Communication Policy

Overview

The Moira Anderson foundation is a values-based organisation that strives to communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders. Our core activities are the provision of services for children and adults affected by childhood sexual abuse and raising awareness of childhood sexual abuse. This is achieved by delivering sessions in community settings; and to statutory, and voluntary sector organisations. We recognise the sensitive nature of our work and seek to provide effective and efficient communication processes that reach various audiences. Following extensive consultation, we have developed a Communication Strategy, Communication Plan and this Policy.

Introduction to the Policy

The policy was developed following a lengthy and comprehensive consultation process in 2020 involving internal stakeholders including clients, managers, staff, trustees, sessional therapists and volunteers. The policy underpins the intention that MAF is an excellent listening organisation.

Policy Aims

An overarching strategic aim of The Moira Anderson Foundation is to be a listening organisation of excellence; an organisation where stakeholders can be heard and their experiences and feedback used to develop the organisation, services and the way in which services are delivered. 

The policy aims to set out:

  • clear information about the framework for communication
  • clear information about listening

Link to other policies and documents

This policy compliments other working documents including:

  • Communications Strategy and Plan
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Confidentiality Policy
  • Cybersecurity Framework
  • Complaints Procedure
  • Grievance Procedure
  • Whistleblowing Policy

Legislative framework

Some aspects of communication are enshrined in legislation and are non-negotiable. These include:

  • The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007
  • Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
  • Data Protection Act 2018 incorporating GDPR
  • Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
  • The Equalities Act 2010

MAF Responsibilities

MAF prides itself on providing a safe and nurturing environment for clients, staff, therapists, volunteers and trustees.  “Feeling Safe” is feedback often received from clients. The ethos of the organisation is built on the values of trust, integrity, resilience and compassion. The staff, therapists, trustees and volunteers have created a nurturing ambience that is conducive to healing. This is an environment where open communication can thrive without fear of repercussions.

MAF provides support and training as required to staff and others to further develop communication skills and knowledge to facilitate continuous learning and striving for excellence.

MAF has listened to the voices of the people who participated in the communications consultation and has developed the policy to reflect the emerging themes. These include listening; reach; inclusiveness; flow of information and feedback loops, and openness.

Listening

Our policy is to continue to listen and to develop ongoing opportunities for stakeholders to be heard and feedback to be given.

Types of listening

  • Conversational listening which can be a little erratic and threads of conversations can take many twists and turns
  • Listening in group settings such as team or trustee meetings, where people tend to talk one at a time and let the speaker finish
  • Active listening where someone focuses attention on the speaker and listens to words spoken but also is aware of what isn’t said and the speaker’s body language. This type of listening is used by the staff team when working with clients
  • Monitoring is a type of organisational listening where the organisation collects information about how things are progressing. This might relate to data that can be quantified such as numbers of people accessing services. It can also be qualitative information that allows us to check that client outcomes have been met or that funded outcomes have been met.
  • Evaluation uses the monitoring information for analysis and can lead to changes that further enhance the service or the client or funder experience of our organisation.

How we Listen

We listen to our stakeholders through the prism of our values of integrity, trust, resilience and compassion. We do this in a variety of ways.

Creative groups – groups explore issues with the help of creative mediums including crafts, art, making and doing. Examples of creative groups are experienced on our development days or development sessions.

Talking groups – focus groups allow us to explore issues that arise by asking pertinent questions and recording answers; applying analysis and creating a solution. Examples of talking groups included consultation on policy development; funding applications; evaluation forms and quality project work.

Written submissions – these include feedback forms; thank you letters and cards; client words written in case notes and comments on social media.

Oral submissions – we ask questions and we listen to clients, staff, therapists, volunteers and trustees in meetings; consultations and one-to-one encounters.

Data submission – we listen by scrutinising data gathered to highlight issues; to develop improved systems and to plan for the future.

Reach

Our policy is to reach a range of stakeholders and potential stakeholders to ensure that MAF is best placed strategically and locally to achieve our objectives and outcomes for clients. Details of specific activities can be found in the communication plan.

MAF reaches out to relevant strategic partners to further enhance the organisation’s participation in influencing policy and practice at local and national level. Named representatives are allocated to these pieces of work.

MAF encourages volunteers, trustees and staff to build relationships with community partners and businesses with a view to encouraging financial and in-kind support for the charity. These activities are curated through the various existing structures including but not limited to board meetings; board sub-groups; volunteer meetings; staff meetings, and conversations with line-manager.

MAF provides open days and awareness sessions for a variety of organisations and is committed to further extend this reach to GP surgeries, NHS teams and other statutory organisations to share information about Childhood Sexual Abuse and MAF services. The extent of the activity will be constrained by available resources. Priorities will be identified in the Communication Plan.

MAF is committed to reaching out to young people through other established organisations and in-house through MAF Champions Group. 

MAF is committed to working with other organisations on joint venture where our values and goals are compatible and resources allow.

Inclusiveness

MAF aims to have a range of communication methods to enable communication to be accessible. This includes having printed communication as well as electronic communication; providing age-appropriate communication; accessing translators as required for client participation and making reasonable adjustments to enable people with a range of communication barriers to become involved in MAF as clients, volunteers, trustees and staff.

MAF also aims to encourage feedback and participation in its work. This is achieved by inviting feedback from clients, staff, volunteers and trustees through a variety of methods including but not limited to feedback forms; Support and Supervision; team meetings and briefings; Trustee Board Meetings; Complaints Procedure; consultations with MAF Champions and the Client Advisory Group; volunteer meetings; development days and staff consultations.

Flow of information and Feedback Loops

Gathering information that informs decision making is one aspect of the communication process. However, once a decision is made based on the information gathered from one or more group, feedback to the group participants is required. It is MAF policy to inform participants of the outcome of their contribution.

This can be achieved in a variety of ways. The way the feedback is delivered will be relevant to the participant group. The outcome of the information gathering process can be communicated in person at a meeting to the people involved and it can be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. The outcome can also be communicated via social media; on the website; on the TV screen in reception and published on posters in reception using the – you said, we did format. The way in which feedback will be communicated will be decided by those who made decisions based on the stakeholder input.

The flow of information from and to the Board of Trustees replicates the line management structure. As a growing organisation it is important that this flow is maintained. This is supplemented and complimented by development days and sub groups which allow staff, trustees, volunteers and clients to work together on development projects.

Openness

MAF is an organisation of integrity and strives to be open in communication whilst balancing openness with confidentiality of clients, or a group of clients, staff, therapists, trustees and volunteers. Confidentiality is addressed in the Confidentiality Policy.

Annual reports and accounts may be requested by a member of the public or a stakeholder. They will be provided as requested. They can also be downloaded from Companies House. MAF is a registered charity and has a profile on OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) website. Income and expenditure can be viewed on OSCR website. Copies of the Annual Report are distributed to staff, therapists, trustees and volunteers.

Staff, volunteers and wider stakeholders are invited to the AGM.

Anonymous feedback forms are requested from all clients at each stage of their journey. These provide an opportunity for people to say things they might find difficult in a face-to-face situation. Collated data gives information for service development and improvement.

Complaints require the complainant to give their name so that any complaint can be fully investigated and the outcome of the investigation can be communicated to the complainant.

Complaints

Please refer to and use the Complaints Procedure for non-staff stakeholders. Should staff members have a complaint they are advised to use the Grievance Procedure.

Crisis Management

Potential issues of concern are normally identified through MAF’s Risk Register in order to monitor/reduce any escalation. The Register is a standing agenda item at the Trustee Meetings, and based on a traffic light model. In the event of a crisis, a response and how the response will be communicated is agreed by the Board of Trustees and communicated to relevant parties by the director and the chair of the Board of Trustees. If there is reputational risk to the charity, The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and funders, where appropriate, will be informed of the issue by the director. It is incumbent on the Board of Trustees to seek and consider appropriate external advice, such as legal advice, in a crisis situation.

Cybersecurity

Maintaining secure systems is achieved by using the expertise of an external contractor. MAF has assessed their security using SCVO Cyber Essential criteria and made relevant changes. As on-line services have developed MAF has put in place platforms that offer maximum client security such as Patient Access; an NHS Lanarkshire platform.

Succession Planning

As a growing organisation the need for succession planning is considered necessary and succession planning is a feature of the Communication Strategy Plan.

Equalities Statement

MAF values diversity and as such our activities are inclusive. Many individuals and communities experience unlawful and unfair discrimination and oppression on the grounds of their race, disability, age, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership and/or pregnancy or maternity. We believe that equality for all is a basic human right and opportunities for staff, therapists, clients, trustees and volunteers are developed within the legislative framework of The Equalities Act 2010.

We recognise that LGBT people may disclose sensitive information to therapists or staff. It is our policy to uphold their trust and maintain their confidentiality unless circumstances prevail that demands breaking confidentiality. Please refer to the confidentiality policy for further details.

Monitoring and Review

The effectiveness of the policy will be reviewed annually by a group of people representative of MAF Stakeholders. This will be led by a member of the Quality Project Group in September each year. Evidence for the review will be gathered throughout the year and submitted to the project group.

Any changes in legislation or regulation will be incorporated immediately.

Any requirement for an immediate policy review will supercede the annual review process.

Any suggested changes to the policy will be presented to the Board of Trustees for consideration and action as appropriate. 

Review Date            September 2022