Author Topic: Salute! Magazine  (Read 1686 times)

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Offline AirDet

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Salute! Magazine
« on: May 02, 2018, 12:52:38 »
So I got this cute magazine in the mail yesterday. I have no idea why. A quick look and it appears to be nothing more than VAC bragging about doing their job. Maybe I'm being overly cynical but couldn't that manpower be put to better use?!
Just because an opinion differs doesn't make it any less valid. Remember those who gave their ALL to guarantee freedom of speech.

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 13:59:01 »
http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/news/salute

What makes you think that the manpower used to produce this newsletter would be "better used" as if those employed by the department's Communications Division would be tasked to provide client services?  But you weren't the first to ask questions about the usefulness and cost effectiveness of this publication. The Auditor General brought up essentially the same points in its 2011 audit.

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-us/reports/departmental-audit-evaluation/2011-10-evaluation-salute/exec
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. . . Salute! is a quarterly, bilingual newspaper produced by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to provide Veterans and their families with information on departmental policies, programs and services. The newspaper was launched during Veterans' Week 2001 in response to requests to receive more information about departmental disability pension, health and income support programs that may be available to them. . . .

Some comments snipped from the Executive Summary.
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Salute! was funded under Other Health Purchased Services (OHPS), a Quasi-Statutory Purpose Allotment with specified criteria, and had no specified budget. As a result, costs were not maintained in a proper accounting fashion. There were limited sources of information available to comprehensively evaluate the achievement of the outcomes, economy and efficiency.
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Salute! is valued by Veterans especially the older Veteran and it continues to be relevant to all other benefit recipient types in that it provides information about VAC’s programs and services.
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Cost-effectiveness
•  VAC has developed no performance standards, or performance indicators to assess the success of Salute! in reaching its objectives.
•  Salute! has a receptive and captive audience, the cost of the paper was never questioned as the printing, distribution and postage cost were paid from the OHPS allocation and were never subjected to a full accounting, while the human resource costs to the Department was absorbed in the various contributing directorates and by Communications Division.
•  Salute! continues to be appreciated by a majority of benefit recipients and provides useful information, despite no real efforts to find efficiencies, or even to determine if Salute! is still meeting the needs of its recipients.
•  Salute! is produced for a relatively competitive price and given the continued interest in receiving it, represents value for money.
•  As a result of the demographic changes impacting VAC's benefit recipients and the organization, it will be possible for VAC to reduce the number of printed copies of Salute! by encouraging increased utilization of the Internet.
•  VAC like DND and Service Canada should explore the option of moving to a more comprehensive newspaper and publishing it less frequently (bi-annually), while having available on the Internet a current and regularly updated version, that is printer-friendly and available on demand. VAC should also survey benefit recipients more often to be better aware of their needs and preferences.
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Offline AirDet

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 14:46:01 »
Well buddy, you may like it but to me it's a waste of time and money. The VAC site is a far more effective tool if they want to toot their own horn.

I will note that for those Vets that don't want a computer of dislike the internet there is value in this publication.
Just because an opinion differs doesn't make it any less valid. Remember those who gave their ALL to guarantee freedom of speech.

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2018, 16:00:23 »
Well buddy, you may like it but to me it's a waste of time and money. The VAC site is a far more effective tool if they want to toot their own horn.

I will note that for those Vets that don't want a computer of dislike the internet there is value in this publication.

What makes you think that I like it?  Actually, I had never heard of it before your OP.  However, if discussion of its merits was expected I thought that some information about it was necessary and it took about five minutes of internet research to find the info I posted.

I had a quick look through the on-line version.  Is it the same as you received through the mail?  I did wonder how they determined who received the magazine.  Is it supposed to go to everyone who is a registered client of the department and receiving benefits?  Everyone who releases from the Forces?  Everyone who seeks info about departmental programs?  I found nothing on their site about that or how one either cancels a paper subscription or converts to an online/email version. There was some info in the AG's report about distribution that did answer some of my questions but leaves me wondering if there has been changes/improvements in the six and a half years since that audit.
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5.4 Are the Department's existing distributing practices effective in attracting new readers?
5.4.1 Findings

Salute! is a client's newspaper that is published and distributed four times a year. The majority of the distribution is mailed to recipients (over 87 percent receive the hard copy version) who are in receipt of a benefit or service. The Client Survey found that 75 percent of respondents reported receiving all four issues of the paper in the last year. The survey also indicated that a significant number of respondents were not aware of the available modes they could request to receive the paper, eg., large print, audio, and electronic. The survey findings suggest that the Department may want to find out why some peoples are not receiving the newspaper.

The majority of front-line and client-service staff reported that seniors value uniformity/routine, they build they lives around the predictable. With the irregular scheduling of the distribution of Salute!, some people become concerned about when they can and should expect the next issue. As mentioned earlier this has contributed to increased calls and workload for front-line staff.

Salute! is also sent to external and interested stakeholders. By sending Salute! to DND bases, other Veterans organizations, members of Parliament, and the RCL, the Department is effectively attracting new and potential readers and program eligible people.

VAC has bi-lateral agreements with DND's Maple Leaf and the Wing Command newspapers to place a specified number of pages per issue in their newspapers. These efforts also have the potential to attract new readers.

Salute! on-line can be accessed through the VAC website. Staff report however that it is difficult to navigate and not user-friendly. With the changing recipient demographics, the Department will need to improve its Internet access to Salute! and provide more options for existing and potential s exposure to the Newspaper.

It is acknowledged that between 10 percent and 20 percent of all Canadians do not have Internet access or know how to use it. This is particularly true for the elderly, and people living in rural areas. Therefore the use of national and local papers to tell 'good news' stories, use of television and other media to promote activities for and about Veterans are additional examples suggested by staff to attract new readers.


As to "horn tooting", I didn't see a lot (if any) in the quick look I had.  Granted there is no reference to complaints about government commitment to veterans or difficulties they may be having in servicing clients, but is discussing that the purpose of the newsletter.  I think not, since the first page very clearly states its purpose:
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Our ability to provide you with timely and clear information on these and other programs and benefits is critical. This issue of Salute! is only one step in a renewed communications effort to ensure that you know about what is available to support you and your family. We will continue to reach out and connect with you to ensure you know the latest information and updates.

While there are probably many venues where the government could discuss the problems they are having in providing assistance to veterans, an innocuous newsletter that basically advertises the programmes available would not be the best forum.  While I'm far from a communications professional, I know from experience that adding too many messages (particularly when one of those draws attention to the problems rather than the solutions) interferes with getting any message across.
Whisky for the gentlemen that like it. And for the gentlemen that don't like it - Whisky.

Offline PuckChaser

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2018, 16:06:45 »
I've been had a VAC-covered disability since 2012. This is the first Salute! magazine ever sent to my house. I've seen it in the VAC offices before. The timing is strange, especially considering the heat VAC has been taking for poor service delivery timelines and the government stating we're asking for too much.

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2018, 19:50:09 »
First one I've seen too.   :dunno:

Offline AirDet

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2018, 15:04:46 »
I've been had a VAC-covered disability since 2012. This is the first Salute! magazine ever sent to my house. I've seen it in the VAC offices before. The timing is strange, especially considering the heat VAC has been taking for poor service delivery timelines and the government stating we're asking for too much.

That was my take as well. You guys are asking for too much, but here's a magazine to make everything better.
Just because an opinion differs doesn't make it any less valid. Remember those who gave their ALL to guarantee freedom of speech.

Offline CanadianTire

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2018, 15:36:31 »
Yep, I apparently got one today as well. Funny, I remember getting two or three issues just after receiving my award, but then it stopped for a few years.
"Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do and die." - Tennyson

Offline standingdown

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2018, 18:54:52 »
"We are currently working on applications from Feb 17. In the mean time, enjoy this complimentary magazine and please refrain from contacting us. Thank you/Merci"

Offline OldTanker

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2018, 22:32:33 »
I received my copy today, first one as I can recall. I thought it was fine, a nice overview of some of the programs offered by VAC. For various reasons nothing really applies to me (although I do have a disability pension) but it could be useful info to somebody who was looking for some of these services and was unsure of the details. I imagine if VAC didn't provide material like this they would be criticized for for not providing enough information to their clients.

Offline dogger1936

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2018, 00:09:13 »
Scared the crap out of me today. Huge envelope full of paper.....I was happy to see a old friend on the cover....but that drive home from the post office was scary!

Online Teager

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Re: Salute! Magazine
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2018, 09:40:40 »
Scared the crap out of me today. Huge envelope full of paper.....I was happy to see a old friend on the cover....but that drive home from the post office was scary!

Ya but it came in a white envelope not the brown ones.