Top 10 takeaways from the new UK Govt Comms Plan

GCS Plan 2015/16

The Government Communications Service (GCS) has set out its communications plan for the year ahead, revealing the four themes that communicators across the Civil Service must get across in their work.

Launched today, the fourth annual Government Communications Plan has the Government’s One Nation narrative at its heart, and as part of the plan, communicators are tasked with demonstrating how their work furthers the four main themes within the narrative, namely:

  • Helping working people
  • Spreading hope and opportunity
  • Bringing our country together
  • Securing Britain’s place in the world

Over the last year, the UK Government’s communications has been recognised across the world, with over 80 national and international awards. The plan outlines how UK government communications will continue to set the gold standard, and key to this will be building a more skilled, unified and productive profession.

However, the plan comes against a background of a reduced budget for comms, with Government spending on communications already reduced by half a billion pounds a year. The GCS outlines how the Government believes that training and the streamlining of campaigns will work through stronger partnerships and strengthening the skills of communicators.

The plan takes a best-practice approach to strategic communications, and below are ten top takeaways from the plan that any professional communicator can apply to their work.

1. Share valuable insight you gain through audience listening and monitoring across your organisation and different departments.
2. Collaborate. Make the most of your talent. Press and digital teams should be fully integrated across departments.
3. Don’t be afraid of doing it again – replicate communication approaches you know work with audiences across different campaigns.
4. Standardise digital processes. From content planning to campaigns, you should continuously be developing templates that allow you to generate content quickly and make changes to what you do based on the lessons you learn.
5. Societal factors like longer life expectancy, changing family make-up, household structure and shifts in traditional life ‘stage’ now demand more sophisticated segmentations of your audiences.
6. Create shareable, ‘snackable’ content to encourage your audiences to re-transmit campaign content.
7. Communications should not only transmit key messages, but also generate a two-way conversation with your audiences.
8. Exploit your successes and fail fast – don’t be afraid to stop doing things when something isn’t working out.
9. Set out a plan with a clear schedule for when you communicate with your audiences throughout the year, to help avoid duplication.
10. Having an online presence is just the beginning, not the end of the process. You should be setting and checking your progress against growth key performance indicators.

You can download the 2015/16 Government Communications Plan via the Cabinet Office website.

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