I am delighted to present this year’s Government Communication Plan. This has been an unprecedented year for our nation in which the need for a united voice to communicate our priorities clearly to citizens and – in some cases – effect behavioural change, has never been greater.
Emerging from the pandemic, the public will rightly demand that the money, powers and trust vested in the government are used ever more effectively to improve their lives and prospects. Our collective communication will help drive the pace and scale of our recovery by articulating how we intend to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build back better.
Our priorities for the year ahead are clear:
- Beat COVID-19 and Back the NHS – we will encourage people to take better care of their health, change the way they access NHS services and build trust and confidence in the health system.
- Build Back Better – we will support economic recovery, increase job opportunities and level up across all four corners of the UK.
- Build Back Fairer – we will work to level up opportunities across the country, as well as supporting the disadvantaged and protecting the most vulnerable.
- Build Back Safer – we will make our neighbourhoods safer, improve national security and create more secure borders.
- Build Back Stronger – we will capitalise on post-Brexit opportunities, strengthen the Union and send a clear message to our international partners about what Global Britain stands for.
- Build Back Greener – we will help to build a greener, cleaner UK, achieving Net Zero by 2050.
- Delivering for the UK – we will keep our citizens informed about critical legislation and help them to access vital public services.
Government communicators will also be supporting and promoting major events this year, using the UK’s role as hosts of the G7 Summit in Cornwall’s Carbis Bay and the upcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow to advocate for shared solutions to global challenges and showcase our nation’s strengths on the international stage. The work set out in this year’s plan, particularly the further detail on Reshaping the Government Communication Service, represents a step change on this journey to more effective government communications. We believe our messages to citizens will have greater impact, and cost the taxpayer much less, if departments work together on a smaller number of cross-cutting campaigns.
I would like to thank the Government Communication Service for all they have done to respond quickly and flexibly to the difficult, dynamic situation of the pandemic, and for demonstrating the importance of clear messaging in the relationship between government and those we serve. I look forward to working together as we continue to harness the creativity and ingenuity of our communicators to the benefit of the country.
Achievements in 2020/2021
- Our COVID-19 campaigns are estimated to have contributed to saving between 22,629 and 27,658 lives and prevented between 1.5 and 1.8 million infections between April and December 2020*.
- The COVID-19 campaigns helped deliver over 21 million downloads of the NHS Covid App.
- At its peak, almost all employers were aware of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (99%).
- Over 80,000 businesses registered to take part in Eat Out to Help Out.
- Four in five (81%) UK SMEs, as well as 71% of the general public, recognised our Check Change Go campaign. There were 55 million visits to Transition content on GOV.UK from July 2020 to January 2021, and the Brexit Checker Tool was completed 5 million times.
- The police recruitment campaign exceeded its first target of recruiting 6,000 new police officers over a month ahead of its March 2021 deadline.
- The Jobhelp campaign site was visited by over 1.4 million individuals: around half of them took immediate action to look for vacancies.
- 41,472 people entered teacher training this year, an increase of 23% on 2019.
- The Our NHS Allied Health and Nursing recruitment campaign led to almost 25,000 more applicants to relevant subjects on UCAS.
- Since the relaunch of the Cyber Aware campaign, 4.5 million reports have been made and over 30,000 scams have been taken down as a result.
- The #YouAreNotAlone campaign increased visits to the GOV.UK support page for domestic abuse by over 1,000% during the first two weeks.
- For every £1 of HMG spend on the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign, over 1,000 people were reached through pro-bono advertising. Visits to the Let’s Talk Loneliness website increased by 922% during Loneliness Awareness Week.
- The Everyone In scheme likely avoided over 21,000 infections and 260 deaths among the homeless population.
- The Legal Services are GREAT campaign recorded around £650,000 in export wins, with a further £4 million forecast over the next four years.
- The probation officer recruitment campaign delivered over 6,000 applicants – meeting its target ahead of time as well as targets set for male and BAME applications.
- Over 32,000 businesses have registered for the Northern Ireland Trader Support service – double the target number.
*Figures calculated using Wavemaker econometric modelling on social distancing / HFS campaigns that ran between Apr-Dec 2020, based on YouGov polling data for Cabinet Office, ONS and MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis assumptions on infection and transmission rates. Range of infections prevented and lives saved based on average R rate range in this period.
Our COVID-19 campaigns have reached 95% of adults an average of 17 times – for example, teaching seven in eight people vital preventative behaviours with Hands, Face, Space.
GCS International worked with the University of Cambridge to build the GoViral! game, and ‘inoculated’ almost 59,800 people against COVID-19 misinformation**.
**GoViral! works on inoculation theory, which means exposing people to safe ‘doses’ of COVID-19 misinformation so when they see it in their social media feeds they can recognise it and therefore ignore and report it.
Check Change Go
Four in five UK SMEs recognised the Check Change Go campaign, and half of all SMEs reported taking action as a direct result of the campaign.
The Food is GREAT showcase at the China International Import Expo 2020 led to trade deals worth over £430 million.