11.1.1  Introduction  (05-20-2002)

  1. This Chapter provides guidelines for the conduct of communications in promoting maximum voluntary compliance with the Federal tax laws and support of the Service’s mission.  (08-22-2008)
Scope of Communications

  1. The mission of the Office of Communications is to deliver professional communications services to our internal and external customers to support the overall IRS mission and effective tax administration.  (08-22-2008)
Office of Communications Organization

  1. The following describes the National Office of Communications organization.

  2. The Director, Office of Communications, reports directly to the Chief, Communications & Liaison (C&L) and is responsible for planning, managing, directing and executing Servicewide communications and all media relations. The Director provides advice and support to the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, Chief Counsel, Taxpayer Advocate, and other National Office officials on communications matters.

  3. The five branches that make up the Office of Communications are Internal Communications, Corporate Television, e-Communications and Marketing, National Media Relations, and Field Media Relations.  (05-20-2002)
Office of Communications Responsibilities

  1. This portion describes the responsibilities of the Office of Communications.  (08-22-2008)
The Office of Communications

  1. The Office of Communications works with business units and organizations throughout the IRS to develop strategic communications plans to achieve communications, marketing and public relations objectives. Through its five branches, the Office produces concepts, messages and products, and creates partnerships with a variety of stakeholders. The Office develops communications material to implement the major goals of the IRS, and distributes material to IRS communication managers for placement with local media.  (08-22-2008)
Internal Communications Branch

  1. The Internal Communications Branch is responsible for Servicewide internal communication planning and integration in support of the IRS mission, goals and objectives. The branch is responsible for Servicewide communications with IRS employees and manages Servicewide communication channels through the development and deployment of products and services intended to meet business and behavioral objectives.

  2. The main business units within the IRS all have dedicated communications staffs (http://clsource.no.irs.gov/clsource_cl/lkodsfds.asp ), which should be the first point of contact for employees requesting Servicewide communication services. Service requests can also be made to the Assignment Desk (http://clsource.no.irs.gov/clsource_comm/ch2icb.asp ) via e-mail to assignmentdeskclcic@irs.gov (*Assignment Desk - CL:C:IC), or by fax to 202-622-9875, Attn: Assignment Desk.

  3. The Internal Communications Branch is composed of communications consultants who provide services to the business units. The consultants use a variety of tools and work with program owners and embedded communicators in the business units to plan, deliver and measure communications that encourage behavioral change in support of IRS programs and initiatives.

  4. Communication research is an integral part of the Servicewide internal communications processes. Communication planning concepts, research tools and methods and research results are maintained on the branch's web site which can be accessed through the IRS Communications Center at http://communications.no.irs.gov/internal/index.htm .

  5. The Internal Communications Branch relies on those submitting Servicewide communication requests to ensure their technical accuracy through coordination with other stakeholders and subject matter experts. Adherence to product guidelines is necessary to ensure timely placement of messages in Servicewide products. Guidelines are posted at: http://communications.no.irs.gov/internal/ICProducts.htm .

  6. The Internal Communications Branch produces several products:

    1. IRS Today is a quarterly online/print servicewide publication that is written by, for, and about employees across the organization.

    2. Leaders’ Alert is a weekly e-newsletter for IRS executives, managers and management officials.

    3. IRS Headlines...and more is a weekly e-newsletter for all employees. A voice recording is also available for those who don’t have e-mail at (202) 874-5600 or (800) 998-NEWS.

    4. IRWeb is the IRS Intranet portal or home page. It includes a Servicewide news section that is updated daily and links for news from the business units.

    5. An all-employee e-mail is used when a message, due to its significance to employees (i.e., personal security) or systems security (i.e., e-mail), must be communicated as quickly as possible.

    6. An all-employee VMS is used to convey information that is of enough significance or timeliness to warrant a message from a highly placed executive, such as the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner.

    7. An all-executive VMS or e-mail message can be used to give guidance on a topic of importance to only executives, to share information while asking executives to cascade with their own personalization, or to give executives advance notice before receiving a message via other vehicles to managers and/or employees.

  7. Surveys and focus groups are conducted periodically to ensure that Servicewide communications products and channels are meeting the needs of Internal Communications Branch client and audience customers.

  8. Employees requiring communications assistance should follow these steps:

    If And Then
    You need help with communications planning, developing newsletter articles or VMS messages for a Servicewide audience your business unit has an embedded communication function contact your embedded communication function http://clsource.no.irs.gov/clsource_cl/lkodsfds.asp
    You need help with communications planning, developing newsletter articles or VMS messages for a Servicewide audience your business unit does not have an embedded communication function contact the Internal Communications Assignment Desk ( http://clsource.no.irs.gov/clsource_comm/ch2icb.asp) via e-mail at *Assignment Desk – CL:C:IC or by fax at (202) 622-9875.
    You need help planning/developing an informational IVT or video your business unit has an embedded communication function contact your embedded communication function http://clsource.no.irs.gov/clsource_cl/lkodsfds.asp
    You need help planning/developing an informational IVT or video your business unit does not have an embedded communication function visit the Corporate Television Web site at http://tv.web.irs.gov/How-sked.htm
    You need help planning/developing a training IVT or video   visit the Corporate Television Web site at http://tv.web.irs.gov/How-sked.htm  (08-22-2008)
Corporate Television Branch

  1. The Corporate Television Branch is responsible for developing and implementing a Servicewide broadcasting strategy to communicate the corporate vision, mission and goals. This includes supporting all executives in the development and implementation of strategies to communicate Servicewide and organization-specific information and training.

  2. Products and Services
    The Corporate Television Branch is responsible for design, development and delivery of:

    • Interactive Video Teletraining (IVTs),

    • Videotapes and DVDs,

    • CD-ROMs,

    • Audiotapes,

    • Interactive DVDs and CD-ROMs, and

    • Web streaming (prospective).

    • Video-to-Desktop (VTD) PSAs

  3. In addition, the branch manages Internal Revenue Satellite Network (IRSN), which includes: management of uplink equipment; maintenance, repairs and modification of equipment, and execution of expansion for downlink portion of the satellite network; coordination with downlink site coordinators; and maintaining the online IRSN program guide.

  4. Procedures and Guidance
    Guidance is disseminated through the Corporate TV Branch web site at http://tv.web.irs.gov, which contains the following information:

    • Schedules and information on upcoming IVT programs

    • IVT viewing locations

    • Information and documents on scheduling TV studio services

    • Information for site coordinators

    • Tips and procedures for IVT presenters and developers

    • TV studio forms and documents

    • Printed material for upcoming IVTs

    • Contact information

    • Information on establishing a new downlink site

    • Train-the-Teletrainer materials  (08-22-2008)
e-Communications and Marketing Branch

  1. The e-Communications and Marketing Branch is responsible for strategic corporate communications with the public and intermediaries, and for developing and managing communications to express and reinforce the IRS mission. The branch develops communications programs and campaigns to promote corporate messages and collaborates with Operating and Functional Offices on many of their specific marketing efforts. The branch also provides policies, standards and guidelines for creating Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and paid advertising; and creates standards for accessibility for special needs audiences, for example, closed captioning and multilingual productions. The branch has responsibility for developing and implementing integrated corporate communications standards for the IRS. Those standards include logos, symbols, web template products and broad internal and external key messages.

  2. Advertising Agency
    The e-Communications and Marketing Branch manages contracts with IRS advertising agencies. Through the multi-year advertising contract, the IRS can create integrated marketing products; television, radio and print materials in English and other languages; promotional merchandise; and other products.

  3. The Contracting Officers Technical Representative (COTR) works in the e-Communications and Marketing Branch under the direction of the contract Program Officer, typically the Branch Chief. The COTR advises the Program Officer and the Contracting Officer (located in IRS Procurement) of the value and types of services available through the contract. All requests for advertising contractor support must come through the COTR in the branch.

  4. IRS Government Task Managers (GTM) work with the advertising contractor on specific tasks. GTMs may work for the e-Communications and Marketing Branch or any of the Operating or Functional Offices. The GTMs responsibilities include: collaboration and coordination with the advertising agency to achieve marketing goals; project management; writing statements of work or objectives; creating government cost estimates; participation in contract negotiations with the contractor, COTR and procurement; and, informing the COTR about contractual issues.

  5. Branch Products - Internet Portal page for www.irs.gov :
    The e-Communications and Marketing Branch is responsible for developing the content, look and feel of the portal page (home page) for the IRS public Internet site, www.irs.gov. The site provides the public with critical information about IRS services, tax forms and publications, as well as information about IRS career opportunities.

  6. For additional information about the products and services of the e-Communications and Marketing Branch contact the Branch Chief at 202-622-4349.  (08-22-2008)
Media Relations (National and Field Branches)

  1. The National and Field Media Relations Branches are responsible for developing and implementing an overall media strategy in support of the entire agency, including the Operating/Functional Offices. The staff of Media Relations serves as the IRS’ single point of contact for all media. This includes handling media requests by directly interacting with the media and coordinating responses with Operating/Functional Offices Communications Specialists, NHQ executives or other designated personnel. The National Media Relations Branch serves as single point of contact for national media, national stories or NHQ issues. National Media Relations also is responsible for coordinating and publishing all national news releases for the Agency. The Field Media Relations Specialist positions, which are geographically distributed, report to the C&L Field Media Relations Branch, and serve as a single point of contact for the local media, local stories or field geographic issues.

  2. For additional information about National Media Relations, see IRM 11.1.3, or call the Branch Chief, National Media Relations at 202-622-4000. For additional information about Field Media Relations, see IRM 11.1.3 or call the Branch Chief, Field Media Relations at 215-861-1550.

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