Improving GCS: 2013 to 2019

Since its creation, the Government Communication Service (GCS) has continually improved itself to meet the challenges of the day. Read about the history of our improvement programmes.

In 2013, a change programme was launched to establish the GCS as the professional body for all government communicators working in UK government departments, agencies and arms-length bodies.

The five previous programmes have succeeded in building and delivering an impressive canon of professional practice. This has enhanced the reputation of Communications in the Functional Leadership context across government, and the communications industry in the UK and internationally.

Phase five: 2017 to 2018

In November 2017, GCS launched Phase five of the GCS Improvement Programme. This consisted of six project strands:

  • Strategic Purpose of Government Communications
  • Business Partnering
  • Strategic Engagement
  • Emergency Planning Communication
  • Driving Professional Excellence
  • The Engage programme

Phase four: 2016 to 2017

Phase four of the programme consisted of four projects:

  • Single Campaign Approach – this project formalised work to identify ways to collectively improve GCS campaign activity by a single approach to audiences, shared campaigns, more partnership work and government brands.
  • Modern Media Operation – this project led by Heads of News created a model of best practice for media relations. The GCS Modern Media Operations (MMO) Guide set out, for the first time, the skills and capabilities government media relations teams require to deal with the combined demands of the general public, ministers and stakeholders in the 24/7/365 digital age.
  • Improving Professional Capability – this project built on evidence obtained through the GCS Skills Survey 2016/17 to address skills gaps across the profession.
  • The GCS Story campaign relaunched the GCS membership offer to all government departments, agencies and arms-length bodieswith a new GCS Handbook for all members, a revised professional development offer and networking opportunities.

Phase three: 2015 to 2016

Phase three, lasting from September 2015 to August 2016, drew upon the success of the first two phases to bring together a programme of five projects:

  • Internal Change and Engagement – to raise the overall standard of internal communications across government (including ALBs) and helping to improve staff engagement.
  • Professional and Personal Capabilities – building a capable workforce through recruitment, talent management, employee engagement, and learning and development. The focus is on leadership and the launch of the GCS Diversity and Inclusion strategy ensuring GCS becomes more a profession that is more representative of the public it serves.
  • Structures – to create a more unified profession through the ‘single service’ Modern Communications Operating Model (MCOM) and governance.
  • Clear professional standards – now included in the GCS Handbook.
  • Public Service Co-operation – through closer working between central government departments and local authorities and their related public services.

Phase one and two: 2013 to 2014

Phase one and two of the programme saw the implementation of over 100 improvement actions, including improved evaluation, cost-effective communications, and enhanced internal engagement.