GCS Strategy and Evaluation Council

The GCS Strategy and Evaluation Council (formerly GCS Evaluation Council) was set up in 2013 to support government’s continuing commitment to the development, understanding and implementation of evaluation best practice across all government communication activity.

What is the GCS Strategy and Evaluation Council?

The GCS Strategy and Evaluation Council is an advisory body made up of experts in strategic communications and communications evaluation from private, public and third sectors. The Council is chaired by Alex Aiken, the Executive Director of Government Communications.

Overall, the Council supports GCS to develop, improve and embed best practice approach to planning, delivering and evaluating communications activity.

Specifically, the Council:

  • acts as a sounding board to help shape future cross-government communication initiatives
  • advises GCS members on how to apply best practice strategic planning and evaluation standards to their own work to make it more effective and efficient
  • brings scrutiny, rigour and challenge to GCS campaign planning and evaluation to ensure this is both effective and robust
  • brings fresh / latest industry thinking to GCS to improve the effectiveness and impact of communication activity across government

How Council supports individual government organisations

Council members have agreed to provide guidance and support to help individual government organisations.

This could be related to a specific campaign or group of related campaigns and could be at any stage in the cycle. It could be an audit of an overall approach, or help to address a particular issue, such as attribution modelling, calculating return on investment, or monitoring impact on specific audience segments, and so on.

The following outlines the steps to take, if you wish to take part.

  1. Government organisations (with the support of GCS team) briefly articulate the challenge.
  2. The challenge is presented at Council, and Council members are paired with relevant departments. There is no requirement to attend Council at this stage.
  3. Contact between department and Council member is coordinated by Cabinet Office.
  4. Departments will present to a subsequent Council meeting highlighting what they have discussed with the Council member and how they have taken the advice forward since then.

If you wish to discuss the opportunity to engage with Council members on a communications evaluation challenge, you should contact insight@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Who sits on the GCS Strategy and Evaluation Council?


Name Organisation/Title
Alex Aiken
Executive Director of Government Communications Service (Chair)
Katherine Arnull
Freuds, Strategy Director
Richard Bagnall Chairman of AMEC                                                                                                                  CEO of CARMA International (Europe & Americas)
John Grounds Strategic Marketing and Communications Consultant
Francis Ingham PRCA, Director General                                                                                                      ICCO, Chief Executive
Natasha Kizzle Google UK, Industry Manager (Government)
Tina McLeod MaP Limited, Director
Kevin Money Henley Business School, Professor of Reputation and Responsible Leadership
Peter Reid MSQ Partners, Chief Executive Officer
Ben Toombs Kantar Public, Executive Director
Tina Trythall Sport England, Strategic Lead, Customer Insight

How often does the Council meet?

The Council meets three times a year. Government departments, agencies and public bodies host the Council meetings. The host organisation typically presents their overall approach to communication evaluation to Council members. If you wish to host the Council, please contact insight@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

The Council also aims to host an annual event focused on communications
evaluation best practice which is open to all GCS members.