Press release

Government's vision for effective, efficient communications

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

The government has published its communications plan for 2013 to 2014, prioritising professional development and innovative partnerships.

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The government is today (20 June 2013) publishing its communications plan for the year ahead, describing it as a blueprint for more “effective and efficient” activity.

The Government Communications Plan sets out an overall vision that also champions professional development for government communicators and more creative partnerships with organisations outside of government. It summarises plans for a number of priorities in 2013 to 2014 including World War 1 commemorations, 2012 Olympic Legacy and the Presidency of the G8, as well as a number of long running and successful initiatives such as THINK! and Change4Life.

Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communications says:

This plan demonstrates the breadth of excellent communications work undertaken by colleagues across government. But, more importantly, it is a blueprint for more effective, more efficient government activity as we move from an era of broadcasting messages to one of co-creation of content with our partners.

The plan outlines 6 core functions of government communications activity:

  • fulfilling statutory obligations to inform the public
  • helping the public understand the government’s programme
  • influencing attitudes and behaviours for the benefit of the public
  • enabling the effective operation of services to the citizen
  • informing and supporting the public in times of crisis
  • enhancing the UK’s reputation

It breaks down into priority communication activities for each government department.

This activity will be delivered by around 1,910 communicators - compared to 3,438 communicators in 2009 to 2010. In order to deliver on the Civil Service Reform plan and upskill the communications profession, 3,000 professional development opportunities will be provided. This is part of the Aspire programme - a new training programme - on priority issues such as digital, procurement, low-cost campaigning and evaluation, reflecting the requirements of the new Government Communication Professional Competency Framework. The plan challenges communicators to deliver, as well as procure exceptional communications programmes. New guidance to facilitate working partnerships with the private and voluntary sector has also been issued to government communicators.

The Cabinet Office’s controls on advertising, marketing and communications spend have already saved more than £40 million in 2012/13 – helping deliver total savings of £10 billion for the taxpayer. A further push towards better value for money will come through the use of new frameworks - including the Creative Solutions Framework, awarded earlier this year, which leverages government’s buying power. The framework for communications: strategy, planning and related services will be awarded over the coming months. This will make it easier for government to work strategically with suppliers and a new agile route to market will reduce the cost and time burden on suppliers competing for government contracts – especially SMEs.

The overall planned communications activity for 2013 to 2014 is expected to total £237 million. This is compared to reported spend through the Central Office of Information (COI) of £532 million in 2009 to 2010.

Alex Aiken adds:

We have worked hard to put in place policies that will make our communications more efficient than ever before and give our teams the skills needed to create a more professional communications function.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

The government’s objective is to equip the UK to succeed in a global race, to build a stronger economy and a fairer society and to help people who aspire to work hard and get on. Within each of these fundamental objectives of the coalition, there is a pivotal role for communications and communicators.

This plan outlines how government communicators will become an exemplar of Civil Service Reform, and deliver even more effective and efficient communications that ensure maximum value and return on investment for the taxpayer.

Notes to editors

The plan outlines 6 core functions of government communications activity:

  • fulfilling statutory obligations to inform the public
  • helping the public understand the government’s programme
  • influencing attitudes and behaviours for the benefit of the public
  • enabling the effective operation of services to the citizen
  • informing and supporting the public in times of crisis
  • enhancing the UK’s reputation

The plan also outlines 8 priorities:

  • continuing to develop communication hubs;
  • continuing to embed the ambitions of the Civil Service Reform Plan
  • optimising expenditure by operating the Cabinet Office ERG controls on advertising, marketing and communications
  • agreeing government communication priorities and allocating resource accordingly
  • publishing summary communication plans for each central government department
  • ensuring that all communication activity is properly evaluated
  • strengthening the Government Communication Network
  • implementing buying frameworks

Media enquiries

Published 20 June 2013