During the Screening Phase, but not only then, successful PPP projects often make a specific effort to communicate the results of the various steps of the PPP process, as well as the decisions made during the phase, to the general public and to those specific groups with a particular interest in the project.
This communication strategy is commonly considered to be very important in order to promote engagement and soften eventual opposition to the project.
Thus, a communication plan describing the general strategy to be adopted should be designed at an early stage of the screening exercise, and it should be implemented by a dedicated and experienced team. The communication plan should include the following information;
- The identification of all the interest groups to which communication should be directed;
- An explanation of the main concepts to be communicated, drawing from the basic elements of the project such is its outcomes, the need it tries to meet, and the people it tries to serve;
- The identification of the media used to reach the groups identified;
- The main characteristics of the communication pieces, preferably specific to each group identified;
- The identification of the people inside the project team who should be considered as the prime source of information for the general public; and
- The description of a basic strategy for maintaining good relationships with the press.
The successful implementation of the communication plan can immensely reduce the political risks which large infrastructure projects are subject to, and thus attract the overall stakeholder support necessary for an effective procurement later on in the PPP process.