Stakeholder Engagement Strategy

Latest update: 06 July 2012

Printable version of ANPHA Stakeholder Engagement Strategy (PDF 73 KB)

JUNE 2012

A. Stakeholder Engagement Strategy

I. Introduction

  1. Effective, comprehensive engagement is essential to the Australian National Preventive Health Agency’s (ANPHA) vision for a healthy Australian society, where the promotion of health is embraced by every sector, valued by every individual and includes everybody.

  2. ANPHA has developed and adopted this strategy in order to actively inform, promote and guide engagement as a means to achieving the vision, mission and strategic goals adopted in ANPHA’s Strategic Plan 2011-15.1

  3. The support, advice and guidance that engagement provides enables ANPHA to deliver on its mission to be a catalyst for strategic partnerships, including the provision of technical advice and assistance to all levels of government, to promote health and reduce health risk and inequalities and to initiate actions to promote health across the entire Australian community.1

  4. This strategy will guide ANPHA’s engagement with the diverse range of organisations and individuals who can affect - or be affected by - ANPHA’s work. As a small organisation, ANPHA will need to make the best use of its time and resources, and of other people’s time, by engaging effectively and efficiently with its stakeholders.

  5. This strategy sets out how ANPHA will engage with others to inform action and advice, build strategic partnerships and to support disease prevention and health promotion efforts throughout the Australian community.

II. ANPHA—Engagement and building relationships

  1. Engagement is a two-way process that creates opportunities for ANPHA and its stakeholders to draw on each other’s knowledge and capacity, share lessons, and build partnerships and support for effective disease prevention and health promotion efforts that can then positively affect health behaviours throughout Australia.

  2. Through engagement, ANPHA seeks to harness the best evidence and practice knowledge available, with a focus on innovative practice and new evidence, in order to disseminate it and use it, to achieve ANPHA’s goals and planned results. ANPHA aims to share this evidence and knowledge as a standard part of its work so the broader prevention community has guided access to it. This will encourage awareness and adoption of effective prevention policy and programs, as well as prompting national dialogue around these topics.

  3. By developing partnerships and collaborations, ANPHA will broker and add value to the scaling up of evidence-based effort.

III. Identifying our stakeholders

  1. ANPHA needs to engage stakeholders at a national, state and local level, across all levels and portfolios of government, the health system, research community, industry, media and Non-Government Organisation (NGO) and community sectors. Many of these groups already make a significant contribution to population-based disease prevention and health promotion effort.

  2. ANPHA recognises and understands that there is a diversity of interests and influences, including, but not limited to, those represented below:
    • Government at all levels and across a range of portfolios has decision-making and funding powers critical to ANPHA’s work. They are also large employers that can provide leadership in supporting healthy workplaces and workforces.
      • The Australian Government has a key role as a leader, policy-maker, legislator and funder. The Health Minister is a key stakeholder, as is the Department of Health and Ageing, other federal Health Portfolio agencies, Treasury and other Australian Government departments and agencies.

      • State and territory governments provide services, initiate preventive health programs and policies and have statutory and funding powers within their jurisdictions. The Standing Council on Health (convening the health ministers from all jurisdictions) and its subsidiary committees will be an important mechanism for engagement, as will cross jurisdictional working groups such as the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs and Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council committees.

      • Local governments control local amenities and environments and partner with local community organisations. The Australian Local Government Association and state peak bodies are also important contact points.

      • Health service agencies, particularly those that are involved in primary health care (such as Medicare Locals and Aboriginal community-controlled health services), as well as secondary providers, have important opportunities to initiate and support prevention with individual patients and to be a partner in population focused-programs in the communities in which they operate.
      • Industry, incorporating a diverse range of entities within and beyond the health sector, is a key stakeholder in building a healthy nation. The objectives and principles for ANPHA’s engagement with industry are expanded on in Section B of this paper.

      • Research associated bodies, both Australian and international, are sources of evidence, expertise and innovation. They include academia, respected expert national and international entities, and research and development corporations.

      • Health promotion foundations, public health advocacy bodies and peak health organisations and alliances including state-based foundations and public health bodies. These are experienced partners whose existing programs and influence will provide opportunities to extend and promote efforts across Australia.

      • Non-Government and community-based organisations, including entities not specifically focused on health, such as sporting clubs, schools, unions, special interest groups, organisations considering gender-based health issues, assisting people with a disability or those living in remote or regional Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and other groups that have the potential to reach large numbers of people in their daily lives. Other entities, including cultural and faith-based organisations, can facilitate education and associated programs and build an operational culture that supports healthy living and choices.

      • Workplaces, workforce development groups and employers across the spectrum of large corporate organisations to small business, and office-based and remote (such as mines transport, tourism and road safety) are also important as ANPHA embraces a settings-based approach to partnerships that supports prevention and health promotion.

      • Professional associations, including those representing the health professions and health services which have an interest in the capabilities of health professionals—particularly in the area of preventive health and the effectiveness of their training to this end.

      • The media has a powerful role in educating and influencing culture and opinion and will be a key partner in ANPHA’s strategic communications, including social marketing programs and other health promotion aspects of ANPHA’s work.

      • Consumers and consumer advocacy and representative bodies such as the many groups and organisations working in, or with an interest in, preventive health. ANPHA sees all Australians, regardless of age, health status, physical ability and region of residence or work, as the ultimate consumer and beneficiary of its work. For particular aspects of ANPHA’s work that targets specific consumer groups in the Australian community (e.g. smokers targeted through the National Tobacco Campaign or rural and remote communities), ANPHA will use professional market testing and research processes to ensure appropriateness and efficacy of its campaigns and messages.

IV. Principles underpinning ANPHA’s stakeholder engagement

  1. ANPHA’s engagement activity will be:
    • committed to ensuring stakeholders can inform and contribute to strategic goals;

    • focussed on ANPHA’s strategic goals and will be clear about what is to be achieved;

    • fit for purpose and proportionate in scope and scale to the purpose of the engagement;

    • timely so that opportunities to influence and support ANPHA’s work are maximised;

    • open, transparent and accountable, ensuring that no group has undue influence or access, and that a record of discussions and other engagement is maintained;

    • cost effective, using resources and time to make a difference;

    • professional and undertaken with integrity and respect for all parties, by placing a high value on the way ANPHA engages and listens and to build stakeholder confidence in its role;

    • targeting engagement to the needs of stakeholders;

    • inclusive of a large range of stakeholders; and

    • coordinated cross-jurisdictional approach to engagement.

V. How we will engage

  1. ANPHA will engage at a number of different levels to maximise the value of the engagement for all parties to achieve the desired outcomes. The forms of engagement will include:
    • information sharing – to provide information about ANPHA and its work and to learn about the work of others. This will be achieved through forums and meetings and the information shared will be used by ANPHA to provide issue-based, evidence-informed information and briefings, including to governments and the media, develop targeted information for a diverse range of sectors and communities and to contribute to community-based forums on topics related to disease prevention and health promotion—particularly in the areas of obesity, alcohol and tobacco;

    • consultation – to solicit opinions and expert advice about specific areas of ANPHA’s work and about the potential, or actual, impact of policies and programs it seeks to promote;

    • involvement – to engage stakeholders to become part of the development of a healthier Australia, by learning from their views and expertise and to support them to bring about change;

    • collaboration – to partner with other entities in decision-making, strategy planning and program design and to build relationships with entities or individuals that have particular expertise or comparative advantage in the field of interest and where there is alignment towards common or complementary goals; and

    • empowerment – to support others to take decisions that contribute to building the shared vision for a healthy Australia.

  2. The form of engagement will vary according to the piece of work ANPHA is undertaking and will be tailored to the scope and scale of that work. While seeking comprehensive engagement to ensure ANPHA’s work is well informed and positioned, ANPHA will also ensure all consultation is focused, fit for purpose and cost effective. Examples of engagement include the call for submissions on issues papers, input into national forums and involvement with ANPHA activities.

  3. The ANPHA Advisory Council 2 will review ANPHA’s consultation work on a regular basis. ANPHA’s Expert Committees, in a range of technical areas, will provide advice on specific consultation plans.3

B. Industry Engagement

VI. The context for industry engagement

  1. ANPHA’s engagement with industry4 sits within ANPHA’s broad engagement strategy. Transparent, appropriate and ethical engagement with relevant industries is important for ANPHA to advance its strategic goals. By clearly articulating its industry engagement strategy, ANPHA acknowledges that industry engagement brings particular knowledge and expertise to the effort to promote health. ANPHA acknowledges that while there are areas of shared interest, there will also be areas in which there are inherent conflicts of interest.
  2. ANPHA aims to foster a more conscious health focus within industry and, where possible, to achieve industry buy-in to the vision of a healthy Australia. ANPHA recognises that many companies and organisations take their responsibilities and role in Australian lives, seriously and are already demonstrating this through a strong corporate social responsibility focus in their business activities and policies.

  3. ANPHA acknowledges that the means of achieving its public health objectives will at times be fundamentally different to the aims of some industry groups. There are many areas of common interest between ANPHA and industry, as well as areas where consensus is not likely to be achieved. Both ANPHA and industry need clear expectations about how ANPHA will engage so that engagement is transparent, open to scrutiny and does not mislead any partners.

  4. ANPHA’s vision for a healthy Australian society involves reshaping consumer demand towards healthy living choices. Effective communication between ANPHA and industry as a stakeholder group will be important to ensure there is a consistent understanding of the evidence-base for particular actions and so that there is no misunderstanding about the potential opportunities for, and impacts on, industry.

  5. Given the priorities in ANPHA’s Strategic Plan 2011-15, the priorities for industry engagement will be those with industries that have a potential impact on reducing obesity, tobacco use and harmful alcohol consumption. The scientific evidence and programmatic experience shows that the major risk factors for chronic disease that can be modified by ANPHA’s strategic goals are tobacco smoking, harmful alcohol use, poor dietary behaviours, physical inactivity and unhealthy weight.
  6. Tobacco. For engagement with the tobacco industry, ANPHA refers to the guiding principles of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to which Australia is a signatory, which relate to the protection of tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. Specifically, the FCTC Guiding Principles are:
    • Principle 1: There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interest and public health policy interests.

    • Principle 2: Parties when dealing with the tobacco industry or those working to further its interests should be accountable and transparent.

    • Principle 3: Parties should require the tobacco industry, and those working to further its interests, to operate and act in a manner that is accountable and transparent.

    • Principle 4: Because its products are lethal, the tobacco industry should not be granted incentives to establish or run its businesses.5

  7. The FCTC further recommends that:
    • Parties should interact with the tobacco industry only when and to the extent strictly necessary to enable them to effectively regulate the tobacco industry and tobacco products.

    • Where interactions with the tobacco industry are necessary, parties should ensure that such interactions are conducted transparently. Whenever possible, interactions should be conducted in public, for example through public hearings, public notice of interactions or disclosure of records of such interactions to the public.

    • The tobacco industry should not be a partner in any initiatives linked to setting or implementing public health polices, given that its interests are in direct conflict with the goals of public health.6

  8. ANPHA intends to apply these WHO principles and recommendations in full. ANPHA will not convene a meeting with the tobacco industry unless ANPHA’s CEO believes the implementation of specific tobacco control measures requires such a meeting. While ANPHA has no expectations or plans for work that will justify such a meeting, it is intended that ANPHA will not meet with the tobacco industry without providing prior written advice to the Minister for Health and by publishing prior advice on its website.

VII. Objectives of industry engagement

  1. ANPHA’s objectives of engaging with industry include:
    • increased understanding of each party’s issues:
      • a better understanding within ANPHA of industry’s perspectives, available knowledge and program experience

      • an opportunity for all parties to share information on preventive health issues;

    • encouraging action by industry to address public health harms;

    • seeking feedback from industry on the potential impact of different approaches to health promotion measures, acknowledging that there may not be consensus about measures proposed, either within industries, or between industry groups and ANPHA;

    • consulting with industry about implementation issues that may need to be considered in relation to new approaches;

    • sharing (and scaling up) good, evidence-based ideas and lessons learnt, e.g. about positive spin-offs for industry in health promotion or healthy workforce programs; and

    • collaborating on strategies such as complementary consumer messaging and marketing strategies.

VIII. Identifying industry stakeholders

  1. ANPHA will engage with industry at both the individual company and the industry association level as appropriate.

  2. A diverse range of companies or industry bodies can affect or be affected by the creation of a healthy Australian society. Given its limited time and resources, ANPHA’s focus is on engaging with organisations that are influential in terms of market share or representative of particular segments of industry. These particular groups or segments include:

    • National and multi-national companies that have significant penetration into the Australian market-place, providing product development, retail stores, fast food/restaurant outlets, entertainment (e.g. sport), energy, agricultural, horticultural and automotive industries. Many large companies combine product development with retail and marketing functions across a number of sectors;

    • Industry associations are usually formed around the common interests of a particular segment of products or retail settings;

    • Health services and corporate health and health insurance industries share many objectives with ANPHA, including support for chronic disease prevention and management; and

    • The media, advertising and marketing industries interact with all relevant industry bodies, as well as the not-for-profit and government sectors, to market products.

IX. Principles and procedures to guide industry engagement

  1. The principles identified in ANPHA’s broad engagement strategy also apply to engagement activity with industry. This means engagement activity will be focussed and clear, fit for purpose, timely, open, transparent and accountable, cost effective and professional.

  2. The following additional principles and procedures guide ANPHA’s engagement with industry:
    • ANPHA will consult with and seek feedback from segments of industry that might be impacted by new approaches under consideration, to ensure that a diversity of views are considered and presented;

    • conflicts of interest, real or perceived, will be noted and recorded in all dealings;

    • ANPHA will be explicit about points of difference with industry, openly stating when it is necessary to agree to disagree. Meeting minutes and other records of interactions will record these differences, including the details of each group’s perspective;

    • ANPHA will provide industry stakeholders with adequate advance notice of meetings and forums; and

    • any information of a commercial-in-confidence nature that comes into ANPHA’s possession will be respected by ANPHA and handled accordingly, subject of course to the Agency’s statutory context (the Australian National Preventive Health Agency Act 2010, the Auditor-General Act 1997 and the Freedom of Information Act 1982, in particular).

1 Australian National Preventive Health Agency. 2011. Strategic Plan 2011-15. Canberra.
2 The ANPHA Advisory Council is appointed by the Minister for Health and includes members with expertise relating to preventive health, as well as a member representing the Commonwealth and members representing the States and Territories. The list of current members can be found at:
3 ANPHA’s Expert Committees are appointed by the CEO under ANPHA’s enabling Act. The current committees and membership can be found at:
4 ANPHA considers “industry” to include the entities and persons involved in commercial enterprise.
5 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 on the protection of public health policies with respect to tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry,(
6 World Health Organization 2005. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. A56/8. Geneva: WHO. Available at