News story

Government Communications Plan sets 3 clear priorities

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The 2014 to 2015 Communications Plan shows how government will provide a more unified communications profession and better value for money.

This third annual Government Communications Plan sets out an overall vision for the profession. It aims to provide more streamlined and effective campaigns, build effective partnerships, and strengthen the skills of communicators. It covers important events like commemorating World War 1, the Scottish independence referendum, and long running, successful campaigns such as GREAT Britain and Dementia Friends.

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Collective government priorities

For the first time, the plan gives a cross-government view of our collective priorities. All departments will work together on 3 priorities:

  • economic confidence: our cross-government economic campaign covers the government’s long-term economic plan to reduce the deficit
  • fairness and aspiration: we will bring together government communicators to explain how our reforms are creating a fairer society
  • Britain in the world: UK and overseas government officials will support the government’s communication efforts abroad

The plan also encourages building partnerships with community groups and the public and private sectors to give government a more direct understanding of specific communities or local circumstances. We will continue to work with suppliers for effective campaigns, with at least 40 potential opportunities for suppliers during the year.

Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communications said:

Major events such as the centenary of the First World War and the referendum on Scottish independence will demand the best of communicators in government.

This plan demonstrates our determination to work more collaboratively on government priorities. We will be more unified, more valued, and more skilled than ever before.

Value for money

To provide best value for taxpayers, we will undertake most of this year’s communication activity through low and no cost campaigns. The total value of planned proactive communications in 2014 to 2015 is £289 million, the equivalent of about £4.50 per person per year. Our successful financial controls will continue; we aim to save at least £40 million in 2014 to 2015, building on the £36 million saved last year.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

We are reforming government communications to ensure our civil servants have the skills required for tomorrow’s world and that their work is effective, delivering best value for hard-working taxpayers.

Before the last general election there was no central control on spend on advertising, marketing and communications. We introduced controls which helped save £378 million in 2012 to 2013 alone.

Government Communication Service (GCS)

The plan outlines the creation of the GCS Corporate Support Service. This Cabinet Office team will provide departments with strategic support to help stop waste and duplication, share insight and research, and encourage innovative approaches across government. It will also support departments to set up shared centres of excellence in areas such as behaviour change marketing, design and professional development.

It also sets out how the GCS change programme will improve standards, including mandatory skills in digital and internal communication and a continuing professional development (CPD) programme for all government communicators. A new national awards programme will recognise success, in partnership with The Guardian and LGComms.