vic_logo

Manage ministerial content - digital guide

When to publish ministerial content and the principles and codes of conduct to guide your decision-making.

Before you begin

What is ministerial content?

Slot gameMinisterial content is content that is attributed to a minister. It’s distinct from an agency or departmental content. Ministerial content may be of a more political nature than agency content, which in line with public sector values, must be apolitical. 

Why manage ministerial content?

The Victorian Public Service’s role is to provide high-quality, professional support to the government and its ministers – free of political influence or bias. As such, your task is to distinguish between:

  • digital content related to the minister's electorate or political activities and
  • 'Victorian Government’ content, which will be of use to the public.

What does the Victorian Government recommend?

Slot gameAll agency staff should understand what ministerial content is acceptable and what content to avoid. You can publish ministerial messages on your agency’s website as long as the content serves the public interest and is apolitical.

What standards must be met?

Legislation

Part 5A, and section 97B, should be considered when publishing ministerial content. This provision states that public sector bodies must ensure that publication is in the public interest.

.

Slot gameThese regulations set out what are acceptable public interest purposes.

VPS code of conduct

Slot gameFor an agency website or digital channel funded with taxpayer dollars, where there’s ministerial content, you’ll need to comply with the Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) Code of Conduct for Employees,

Branding

Apply Brand Victoria. Refer to apply Brand Victoria - digital guideSlot game (specifically written for digital) for more information.

Getting it approved

Slot gameContact your Strategic Communications staff to find out who approves ministerial-related content for digital assets.

What agency staff can publish

Agency content

Agencies can publish any content classified as ‘agency content’. Agency content can be digital content published by:

  • departments, such as the Department of Health and Human Services
  • agencies, such as Film Victoria
  • statutory authorities, such as the Port of Melbourne Corporation
  • independent statutory authorities such as the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety

Ministerial content that serves public interest

Slot gameIt’s acceptable to publish ministerial messages on your agency’s website, when they serve the public interest.

Slot gameRefer to the . The list in regulation 4 provides guidance on acceptable purposes.

For example, a minister’s media release issuing a flood warning for their electorate can reasonably be included with VicRoads and other travel advisories on your agency’s website. However, this should only be done if the release isn’t already available elsewhere. Always check the media release section of the first.

What agency staff can't publish

Material of a party political nature

Material that relates solely to party political issues or might be categorised as ‘how to vote’ material can’t be published on an agency-funded site.

Other content may be borderline. To work out what is ‘party political’ you’ll need to apply your own judgement or contact your strategic communications staff to discuss. It will depend on the language used and its intent. Every case will be different, so you’ll need to make a decision case-by-case. For example:

  • unacceptable: A minister’s defence of government policy draws distinctions between government and opposition policy
  • acceptable: An announcement of a policy or new initiative from the Victorian government

In keeping with your professional responsibilities, in some cases you can legitimately decline a request to digitally publish ministerial content.

Slot gameYou should avoid linking from an agency’s to a minister’s private website.

Irrelevant information about ministers

Slot gameAgency websites should not publish information about ministers’ activities or views that have no relationship to the minister’s official duties (for example, their favourite books or discussion of unrelated activities in their electorate). Ministers can establish personal websites for such purposes.

When in doubt, escalate it

If you are concerned about material you’re being asked to place on your agency-funded website, escalate and raise your concerns promptly with your manager.

Rules for ministerial content

Distinguish it from agency content

Slot gameIt’s important to make sure that you distinguish between agency and ministerial websites. This is done using visual branding. Agency or Victorian Government branding or logos shouldn’t be used on ministerial websites. Ministerial websites should also use a different domain name.

Don’t use vic.gov.au for ministerial websites

Slot gameMinisters’ personal websites that don’t relate to the official business of government aren’t included in the vic.gov.au domain. The Parliament of Victoria website lists all members’ personal websites and social media channels.

Use the correct naming conventions

It’s important to understand when to use the capitalised form of a title (that is, when to use ‘Minister’ and not ‘minister’).

The general rule is to use capitals for a formal title (that is, a ‘proper noun’).

We use lowercase for informal titles, for example:

  • the state government has taken the bold step
  • the minister’s website...
  • former premier, Joe Blogs...  
  • Victoria’s premier, The Hon. Joanne Blogs

Slot gameAnd we use upper case (or capitals) for a formal title, for example:

  • The Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Joanne Blogs
  • The Victorian Government today announced new...
  • The Premier, Joe Blogs...
  • The Minister for Education reiterated...

Keep records when you decommission old digital content

Slot gameAlso make sure you understand which digital records to retain and for how long – check with your local records management officer for details.

Refer to manage online records - digital guideSlot game for more information on archiving or on the .

Slot gameReviewed 20 July 2020

Join the conversation on digital

Get advice and share your insights about this topic with other digital practitioners on the  (VPS access only).

Can’t access Yammer? Contact us by email: digital@dpc.vic.gov.au (We may post your comment on Yammer for general discussion. Please tell us if that’s not OK.)

Was this page helpful?