Communications strategy

NHS Health Scotland and Childsmile have produced a two year communications strategy to support the roll out and implementation of Childsmile.

In July 2009 the Institute of Social Marketing (Stirling University) undertook research to inform a communications strategy and the development of local social marketing campaigns designed to improve the uptake of Childsmile within each local health board, with a focus on the early years.

For a full copy of the research report see ‘Research to Develop a Communications Campaign to Promote Childsmile within Local Communities’.

As a result of the research findings, NHS Health Scotland and Childsmile have produced a two year communications strategy to support the roll out and interim phase of Childsmile 2009-2011. NHS Health Scotland will deliver this strategy for Childsmile during the interim period of the development of an integrated model. In the longer term, NHS Health Scotland will look to coordinate the delivery of Childsmile communications further to support mainstreaming into dental services.

NHS Health Scotland’s oral health programme will make links with other relevant internal programmes and strategies targeting similar audiences, including maternal and infant health, early years, children and families and food and health.

The goal of the strategy is to drive uptake of Childsmile within each local Health Board with a focus on the early years.

The strategy will be phased in two stages: The first will be weighted towards dental surgeries in year one, and the second weighted in favour of nurseries and schools in year two.

The overarching objectives of this strategy are to:

  • ensure information for parents/carers about Childsmile components is easily accessible
  • ensure the public audience has the opportunity to hear about the benefits of good oral health in appropriate healthcare and non-healthcare settings
  • persuade parents/carers of the need for ongoing consent for their child to participate in Childsmile Nursery or School
  • influence parents/carers to understand and engage with Childsmile Practice
  • establish a strong and coherent Childsmile brand identity
  • ensure Childsmile information for professionals is easily digestible and understandable, especially regarding the ‘universal’ and ‘targeted’ components
  • recruit service ambassadors among key frontline professionals already working with families and young children
  • build allies among professionals so they can promote the Childsmile service, facilitate referrals and enrolment and endorse messages
  • facilitate effective communications between Childsmile staff and key frontline referrers through events, training, information provision and sharing, meetings and ongoing dialogue.