A policy regarding contact with the media and the public, and the making of official statements from the Women Lawyers’ Association of New South Wales Inc.

 

BACKGROUND

The Women Lawyers’ Association of New South Wales (WLANSW) has approved a public relations strategy which includes specific guidelines for WLANSW’s communications with the media. WLANSW may be asked to comment on matters of a highly controversial nature including information that may be sensitive and confidential therefore it is essential that any comments that WLANSW makes to the media are made:

–  with an awareness of WLANSW’s responsibilities in respect of confidential information;
–  with an understanding and informed knowledge regarding the matter which is the subject of the inquiry; and
–   with an understanding of relevant WLANSW policies.

Accordingly, WLANSW’s management of communications with the media should be in the hands of the President, acting on the advice of Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of WLANSW.

GUIDELINES

Those authorised to speak on behalf of WLANSW are the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer and those authorised by the President or the Executive Committee.

It is good practice for any media releases to be distributed in draft form prior to release to the Executive Committee for consultation.

The first point of contact for media is usually the Executive Officer who should contact the President, then Vice President, then Secretary, then Treasurer or a person nominated by the Executive Committee or the President. This includes general queries, requests for information or requests for interviews.

No media calls or queries should be handled directly by members. If media contact members directly, members should either redirect or refer the query to the Executive Officer.

It may be appropriate on some occasions for members of the Executive Committee other than the authorised office holders, to make public comment and to provide background information to the media on a particular issue. This would normally be done in relation to non-contentious issues where routine background information is required.

No opinion should be expressed by members of the Executive Committee on matters of policy unless delegated by the Executive Committee or President. Arrangements for Executive Members of the Committee to give background information to the media will either be initiated or arranged by the Executive Officer who, where ever possible will obtain clearance from the President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer.

Where possible and where time permits, the President is to be briefed on issues requiring expert knowledge, by members of the Executive Committee with the relevant expertise.

The Executive Officer is responsible for the preparation and distribution of all media releases.

The views expressed to the media should reflect those of WLANSW not those of the individual.

Reports to the Executive Committee will include reference to all public statements made to the media by WLANSW.

The Executive Officer of WLANSW is to provide a phone number and email address on the website by which she can be contacted in relation to media releases and other media enquiries.

 

OTHER CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA

Occasionally members of the Executive Committee and other members of WLANSW will be asked to speak to the media in an individual capacity on particular legal issues. In these instances it must be made clear by the speaker that she is speaking in a private capacity and not as a representative of WLANSW, unless specifically authorised to do so by the Executive Committee or the President. If speaking to the media, members of the Executive Committee must not imply or allow it to be inferred that they are speaking on behalf of WLANSW unless they have the express authority of the Executive Committee or the President of WLANSW to do so.