The NSW Government is investing AUD$6.7b over four years to deliver more than 190 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. In addition, a record AUD$1.3b is being spent on school maintenance over five years. As part of this program, School Infrastructure NSW (SINSW) delivered a number of schools at the start of the 2020 school year, which involved the planning and delivery of a range of community engagement initiatives to support back-to-school activities. At the time, SINSW was also managing a high number of projects in varying stages of the project lifecycle.
From November 2019, TSA’s communication and engagement experts joined the SINSW community engagement team on secondment, as part of a new leadership structure. Together with other senior managers, TSA managed a large team of community engagement professionals, to successfully overcome engagement and project challenges.
TSA’s community engagement function at SINSW initially centred on supporting the delivery of school projects, but has now expanded. It will also support SINSW maintenance projects across the state’s 2,200 schools as well as the development of an engagement framework and approach for the early phases of SINSW projects. TSA’s role encompasses:
- Communications and engagement activities to support the project lifecycle.
- General issues management with projects in delivery, including the escalation point for issues.
- Development, review and approval of all levels of community engagement strategies and plans.
- Development, review and approval of project related engagement collateral.
- Mentoring and advising team members, providing support via issues management and personal development.
- Support and delivery of general proactive engagement activities including information sessions and face-to-face stakeholder meetings.
- Working closely with the SINSW leadership team, including meetings with Executive Directors and daily interaction with the COO and CEO.
- Resource management including performance management and recruitment support.
- Significant contentious issues management including asbestos, political sensitivities and stakeholder perception management.
- Development of new protocols and processes to improve the delivery of engagement activities.
- Project management of the Day 1, Term 1 Program for 16 school projects opening at the start of school in 2020.
By respecting the existing project team culture, assuming responsibility for work and issues as they arise, demonstrating complete commitment to achieving SINSW objectives and upholding high performance standards, the TSA project team have proven a valuable addition to the SINSW Infrastructure Community Engagement program.
Seamlessly integrating with SINSW’s broader project team, TSA’s people have had their initial SINSW contracts repeatedly extended as they continue to add value to the delivery SINSW projects across the state.