3.2 Communication strategy

This measure includes a strategy for better inter-agency communications and mechanisms for achieving this (e.g. inter-agency meetings).
  • Share resources, reduce duplication of efforts, coordinate services, and attain greater credibility on an issue.
  • Rely on technologies and associated systems for sharing of data, perhaps with time constraints.
  • If real time communication is needed be aware of the issues concerning data confidentiality, formats, hardware, software and networks.
  • This might depend on the degree of openness and willingness to change in different cultures, or different legal constraints in different countries (e.g. relating to how information is shared; whether power is important to some organisations or agencies; whether there are specific legal requirements that could limit collaboration).
  • There may be the potential for better collaboration as the organisations and agencies become familiar with models of joint working. However, any initial benefits from better joint working might lapse if individuals who have been important in promoting the collaborative working move to different jobs, or if initial funding sources cannot be maintained (e.g. financial cutbacks).
  • Costs are largely time related, potentially including need for some release from other work activities. Might also include costs of travel for meetings.
  • The measure is likely to need support and contributions from senior members of relevant organisations.
  • Problems with communication have been a recurring theme. Communication would appear to be an issue in a number of different settings. This includes communication between (cf. Brown et al., 2012 - RSSB   T845 annual report):
  1. Network Rail and RUs  . For example, the Network Rail should communicate to RUs   as fully as necessary the role of the organisations such as Samaritans.
  2. Between RUs  . The work being undertaken by some individual RUs   to address railway suicide should be shared with other RUs   and IMs   to avoid the potential loss of good practice.
  3. Between head office and the branches of suicide-prevention organisations such as the Samaritans. For example, a number of Samaritans branches reported that they felt they were not kept as well informed regarding the national development of the programme as they would have liked. Initial awareness raising should be continued once the programme is implemented in an area. The main difficulties experienced by both the training and publicity elements of the programme of work (lack of attendance, difficulties with poster casings), would seem in part to be due to failures in communication. As suggested by the T845 report, there may particularly be a need for the NSPG   to play a greater role in keeping RUs   informed of developments in relation to suicide prevention and to sharing more widely examples of good practice within the industry.
  • The German Railway Suicide Prevention Project let to a significant fall in rail suicides compared with the general reduction in Germany. The absolute number of railway suicides decreased from 1006 in 1998 to 724 in 2006. The mean suicide rate in the control years was 13.9% (95% CI 6.9 to 20.4) lower compared to the index years (p<0.001). Adjusting for the overall suicide rate attenuated the decline of the railway suicide rate (annual percentage change 4.8%, 95% CI 1.8 to 7.8) but significance remained (p=0.002). (Baumert et al., 2011).
  • Local community partnerships can provide an effective and relatively low cost means of deterring trespass (RSSB  , 2005).
  • Examples and positive results of partnership working can be found in the annual report “Improving suicide prevention methods and on the rail network in Great Britain” (RSSB  , 2013).

last update: 2014-09-16 Print