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Protection of Northern Beaches Community

Question:

Discuss about the Stakeholder Relationship Management for SES Northern Beaches.

The Northern Beaches council stays committed and plans and collaborates with emergency services to ensure that the community is protected from risk. The council ensures protection of community from storms, floods and bushfires. Local Emergency Services and State Emergency Services provide service to Northern Beaches to handle emergency situation. The council ensures that the local community stay protected from bushfires The Northern Beaches cover an area of 257 square km and has hundreds of road and residential streets, so the community members need to be protected from road emergencies. The community members are also protected from floods and storms by agencies (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2017).  The members of the community are an important stakeholder in this case, because the State Emergency Services of Northern Beaches want more engagement of community members like youth and working population to deal with emergency situation of Northern Beaches (northern beaches, 2017)

Analysis of stakeholders involve the following steps-Identification of stakeholders by relationship to organization, prioritization of stakeholders based on their attributes, prioritization of the stakeholders based on  their relationship to the situation and prioritization of stakeholders by communication strategy. Harrison and St. John identified the first three steps of stakeholder analysis (Bourne, 2016). 

The stakeholders of State Emergency Services Northern Beaches can be identified by their relationship to the organization in the following ways

 Step 1: Functional Linkages- These stakeholders of SES northern beaches help them in getting volunteers

 Step 2: Latent - Dormant Stakeholder- These stakeholders of SES Northern beaches have power to influence but to the influence is not related to priority in legal framework or urgent , hence power of these stakeholders remains unused. These stakeholders of SES northern beaches have a supportive role.

Step 3: Inactive Public – These stakeholders of SES Northern Beaches have less knowledge and demonstrate less involvement.   

Step 4:  Advocate Stakeholders - SES needs their involvement with supportive actions.

Adversarial stakeholders - SES should use strategies to seek win-win solutions.

The RSL lifecare, Bupa Aged Care, Thompson healthcare Pty Ltd, Livingcare Forest Village, Australia house Nursing Home, Terrey Hills Nursing Home, Alexander Age Care, Ocean View Nursing Home, Wesley Nursing Services, sports clubs, doctors, local media like the Radio Northern beaches, The Manly Daily and the Karmic Ecology local business are some of the stakeholders of this case.

The intervening public is the stakeholder of SES Northern Beaches who provide information to the priority public and play role of opinion leaders. Intervening publics, like doctors provide information on to patients and teachers provide information to students. The strength of relationships with intervening publics determine the success of several campaigns(emergency services, 2017) Stakeholders who are active publics and who contribute to the success of an organisation, or  appeal to other stakeholders with that influence are considered priority public in  strategies of communication.

Stakeholder Analysis for State Emergency Services Northern Beaches

In the following table, the stakeholders of SES Northern Beaches are identified based on relationship to SES, prioritization by attributes, prioritization by situation and prioritization by communication (emergency services, 2017). 

Relationship to SES

Prioritization by Attributes

Prioritization by Situation

Prioritization by Communication Strategy

Functional Linkage: Volunteers

Latent - Dormant Stakeholders

Inactive Public

Advocate Stakeholders

  • Action indoor sports (1)(northern beaches, 2017).
  • Montessori, kindergarten preschools (180)
  • Schools (206)
  • Dance Schools (50)
  • Jr. rugby clubs (2)
  • Jr Soccer cubs (4)
  • Piano Lessons (5)
  • Aquatic centers (3)

?Action indoor sports (1)

?Montessori, kindergarten preschools (180)( (schools, 2017)

?Schools (206)

?Dance Schools (50)(hospitals, 2017)

?Jr. rugby clubs (2)

?Jr Soccer cubs (4)

?Piano Lessons (5)

?Aquatic centers

?Action indoor sports (1)

?Montessori, kindergarten preschools (180)

?Schools (206)

?Dance Schools (50)

?Jr. rugby clubs (2)

?Jr Soccer cubs (4)(northern beaches, 2017).

?Piano Lessons (5)

?Aquatic centers

?Action indoor sports (1)

?Montessori, kindergarten preschools (180)

?Schools (206)

?Dance Schools (50)

?Jr. rugby clubs (2)

?Jr Soccer cubs (4)

?Piano Lessons (5)

?Aquatic centers (3) (northern beaches, 2017).

The knowledge, behavior and attitude of stakeholders are contingent on a number of situational factors. Problem recognition, level of involvement and constraint recognition are three main variables for engaging stakeholders in communication.

The emergencies in Northern Beaches occur due to both natural and man-made events like landslides, fires, prolonged disruptions, building collapses, storms. The combat agencies for the emergency are Police and SES. The council supports these combat agencies through the Local Emergency Management officer. During an emergency, the Council supports frontline agencies like SES and act as a Local Emergency Operations Center. The Northern Beaches Local Emergency Management Plan ensures that there is compliance with the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act and the responsibilities of the responders and community partners are defined in the plan. The responses for disaster management are informed at region and state levels and support is coordinated between the community members who are affected by the disaster and combat agencies (Kim, 2014).

Natural disasters have affected the Northern Beaches in the past and because of climate change the northern beaches will be prone to emergency situation. Images of damage in homes of Collaroy beach in 2016 due to extreme storms received widespread attention in media. There is other emergency situation like fire and building collapse and the State Emergency Services will be able to tackle this situation with a greater involvement of community members.

 The Northern Beaches have a population of 266,000. The community members have an active lifestyle and the Northern Beaches council is committed to provide highest quality services to community members. The values of the Northern Beach council are to provide community members with safe, inclusive and connected lives balanced with the extraordinary environment. The Council provides access to information to community members by the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA).  The Council ensures to adopt an open communication model with active and proactive release of information in the following ways (northern beaches, 2017).

1) Open Access (Mandatory Proactive Release) - This information which include media releases, annual reports, meetings and agendas, Council Policies are available on the website of the council, customers can avail it free of cost.

2) Proactive Release- This information which is of public interest is provided to community members either free of cost or at minimal cost (Ulmer, Sellnow & Seeger, 2013). 

Identification of Stakeholders and Prioritization

3) If the formal application of the community members to access information is refused, then the community members can lodge GIPA internal review form with the Northern Beaches Council within a span of 20 working days. A fee is applicable in this case.

4) More Information is available on Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) website.

The Northern Beaches Council provides communication information to public by

1) Annual Report- This report communicates information to community members about how the Council is performing against goals which are outlined in Strategic Community Plans

2) Operational Plan which provides information about operations of the Council, policies and codes, strategies and plans to achieve long term goals and the records of the formal council are some of the vital information that is provided by Northern Beaches Council to community members. The Newsletters, media releases and Mayor’s message are communication strategies adopted by Council (northern beaches, 2017).

The knowledge of the community and attitude about floods and storms  in the costs of the Northern beaches was improved by the State Emergency Services and by the Northern Beaches Council by the strategy of Northern Beaches Flood and Coastal storm education. Disaster resilience was built within the community by SES with the help of an awareness program. The education program which was conducted between 2012 and 2016 was participatory and tailored. The Northern Beaches council collaborated with State Emergency services, Office of Environment and Heritage, Australian Red Cross, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW police and Ku-ring-gai councils. Workshops related to hazards and the Northern Beaches All hazards historic photograph exhibition was conducted to identify the needs, expectations and attitudes of the community members, to raise awareness about natural disasters and to build community resilience.

According to Leon Festinger’s Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, stakeholders seek internal consistency of emotions, attitudes, beliefs and values. Cognitive dissonance is very uncomfortable for stakeholders. The attitude and behavioral process of stakeholders are important. The stakeholders judge information to be irrelevant, relevant and consistent (consonant), relevant and inconsistent (dissonant).  A message is not trusted by the stakeholders if it is in contrast with the predisposition of the stakeholders.

Stakeholders will avoid and ignore inconsistent information; stakeholders only listen to information which is in consistent to their beliefs.  The three factors that counteract cognitive dissonance are perceived usefulness of information, perceived fairness, curiosity, interest and value of information.  Post-decision dissonance is heightened by three conditions like importance of the issue, length of the time a stakeholder delays choosing in between two attractive options and the greater the difficulty in reversing the decision the more is the agonize of the stakeholders(northern beaches, 2017).

Communication Strategies of Northern Beaches Council

The SES emergency services ensure to adopt the cognitive dissonance theory in the hazard workshops, educational programs and all other programs that plan to build resilience among members of the community.

The SES and Northern Beach council conduct workshops for communities like Emergency Panning for Children’s Services and Emergency Planning for aged care facilities.  The SES collaborates with Ku-ring- gai council’s community programs and the community resilience program of the Australian Red Cross community. The public relations of the Northern Beaches council and the state emergency services ensure that the community members learn about the local emergency planning agencies. The community members who participated in the workshop were able to discuss issues related to emergency planning with local representatives of the State Emergency Services. During the workshop, scenarios are presented by the State Emergency services which provide an opportunity for staffs of child care center and aged care facility to learn to cope with emergency situation. Activity books and senior booklets were provided to community members during these events to boost their confidence and enhance their resilience to cope up with emergency situation (Lee et al., 2013).

Exhibitions related to Floods, fires and storms are curated by local artist Cherry Corr. The curator delivered nine-pop up photographic exhibitions to community members of Northern Beaches.  During the exhibition, photos of floods, fire and storms that affected the Northern Beaches since the beginning of the 20th century was shown to the community members and it was demonstrated to them how SES prepares to handle such emergency services (northern beaches, 2017).

PR programs like mystery photo competition and drawing activity for children are conducted by Northern Beaches Council and SES to understand the perception of this group of community members regarding emergency situation

There was significant rainfall recently which caused flooding of the Narrabeen lagoon. A workshop was conducted by SES after this which helped community members to view the emergency services of SES on the site of flood. This exhibition increased the awareness of community members about extreme weather conditions and enhanced community resilience.

The Northern Beaches Council and SES also focus on conducting local resilience conference which is attended by various organizations and eminent speakers across the globe.

The State Emergency services and map where the vulnerable population of Northern Beaches is located who are at an increasing risk to be affected by natural disasters.  The Northern Beaches Council and the State Emergency Services conduct an analysis of the emergency services provided to community members. This analysis is aimed to understand whether the needs of the community members are adequately met (northern beaches, 2017). It is ensured that the public relations decision related to delivering emergency services cover every member of the vulnerable group who are at a risk of natural and man-made disasters.  The Northern Council and the State Emergency Services conduct several projects of public relation. The output of these projects defines people with vulnerabilities and specific hazards. The Northern Council and State Emergency Services develop maps and tables to accurately locate community members, who are at high risk of disasters (Millener et al., 2013).

The Northern Council and State Emergency services ensure that community members are protected from hazards and emergency situation. However, the range of services is still not sufficient for vulnerable members of the community, the services provided by the SES and Northern Council do not reach the members who are at need at proper time. The services delivered by the Northern Beaches Council and SES should require more collaboration and coordination of services (northern beaches, 2017). This collaboration will ensure that the hazard and emergency services developed by SES is more comprehensive. The strategies will reduce duplication in services delivered by SES. Also, the efficiencies and outcomes of the emergency services require improvement to enhance the reputation of the State Emergency services and to facilitate community engagement (Smith, 2013). 

Conclusion

It can be concluded that the Northern Beaches Council and SES conduct several programs to ensure more community involvement and to build community resilience which help community members to handle emergency situation. There are several PR activities like workshops and conferences which are conducted by SES to increase awareness about emergency situation among community members. However these services do not reach all members who are at risk of disaster and thus a more collaborative effort from SES and Northern Beach council is required in the process of service delivery.

Reference Lists

Bourne, L. (2016). Stakeholder relationship management: a maturity model for organisational implementation. CRC Press.

emergency services. (2017). emergency.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 30 October 2017, from https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/media/280/1168/_/wg9q0qhbztl9gks48w/State+Recovery+Co-ordinators+Report+-+June+2016+East+Coast+Low.pdf

Grunig, J. E. (Ed.). (2013). Excellence in public relations and communication management. Routledge.

Haddow, G., Bullock, J., & Coppola, D. P. (2017). Introduction to emergency management. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Kim, Y. (2014). Strategic communication of corporate social responsibility (CSR): Effects of stated motives and corporate reputation on stakeholder responses. Public Relations Review, 40(5), 838-840.

Lee, C., Lewis, B., Shankie-Williams, N., & Mitchell, D. (2013). ‘Towards a Resilient Sydney’-climate change adaptation planning for Sydney. In Proceedings from State of Australian Cities Conference.

Millener, D., Howley, D., Galloway, M., & Leszcznski, P. (2013, May). Flash Flood Warning System for Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Flooplain Management Association Conference, Tweed Heads NSW.

northern beaches. (2017). northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/. Retrieved 30 October 2017, from https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/

Smith, R. D. (2013). Strategic planning for public relations. Routledge.

Ulmer, R. R., Sellnow, T. L., & Seeger, M. W. (2013). Effective crisis communication: Moving from crisis to opportunity. Sage Publications.

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