VISA - A Framework for Assessing Government Communications

A new system for monitoring and evaluating government communications, under the acronym VISA, had been created on the basis of the results of the project Government Communication 2007 and earlier studies carried out at the ministries. To develop the system, the Communication Research Centre (CRC) at the University of Helsinki has carried out several subprojects to gain information on the targets of and procedures used in current methods of monitoring and evaluating the ministries’ communication processes and their performance. The CRC has also used the research material to identify those evaluation factors that will be essential for creating a working, easy-to-use tool for monitoring and evaluating government communication. Several areas in the evaluation process have been pointed out for further development and will be mentioned in the recommendations presented at the end of the research report.

VISA has been developed to provide a basis for evaluation of the effectiveness of communication in ministries and government agencies and institutions. The system should be developed further and evaluated with regard to the specific viewpoints of each individual organization. In brief, the main target areas under the VISA system are as follows:
• Media research
• Communication with stakeholders
• Internet communication
• Feedback from the public
• Communication management
• Internal communication
• Resources

The research reports have presented results of research that could be used to create a government communication and monitoring system. The system does not consist of a single uniform set of evaluation indicators but a variable set of evaluation tools that can be applied in a flexible manner, since even government communication at the ministry level consists of extensive, complex processes that cannot be monitored or evaluated in an overly mechanical manner. In the report, evaluation processes and levels are divided into self-evaluation, peer evaluation and external evaluation, all of which require sound long-term planning and systematic analysis of the results to avoid pseudo-evaluation.

Contact: Salli Hakala, salli.hakala(at)Helsinki.fi

Crisis and Communication Research Projects are based on this model of the VISA -research project.

VNK 3/2005
Hannu Nieminen, Salli Hakala et al (2005)
VISA - A Framework for Assessing Finland’s Governmental Communications. Part I
(in Finnish VISA – Valtionhallinnon viestinnän seuranta- ja arviointijärjestelmä)

VNK 4/2005
Hannu Nieminen, Salli Hakala et al (2005)
VISA - A Framework for Assessing Finland’s Governmental Communications. Part II
(in Finnish VISA – Valtionhallinnon viestinnän seuranta- ja arviointijärjestelmä)

VNK 5/2005
Hannele Huhtala, Salli Hakala, Aino Laakso & Annette Falck (2005) Information Flow and Communication in the Asian Tsunami Disaster
(in Finnish: Tiedonkulku ja viestintä Aasian hyökyaaltokatastrofissa)

Heidi Lavento (2008)
KISA – A Framework for Assessing Local Government Communications. Acta 201. The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. Helsinki.
(in Finnish: Kuntien viestinnän seuranta- ja arviointijärjestelmä)

Hannele Seeck, Heidi Lavento, Salli Hakala (2008)
Crisis Management and Communications
The case of the Nokia water crisis.
Acta Publications No. 206. The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. Helsinki.
(in Finnish: Kriisijohtaminen ja viestintä. Tapaus Nokian vesikriisi)