper was translated into nine languages. These promotional  materials were developed as part of broader public relations activities for the  campaign,  which  DBCDE  advised  cost  $1.34 million  (GST  included)  in  the  2011-12 financial year. 

10. DBCDE advised that no promotional materials were developed for the  first phase of the metropolitan NBN campaign. 

Promotional materials related to the Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals advertising campaign

11. DoHA  advised  that  no  public  relations  activities  or  promotional  materials  were  developed  for  the  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals advertising campaign. 

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either already on the NBN, or were looking forward to being connected to the  NBN. The newspaper was translated into nine languages. These promotional  materials were developed as part of broader public relations activities for the  campaign,  which  DBCDE  advised  cost  $1.34 million  (GST  included)  in  the  2011-12 financial year. 

10. DBCDE advised that no promotional materials were developed for the  first phase of the metropolitan NBN campaign. 

Promotional materials related to the Commonwealth funding of Victorian hospitals advertising campaign

11. DoHA  advised  that  no  public  relations  activities  or  promotional  materials  were  developed  for  the  Commonwealth  funding  of  Victorian  hospitals advertising campaign. 

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Appendix 3: Examples of Campaign Advertisements

Household Assistance Package Advertising Campaign

 

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Regional NBN Advertising Campaign

 

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Regional NBN Advertising Campaign

 

Appendix 3: Examples of Campaign Advertisements

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Metropolitan NBN Advertising Campaign

 

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Commonwealth Funding Of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaign

 

 

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Commonwealth Funding Of Victorian Hospitals Advertising Campaign

 

 

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Index

approvals and record keeping, 49, 55,  57, 62, 68-69, 83, 87, 96, 104, 115-117,  128, 129, 132, 156 

C

campaign advertising framework, 38,  41, 73, 84, 128, 132, 142  campaign certification, 39, 41, 51, 52,  53, 57, 70, 95- 97, 115, 118, 129  Campaign evaluation, 51, 60, 61-64, 69, 

79, 88-89, 100, 103, 105  Campaign Planning Guide, 84, 128,  129, 130, 131, 132, 140  campaign timelines, 50, 68, 132 

G Guidelines on Information and  Advertising campaigns by  Australian Government 

Departments and Agencies (March  2010), 39-40, 51-62, 70-88, 95-105,  114, 118-124, 127-143 

I

Independent Communications  Committee, 39, 41, 50, 52, 56, 68,   71-73, 76-77, 80, 94, 96-98, 100, 132,  139-142, 156 

M Master Media Agency, 60, 79, 84, 103,  116, 124 

P

Peer Review Group, 41, 51, 69, 94-95,  132, 138-140  procurement, 61-62, 70, 86-88, 104,  128-129, 132 

S

Special Minister of State, 41, 118, 131,  135 

V

value for money, 62, 85, 88, 93, 105 

 

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Series Titles

ANAO Audit Report No.1 2012-13  Administration of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program  Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism 

ANAO Audit Report No.2 2012-13  Administration of the Regional Backbone Blackspots Program  Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 

ANAO Audit Report No.3 2012-13  The Design and Conduct of the First Application Round for the Regional Development  Australia Fund  Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 

ANAO Audit Report No.4 2012-13  Confidentiality in Government Contracts: Senate Order for Departmental and Agency  Contracts (Calendar Year 2011 Compliance)  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.5 2012-13  Management of Australia’s Air Combat Capability—F/A‐18 Hornet and Super  Hornet Fleet Upgrades and Sustainment  Department of Defence  Defence Materiel Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.6 2012-13  Management of Australia’s Air Combat Capability—F‐35A Joint Strike Fighter  Acquisition   Department of Defence  Defence Materiel Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.7 2012-13  Improving Access to Child Care—the Community Support Program  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 

ANAO Audit Report No.8 2012-13  Australian Government Coordination Arrangements for Indigenous Programs  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

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Series Titles

ANAO Audit Report No.1 2012-13  Administration of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program  Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism 

ANAO Audit Report No.2 2012-13  Administration of the Regional Backbone Blackspots Program  Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 

ANAO Audit Report No.3 2012-13  The Design and Conduct of the First Application Round for the Regional Development  Australia Fund  Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 

ANAO Audit Report No.4 2012-13  Confidentiality in Government Contracts: Senate Order for Departmental and Agency  Contracts (Calendar Year 2011 Compliance)  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.5 2012-13  Management of Australia’s Air Combat Capability—F/A‐18 Hornet and Super  Hornet Fleet Upgrades and Sustainment  Department of Defence  Defence Materiel Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.6 2012-13  Management of Australia’s Air Combat Capability—F‐35A Joint Strike Fighter  Acquisition   Department of Defence  Defence Materiel Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.7 2012-13  Improving Access to Child Care—the Community Support Program  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 

ANAO Audit Report No.8 2012-13  Australian Government Coordination Arrangements for Indigenous Programs  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

Series Titles

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Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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ANAO Audit Report No.9 2012-13  Delivery of Bereavement and Family Support Services through the Defence  Community Organisation  Department of Defence  Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.10 2012-13  Managing Aged Care Complaints  Department of Health and Ageing 

ANAO Audit Report No.11 2012-13  Establishment, Implementation and Administration of the Quarantined Heritage  Component of the Local Jobs Stream of the Jobs Fund  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and  Communities 

ANAO Audit Report No.12 2012-13  Administration of Commonwealth Responsibilities under the National Partnership  Agreement on Preventive Health  Australian National Preventive Health Agency  Department of Health and Ageing 

ANAO Audit Report No.13 2012-13  The Provision of Policing Services to the Australian Capital Territory  Australian Federal Police 

ANAO Audit Report No.14 2012-13  Delivery of Workplace Relations Services by the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations  Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman 

ANAO Audit Report No.15 2012-13  2011-12 Major Projects Report   Defence Materiel Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.16 2012-13  Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period  Ended 30 June 2011  Across Agencies 

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ANAO Audit Report No.17 2012-13  Design and Implementation of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program  Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 

ANAO Audit Report No.18 2012-13  Family Support Program: Communities for Children  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.19 2012-13  Administration of New Income Management in the Northern Territory  Department of Human Services 

ANAO Audit Report No.20 2012-13  Administration of the Domestic Fishing Compliance Program  Australian Fisheries Management Authority 

ANAO Audit Report No.21 2012-13  Individual Management Services Provided to People in Immigration Detention  Department of Immigration and Citizenship 

ANAO Audit Report No.22 2012-13  Administration of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Contractors Voluntary  Exit Grants Program  Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 

ANAO Audit Report No.23 2012-13  The Australian Government Reconstruction Inspectorate’s Conduct of Value for  Money Reviews of Flood Reconstruction Projects in Victoria  Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 

ANAO Audit Report No.24 2012-13  The Preparation and Delivery of the Natural Disaster Recovery Work Plans for  Queensland and Victoria  Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 

ANAO Audit Report No.25 2012-13  Defence’s Implementation of Audit Recommendations  Department of Defence 

   

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ANAO Audit Report No.17 2012-13  Design and Implementation of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program  Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 

ANAO Audit Report No.18 2012-13  Family Support Program: Communities for Children  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.19 2012-13  Administration of New Income Management in the Northern Territory  Department of Human Services 

ANAO Audit Report No.20 2012-13  Administration of the Domestic Fishing Compliance Program  Australian Fisheries Management Authority 

ANAO Audit Report No.21 2012-13  Individual Management Services Provided to People in Immigration Detention  Department of Immigration and Citizenship 

ANAO Audit Report No.22 2012-13  Administration of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Contractors Voluntary  Exit Grants Program  Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 

ANAO Audit Report No.23 2012-13  The Australian Government Reconstruction Inspectorate’s Conduct of Value for  Money Reviews of Flood Reconstruction Projects in Victoria  Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 

ANAO Audit Report No.24 2012-13  The Preparation and Delivery of the Natural Disaster Recovery Work Plans for  Queensland and Victoria  Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport 

ANAO Audit Report No.25 2012-13  Defence’s Implementation of Audit Recommendations  Department of Defence 

   

Series Titles

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Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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ANAO Audit Report No.26 2012-13  Remediation of the Lightweight Torpedo Replacement Project  Department of Defence; Defence Material Organisation 

ANAO Audit Report No.27 2012-13  Administration of the Research Block Grants Program  Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and  Tertiary Education 

ANAO Report No.28 2012-13  The Australian Government Performance Measurement and Reporting Framework:  Pilot Project to Audit Key Performance Indicators  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.29 2012-13  Administration of the Veterans’ Children Education Schemes  Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.30 2012-13  Management of Detained Goods  Australian Customs and Border Protection Service 

ANAO Audit Report No.31 2012-13  Implementation of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.32 2012-13  Grants for the Construction of the Adelaide Desalination Plant  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and  Communities  Department of Finance and Deregulation  Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 

ANAO Audit Report No.33 2012-13  The Regulation of Tax Practitioners by the Tax Practitioners Board  Tax Practitioners Board  Australian Taxation Office 

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ANAO Audit Report No.34 2012-13  Preparation of the Tax Expenditures Statement  Department of the Treasury  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No.35 2012-13  Control of Credit Card Use  Australian Trade Commission  Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet  Geoscience Australia 

ANAO Audit Report No.36 2012-13  Commonwealth Environmental Water Activities  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and  Communities 

ANAO Audit Report No.37 2012-13  Administration of Grants from the Education Investment Fund  Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and  Tertiary Education 

ANAO Audit Report No.38 2012-13  Indigenous Early Childhood Development: Children and Family Centres  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 

ANAO Audit Report No.39 2012-13  AusAID’s Management of Infrastructure Aid to Indonesia  Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) 

ANAO Audit Report No. 40 2012-13  Recovery of Centrelink Payment Debts by External Collection Agencies  Department of Human Services 

ANAO Audit Report No.41 2012-13  The Award of Grants Under the Supported Accommodation Innovation Fund  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.42 2012-13  Co‐location of the Department of Human Services’ Shopfronts  Department of Human Services 

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ANAO Audit Report No.34 2012-13  Preparation of the Tax Expenditures Statement  Department of the Treasury  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No.35 2012-13  Control of Credit Card Use  Australian Trade Commission  Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet  Geoscience Australia 

ANAO Audit Report No.36 2012-13  Commonwealth Environmental Water Activities  Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and  Communities 

ANAO Audit Report No.37 2012-13  Administration of Grants from the Education Investment Fund  Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and  Tertiary Education 

ANAO Audit Report No.38 2012-13  Indigenous Early Childhood Development: Children and Family Centres  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 

ANAO Audit Report No.39 2012-13  AusAID’s Management of Infrastructure Aid to Indonesia  Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) 

ANAO Audit Report No. 40 2012-13  Recovery of Centrelink Payment Debts by External Collection Agencies  Department of Human Services 

ANAO Audit Report No.41 2012-13  The Award of Grants Under the Supported Accommodation Innovation Fund  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.42 2012-13  Co‐location of the Department of Human Services’ Shopfronts  Department of Human Services 

Series Titles

ANAO Audit Report No.54 2012-13

Administration of Government Advertising Arrangements: August 2011 to March 2013

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ANAO Audit Report No.43 2012-13  Establishment, Implementation and Administration of the General Component of the  Local Jobs Stream of the Jobs Fund  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 

ANAO Audit Report No. 44 2012-13  Management and Reporting of Goods and Services Tax and Fringe Benefits Tax  Information  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No. 45 2012-13  Cross‐Agency Coordination of Employment Programs  Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations  Department of Human Services 

ANAO Audit Report No. 46 2012-13  Compensating F‐111 Fuel Tank Workers  Department of Veterans’ Affairs  Department of Defence 

ANAO Audit Report No. 47 2012-13  AUSTRAC’s Administration of its Financial Intelligence Function  Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre 

ANAO Audit Report No.48 2012-13  Management of the Targeted Community Care (Mental Health) Program  Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 

ANAO Audit Report No.49 2012-13  Interim Phase of the Audits of the Financial Statements of Major General Government  Sector Agencies for the year ending 30 June 2013  Across Agencies 

ANAO Audit Report No.50 2012-13  Administration of the GP Super Clinics Program  Department of Health and Ageing 

ANAO Audit Report No.51 2012-13  Management of the Australian Taxation Office’s Property Portfolio  Australian Taxation Office 

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ANAO Audit Report No.52 2012-13  Management of Debt Relief Arrangements  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No.53  Agencies’ Implementation of Performance Audit Recommendations  Across Agencies 

 

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ANAO Audit Report No.52 2012-13  Management of Debt Relief Arrangements  Australian Taxation Office 

ANAO Audit Report No.53  Agencies’ Implementation of Performance Audit Recommendations  Across Agencies 

 

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Current Better Practice Guides

The following Better Practice Guides are available on the ANAO website. 

 

Preparation of Financial Statements by Public Sector Entities  Jun 2013 

Human  Resource  Management  Information  Systems  -  Risks  and Controls  Jun 2013 

Public Sector Internal Audit  Sept 2012 

Public Sector Environmental Management  Apr 2012 

Developing  and  Managing  Contracts  -  Getting  the  right  outcome, achieving value for money  Feb 2012 

Public Sector Audit Committees  Aug 2011 

Fraud Control in Australian Government Entities  Mar 2011 

Strategic  and  Operational  Management  of  Assets  by  Public  Sector  Entities  -  Delivering  agreed  outcomes  through  an  efficient and optimal asset base 

Sept 2010 

Implementing Better Practice Grants Administration  Jun 2010 

Planning and Approving Projects - an Executive Perspective  Jun 2010 

Innovation in the Public Sector - Enabling Better Performance,  Driving New Directions  Dec 2009 

SAP ECC 6.0 - Security and Control  Jun 2009 

Business Continuity Management - Building resilience in public  sector entities  Jun 2009 

Developing and Managing Internal Budgets  Jun 2008 

Agency Management of Parliamentary Workflow  May 2008 

Fairness and Transparency in Purchasing Decisions - Probity in  Australian Government Procurement  Aug 2007 

Administering Regulation  Mar 2007 

Implementation  of  Program  and  Policy  Initiatives  -  Making  implementation matter  Oct 2006       

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