Digital communication

Digital communication is the most powerful way to reach as many people as possible in a short time. It allows you to amplify your content. It can be easier, cheaper, and faster and has the benefit to get measurable results.

On this page:

Accessible communications

Public Sector websites must comply with the accessibility regulations: Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

3 icons about hearing accessibility with deaf, injury or infection and background noise.

Read our guidance about digital accessibility to learn how to:

  • understand accessibility requirements for public sector bodies
  • create accessible social media campaigns
  • use inclusive communication

Accessible communications

Learning and resources

Digital communication can include: creating content, managing platforms, securing third-party influence, digital marketing, data modelling, coding, and open-source anonymised social listening.

Start learning at your own pace and build the skills you need, using our curriculum, and use:


How to keep your social media secure

Social media security awareness for Civil Service accounts Learn and test your social media security knowledge.

Spotlight on digital communication

  • 4 tips to improve your digital skills (members access) Digital skills series (GCS members access) In this video series produced by Defra, you will learn a variety of digital skills from digital storytelling to photography to social media:
    • Filming on a phone
    • Taking good photographs
    • Accessibility
    • How to evaluate social media content

Community blogs

Digital capability

A central GCS Digital team sets the benchmark for government digital communications activity. Operating across the Cabinet Office and No.10, we provide cutting-edge digital communication services for central government and Downing Street. We also lead cross-government transformation programmes to enhance GCS digital capability throughout the profession.

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We work closely with the Government Digital Service (GDS), which leads the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) function, to ensure our transformation of government communication operations and practice is fully aligned with their wider digital transformation of government services and infrastructure.

Our remit currently includes:

  • Digital transformation programme: Accelerate
  • Rapid Response Unit (RRU)
  • Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) Modernisation
  • Media-Buying Transformation
  • Digital Centre of Expertise (DCOE)
  • Web-based Development

Digital transformation programme: Accelerate

In 2018, we set up the Accelerate programme. It offered industry-leading professional development, consultancy, and training across government to ensure that GCS is leading the way digitally.

The programme drove innovation and helped communication professionals commit time, resources, and energy to personal and team upskilling.

Since December 2020, we offer digital learning through the GCS Academy.

Rapid Response Unit (RRU)

Launched in April 2018, the RRU works to counter misinformation and disinformation and reclaim a fact-based public debate.

We achieve this by using the FACT model to monitor, assess and respond to online news and (public) social media activity round the clock, coordinating with National Security teams when necessary.

We are also delivering secondments and media toolkits through the Accelerate programme to build media capability in press offices across government. We continue to innovate and develop our approach.

Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) modernisation

The RRU is also radically modernising the MMU, delivering a range of new daily, weekly and commissioned online news reports and tailored social media insight products to press officers and media specialists across government. We are also enhancing the pre-existing MMU service.

You can contact the Media Monitoring Unit at

Media-buying transformation

Sitting within the GCS Digital team, a Media and Marketing Data (MMD) unit leads the digital, data and tech transformation of government advertising. This follows the transition of our £600 million 4 year media-buying contract to Manning Gottlieb OMD in November 2018.

Our partnership OmniGov is built on pillars of transparency and value for money, with a collaborative focus on real outcomes and a commitment by us to become smarter clients.

Digital Centre of Expertise (DCOE)

The DCOE is a cross-government forum, managed by the central GCS Digital Content team. It facilitates the continuous coordination and amplification of central government digital content and publishing activity, and hosts monthly sessions for industry experts and government content and publishing leaders to share best practices. Membership is open to all central government Heads of Digital.

Thought leadership

The GCS Digital team identifies emerging trends and provides guidance on how government communications professionals should respond. Launched at the 2018 GCS & LG Comms Academy, our latest report (‘5 Trends in Leading-edge Communications’) is available. We also work with industry experts to run immersive workshops across government, sharing best practices and research and analysis of the latest communications trends.

Web-based development

Our Development team designs and hosts a variety of innovative micro-sites, tools and online platforms to support government campaigns, enhance data infrastructure and analysis, and provide specialist applications for our transformation programmes. Alongside this, we manage and deliver the TV & Radio Fillers Marketing Service, securing free airtime on local and national channels to promote government campaigns. The team also works very closely with GDS to support the management and governance of cross-government campaigns sites and GOV.UK.

Why digital matters

The purpose of the GCS is to deliver world-class communications that support government priorities, enable the effective and efficient operation of public services, and improve citizens’ lives. In order to achieve this, we cannot merely keep up with the pace of change, but must actively lead the way.

We need a fundamental shift in how digital is positioned in government communications.

This shift is as much about mindset as a skillset. A strong digital attitude depends upon a broad awareness of technological advances, an understanding of the implications of current changes in communication for government, and active consideration of emerging opportunities for innovation.

Digital means the application of contemporary data and technology to all specialisms set out in the GCS Modern Communication Operating Model (MCOM), and the use of the web, mobile, social media and other non-analogue channels for communication with the public.

    Image credits:
  • Government Digital Service (GDS) (1)
  • GCS (2)
  • Shutterstock/Visual Generation (3)