COMMUNICATIONS & ICT DEPARTMENT
The Communications and ICT Department is one of the units under the Deputy Clerk’s Administration Directorate. It is a four-officer department; with two ICT Officers, one Media Liaison, Protocol and Public Relations Officer and the Principal Information, Communication and Technology Officer as the Head of Department.
This Department serves the roles listed hereinbelow amongst others that may be prescribed by the Administration from time to time:
COMMUNICATIONS & PR SECTION
Monitor public opinion regarding the Assembly
This is done on particular issues in communication channels like Radio, Television, Newspapers, Social Sites; Website, County publications among others. Monitoring helps to improve on dissemination of quality information.
Maintaining Social Media Presence
The Department is charged with the mandate of running regularly updated Social Media platforms to cater for the information needs of tech savvy audiences in the Blogosphere. Mainly, the Assembly operates a Facebook page named ‘The County Assembly of Embu’ and a Twitter handle ‘@EmbuAssembly’ as the main Social Media sites. The department has also opened a YouTube Channel christened ‘The County Assembly of Embu’ where video clips of important events are uploaded.
Develop and implement communication strategies
Developing and implementing communication strategies for the Assembly is vital where the Department is also charged with advising the Assembly on communication issues and strategies
Planning of PR programmes includes the preparation of cost budgets, public participations among them planning Bunge Mashinani initiatives, Speaker’s roundtable with dignitaries and members of the press. Also to organise special events such as open days, visits, exhibitions and other functions of the assembly.
Present arguments on behalf of the Assembly
The section is mandated to present arguments on behalf of the institution to government, other institutions, organisations and special interest groups. A case in point is the liaison with the Committee Services Department to organise for a Public Participation training for all MCAs and legislative staff by the World Bank. The Communications Department was instrumental in drafting the request that was later approved by the Clerk.
Respond to enquiries from the public, media and other institutions
From time to time, in consultation with the Communications Officer, Clerk and the Speaker, the section responds to queries raised by the members of public as well as the media or any other institution or organization.
Arrange interviews with journalists
The Honourable Members or the Speaker may want to address the press and therefore, once they consult the sectional head, the officers will invite the media. A member who wants to address the press is advised to follow the Speaker’s rules and adhere to the standing orders by informing the section of his/her interest a day earlier.
Under this, the section is mandated to also prepare and distribute news releases and make statements to the media;
Write, edit and arrange publications
This means that the department is in charge of the production Assembly publication like newsletters, in-house magazines, pamphlets and brochures, banners rolls-ups among others. The department only managed to design one newsletter in the first County Assembly but this did not make it to publication due to logistical constraints.
Assist in preparing organisational documents
The section is also involved in preparation of organisational documents such as annual reports, corporate profiles and submissions;
Write speeches, prepare visual aids and make public presentations;
The section ought to execute the mandate of writing speeches for special functions attended by the Speaker, Chairs of Committees and the Clerk where they are required to make public presentation and give information over a specific role of the Assembly.
Oversee production of visual audio materials
This includes production of film or video, electronic material, including website productions; This means that the section is also required to deal with production of documentaries and audio programmes. The department currently sieves audio bytes of Assembly and Committee sittings before releasing them to the media to ensure only positive news is broadcast.
Conduct internal PR/Communication courses, workshops and media training
This can be for the staff working in the section and by extension all staff and Honourable members on roles of communication and media as well as parliamentary etiquette and decorum. However, this has not come to fruition due to low capacity and lack of adequate staff.
Plan, develop and manage brand identity;
This is done by managing the PR aspect of marketing through promotional materials like T-Shirts, banners, main gate and reception branding, brochures, flyers and leaflets to clearly identify the institution.
This is department is responsible for handling a potential or existing crisis out in the public domain through timely and structured rejoinders. This can be handled in conjunction with Crisis and Conflict resolution Adhock committee.
Procure sponsorship deals
This is meant to fostering community relations through events geared towards Corporate Social Responsibility such as open days and through involvement in community initiatives. Sponsors can be brought on board to colour the event and contribute towards raising the cost budgets of any event or service.
The section is also in charge of conducting protocol matters during meetings, visits and functions outside the Assembly precincts, handling travels and welcoming of dignitaries. This function is currently handled by the Security Department.
The office is mandated to act as liaison between the organisation and other government organs like County Assemblies Forum, Society of Clerk’s at The Table (SOCATT), Council of Governors’, the Senate among others.
This section should have programmers who are responsible for creating new programs for the organisation. The current ICT Assistants have helped create programs that are specific to the needs of the organisation, such as the Bill Tracker and Project Implementation Database.
The IT department, in conjunction with the ICT Authority has created and maintains the Assembly’s website. The two ICT Assistants are the webmaster and from time to time revise the design the layout of the site, write the programming code and test the site for its usability. The Assembly website is an informational site, providing contact information for the public as well as a portal to access legislative documents.
Creation and Maintenance of Web Mails
The department is responsible to creating and allocating official web-based emails bearing the @embuassembly.go.ke domain to both MCAs and staff as well as departments and ward offices. This is geared towards providing a standardised and secure mailing platform to all our internal publics, thus facilitating internal communication.
The IT department provides support to computer users in the Assembly. This includes installing new software, repairing hardware problems, installing new hardware, troubleshooting problems and training colleagues how to use new software programs. At least one ICT Assistant is always on standby at the IT help desk to assist employees with computer-related issues.
The two ICT Assistants are also responsible for installing and setting up the computer network in the Assembly. They ensure that the Local Area Network is operating properly and that all employees have the ability to communicate through the internet and company intranet; mainly telephone extensions. The department also keeps the system secure and troubleshoots the system in the event of a problem.
ICT Equipment Maintenance
ICT Officers are responsible for ensuring that all equipment within the Assembly and in Ward Offices are in sound working order. Troubleshooting, diagnostics and repairs of computers, printers, tablets and other devices are carried out within the office. The section advises on the general technical status of equipment that may need attention by a specialist of those that are beyond repair after logging complaints from users.
Backup of Information
As part of its roles, the ICT Unit maintains files in the Assembly servers and ensures regular backing up of the said files. ICT Officers also assist users to locate and retrieve the files when needed. The Assembly website also serves as an archive of Hansard Reports, Committee Reports, Acts and other document that are important in the functioning of the Legislature.