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Comisiwn y Cynulliad
Assembly Commission

NAFWC 2010 (Paper 5 Part 1)
Communications activities to support Vote 2011

Date: 30 November 2010
Time:After Plenary
Venue:Conference Room 4B
Author name and contact number: Iwan Williams, ext 8039

This paper has been prepared for consideration by the National Assembly for Wales Commission. It has been deemed suitable for publication after such consideration in line with the Commission’s rules for conduct of business. Premature publication or disclosure of the contents of this paper is not permitted as this might prejudice the Commission’s deliberations

1.0 Purpose and summary of issues

1.1 The Commission has statutory powers to promote public awareness of elections and the current or any pending system of devolved government in Wales.  As part of that responsibility and in recognition of the Commission’s strategic commitment to promote and widen engagement in devolution and the democratic process, a communications campaign has been developed to advance democratic activity in Wales in 2011.  Vote 2011 offers an exciting opportunity to enthuse the people of Wales and further engage them in the democratic process.

1.2 The campaign is called Vote 2011, and seeks to articulate, to as broad an audience as possible, the three opportunities they have to shape the future of Wales in 2011.

1.3 These opportunities are:

  • National Assembly election on 5 May 2011;

  • referendum on the National Assembly’s law-making powers; and

  • referendum on changing the UK’s voting system.

1.4 This paper outlines the planned communications activities supporting Vote 2011.

1.5 Each activity has, and will continue to be, rigorously assessed against three critical benchmarks.  All activity must:

  • be accurate;

  • position the National Assembly as an authoritative source of information on democratic activity during 2011; and

  • ensure that the Assembly remains wholly impartial.

2.0 Recommendations

2.1 The Commission is asked to note all the communications activities developed to support Vote 2011.

3.0 Discussion

3.1 The following communications activities have been identified as effective channels to communicate the Vote 2011 campaign:

Marketing material and publications

3.2 These materials have already been developed, and have been available to the public at events, in the Senedd and at all outreach activities since July 2010.  Copies of leaflets are available on request.

Online activities

3.3 A Vote 2011 section has been established on the Assembly website, linked from the homepage.  All marketing and publicity material directs people to the Assembly website for more material.

3.4 There is an additional section on the Bus Blog, charting the Assembly bus’s tour across Wales, and includes videos and photographs of Assembly outreach in action.

3.5 Additional videos are being developed to be included on the Assembly website, sent to schools and distributed through the Assembly’s established social media sites.

3.6 In addition, when the Llywydd makes his three-stop tour of Wales (see 3.8 below), effective online publicity could be generated by the Llywydd ‘taking over’ the Assembly’s Twitter feed for those days.  We could add a prefix so that it could become ‘@AssemblyWales: Llywydd Tour’ (for example) and the public could be kept updated with comments and pictures from the tour, as they happen.

3.7 Consideration is also being given to developing a live webcast for the Llywydd, allowing people to ask questions about Vote 2011.

Media relations

3.8 The media relations strategy concentrates on local media, in addition to the mainstream national Welsh media.  It is currently (very successfully) targeting weekly regional media with information about all outreach activities as well as information about opportunities to vote in 2011.  In addition, Welsh medium papurau bro (community newsletters) are being targeted with prepared articles from the Llywydd outlining Vote 2011.  In January, we will be augmenting this local media activity with a second tranche of stories/articles about Vote 2011.

Outreach activities

3.9 The National Assembly’s Outreach activities inform a variety of audiences about the work of the Assembly and how to engage with and participate in Welsh democracy.  The Vote 2011 campaign continues with this work but also highlights the three opportunities to vote in 2011.

3.10 Outreach activities include:

  • attending all Freshers’ Fairs to engage with first-time voters;

  • presentations to community groups to include, young farmers, Women’s Institutes, Rotary Clubs, and local voluntary organisations; and

  • bus visit to each of the 22 local authority areas.  The bus will visually promote Vote 2011 and engage with local people at key community events or landmarks.

Pierhead events

3.11 The Pierhead has emerged as a prime venue for debate and exchange of ideas.  The Assembly should also be positioning itself as the leading voice on impartial information on Vote 2011.  A series of events will be held at the Pierhead to inform and engage with key interest groups such as the voluntary sector, business sector, legal sector, public affairs sector, media and so on.

Llywydd tour

3.12 As part of the bus visits across Wales, the Llywydd will be joining the bus at various stops.  Groups of first time voters and local citizens will be joining the Llywydd to talk about the three opportunities to vote and to inform the Assembly about how we can improve our methods of engagement going forward to further encourage increased participation.

Advertising campaign

3.13 The Electoral Commission is undertaking a substantial multi-media advertising campaign, with online activity starting on 13 January, with press, TV and radio campaigns airing on 24 January, culminating in a direct mail fulfilment close to the referendum date.  Consequently, the Assembly is investigating the feasibility of a more strategic and targeted advertising campaign, using discrete communications channels to target a defined demographic – for example 18 to 30 year olds.

3.14 We are in discussions with the same media planning agency as the Electoral Commission, to ensure that there is no tension between the Electoral Commission’s work, and any proposed Assembly advertising campaign.

Education activities

3.15 The Vote 2011 theme has been marbled through all education activity during this autumn term and will continue to be during appropriate periods of the spring term, based primarily around the issue of voting and the theme of democracy.  This includes workshops, outreach activities and also teacher training activities.

3.16 On 16 and 17 February 2011, the Advanced-level conference held in conjunction with the WJEC will be based on Vote 2011.

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