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Great people

Great people

Great people remain at the heart of our work, and we want GCS members to be confident in using the latest communication practices and techniques.

That’s why we’ve launched GCS Advance, a substantial new learning and development programme that will deliver a measurable step change in the skills of UK Government communicators. It will operate at four levels – apprentice, practitioner, expert and leader – with a focus on essential future skills in data, digital and AI. The practitioner programme is designed to support those early on in their government communication careers to gain a strong grounding in the profession. The expert programme allows senior managers to deepen their communications understanding through interactive learning, and the leader programme supports communication experts to become well-rounded team leaders.

Registration for the online Practitioner programme is now open, following a successful pilot with 700 participants. It features a mix of core courses (including AI) and elective courses, so that you can tailor your learning to suit your individual needs. The expert programme is now live and the leader programmes will launch later in 2024. Our ambition is for 2,500 GCS members to be part of a GCS Advance programme by March 2025. 

Internal communicators play a fundamental role in creating a high-performing and collaborative culture across the Civil Service. By engaging staff and helping organisational leaders communicate effectively with their teams, they ensure people feel involved in their organisation’s vision and values. Fundamentally, internal communications bring people together and help them to deliver most effectively.

Building trust with your audience is a central tenet of all good communications. For government communication in particular, maintaining a high standard of propriety and ethics is fundamental to preserving trust in public institutions. GCS has developed a new, mandatory Propriety and Ethics online course for GCS members. This reminds us of the ethical standards which must underpin our work and the core values required of all civil servants: integrity, honesty, objectivity, and impartiality. The course was launched in November 2023 and two thirds of GCS members from ministerial departments have completed the training so far.

Bringing together the advice, guidance, good practice and standards from across the profession into a single place, the Modern Communications Operating Model (MCOM) 3.0 provides simplicity and clarity about the expectations of teams and leaders within the GCS. This MCOM is the third version of this vital source of information and will help make sure all those working across the GCS continue to develop outstanding government communication through great people, effective team structures and clear policies and guidance. MCOM 3.0 is designed to be helpful whatever communication role you do; whether you are new or leading a team and whatever the type and size of organisation you work in. It is also supported by our new self-assessment tool and peer review system, which allows communication teams to effectively measure and share learnings from their activities. 

As well as equipping our people with the tools needed to be excellent communicators, GCS is committed to developing a skilled, diverse workforce across the UK. We have therefore developed the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, which aims to grow a diverse GCS where everyone can reach their potential and ensure that the GCS understands and communicates effectively with every community it serves. Since the plan’s launch, we have built on opportunities for our current workforce, from accessibility training and best practice in developing inclusive communications and an updated GCS evaluation cycle, to GCS teams’ lessons learnt in communicating with audiences we have previously struggled to reach. 

Work is also ongoing to attract, develop and retain the best talent, at all levels, from a diverse range of backgrounds. Guidance has been published for vacancy holders and candidates alike, and our GCS Locations Strategy was launched to support the growth of six GCS communities and expand our expertise across the UK in line with the Levelling Up agenda. Bringing all of this work together will allow our teams to collaborate, innovate and be audience-led in all the communications we produce.

Thriving regional hubs 
HMRC Communications is leading the way in building stronger communications communities, which currently operate across 14 UK locations. Their recruitment approach includes all levels, from apprentices to SCS roles, with the HMRC Director of Communications (and Champion for the GCS Locations Strategy) as well as half of the team’s Deputy Directors now located outside of London. Benefits include a wider talent pool, as well as an increase in candidates with diverse experiences who bring fresh, innovative thinking to Government communications.