Communication and Engagement

What we do


The firm has a sound capability for the preparation of communication strategies for both private and public organisations. Our approach integrates tools and techniques developed in marketing, public relations and economics.


The firm has developed a framework for undertaking analysis and preparing advice to achieve integration of communication across channels. Recent assignments have given attention to the adoption and application of social media, particularly in public sector organisations.


Howard Partners are experts in performing independent strategic communication audits covering both internal and external environments for organisations in government, non-government, and industry. An evaluation of an organisation's communication activities is an invaluable first step to ensuring it is on track to engage with its many stakeholders and improve overall organisational performance.


Our interest lies in ensuring that clients receive value for money from their investments in new technologies and that the strategies meet their needs.


Our work in strategic communication is outlined below.


Projects and Assignments

Strategic Reviews of Communication Services for two Queensland Government Departments

February – May 2014, August – November 2013

The two projects required examination, review and report in relation to:

• The role, functions and key work areas of a Communication Services Division

• The best ways to service the diverse needs of the department’s business groups

• The necessary internal structures to ensure consistent and coordinated communication to stakeholders

• The most effective channels for the department to communicate to stakeholders

• Which services should be provided in-house and which should be outsourced.


The What, How and Why of Social Media – A Guide for Local Government.  2014

The Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) commissioned Howard Partners to investigate, summarise and report on the nature of social media and its use in Government engagement, consultation, education, and policy development.


The Report addresses all key elements of social media to provide an insight into how it can be harnessed to advance communication and engagement activities.  Download The What, How and Why of Social Media.


Connecting with Communities: How Local Government is Using Social Media to Engage with Citizens.2012

There is a growing recognition of the importance of social media to Local Government.  The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) commissioned Howard Partners to examine how Australian local government is adopting and using social media.

The study involved extensive consultation with the Local Government community around the country, and included a national online survey sent to all 560 local government councils.


Download Connecting With Communities.  The report was featured in the August 2012 Issue of Local Agenda, the Official Journal of the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW. The Issue has a special feature on "Digital Communications: Changing the Way Councils Communicate".


Listening to Small Business Forums: Report to the ACT Government. 2013


Howard Partners was commissioned by the ACT Government to lead a series of forums with small to medium sized businesses to ascertain barriers and impediments to sustainability and growth.  The forums were hosted at the Canberra Business Council. The project followed a similar project undertaken in 2011.



BARLEYmax™Commercialisation for CSIRO


Anne Howard played a major role in negotiating the licence agreement with the Australian food manufacturer, Popina Food Services.  In October 2010, the BARLEYmax™ team was awarded the CSIRO Medal for Business Excellence, noting in particular the relationship developed with the Melbourne based, Australian-owned food manufacturer, Popina Food Services.


Medicines Awareness Program for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia


Anne was retained by the PSA during 1991 and 1992 to develop and implement a number of highly successful Australia-wide campaigns. These included:


Don't Monkey Around With Your Medicines!

A National Medical Awareness and Education Campaign, run in association with the Commonwealth  Department of Health that declared March  as Medicine Awareness Month.


National Asthma Awareness Week

This campaign aimed to create greater understanding about managing Asthma and was conducted across Australia.


Sports Injury Month

Campaign to create understanding about sporting injuries run nationally.


Review of Communication Culture, Structure and Resources for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, 2004


Howard Partners was commissioned to assess and report on the Department's communication culture, resources and structure and make recommendations on the most effective organisational arrangements to communicate with the Department's external and internal stakeholders. The project involved:

  • Ascertaining the effectiveness of current communication activities by the Department, for both external and internal stakeholders
  • Ascertaining attitudes within the Department to present communication activities, and to communicating with stakeholders generally
  • Assessing internal public relations/public affairs resources and other structures throughout the Department and report on their effectiveness and appropriateness
  • Identifying best practice examples in communication resourcing, structure and delivery


Howard Partners developed a number of recommendations on the resource levels and structures needed for DAFF to achieve its communication objectives.



During 2018 Howard Partners is celebrating 20 years as an independent public policy research, advisory, and management consulting firm.


Howard Partners was honoured to have contributed to the Innovation and Science Australia Strategic Plan, Australia 2030: Prosperity Though Innovation, released in early 2018. Our Consultations Report and Expert Opinion Survey was released at the same time.


Howard Partners has recently completed the Performance Review of the Rural Innovation System for the  National Primary Industries Research and Innovation Committee. Publication is expected shortly.


The firm has also recently completed an innovation narrative of the Canberra Innovation System for the period 1998-2018.  Publication is also expected shortly.




Dr John Howard

PO Box 4090, Manuka, ACT, 2603


P +61 (0) 2 6273 5222 (Canberra)

M +61 (0) 4 0358 3600