These ISSA Guidelines on Communication by Social Security Administrations provide ISSA member institutions with insights into how communication can support the core mandate of the institution. Good communication coupled with modern web and mobile-based technologies improves service quality while reducing administrative costs. It does so by providing support to the various business lines of the institution, by turning specialized jargon into standardized messages that are easier to understand by the public and by providing advice on how and to whom they should be conveyed. It reduces the need to respond to individual enquiries by facilitating self-serve approaches which in turn reduces workload for frontline staff. Communication plays a corporate role in conveying the overall image of the institution and its engagement toward the citizenry. Internally, communication fosters the development of an esprit de corps – a shared understanding – of the institution’s mission, values and commitment to service excellence.
The communication function also provides advice to senior management on the communication needs of the institution and on suitable initiatives to meet them. In that respect, communication permeates almost all aspects of the institution and for that reason the individual who has lead responsibility for communication usually sits at the senior management table.
The communication function performs and manages its own line activities such as media placement, media monitoring and evaluation of various communication activities. Perhaps the most important function is to serve as a clearing house for all communication activities within the institution. This requires quick and knowledgeable feedback and sign-off on other colleagues’ initiatives, and a clear delineation of roles. These are best embodied in service level agreements (SLA) where performance standards are set and agreed upon.
The guidelines support ISSA member institutions’ delivery of their mandate by offering guidance on:
- Developing a professional and effective communication structure/framework;
- Building a team of highly proficient communication experts;
- Setting and monitoring clear communication tools;
- Achieving excellence in the execution of communication;
- Introducing a communications governance plan.
Consistency between all communication channels (digital, telephone, outgoing correspondence, chatbots, face-to-face) is key to service excellence.