Like all civil servants, government communicators must carry out their work objectively and without political bias, in accordance with the standards of behaviour set out in the Civil Service Code.

Propriety in government communications

In the specific context of government communications, propriety means presenting the policies and programmes of the government of the day properly and effectively. To achieve this, government communications:

  • should be relevant to government responsibilities
  • should be objective and explanatory, not biased or polemical
  • should not be – and not liable to being misrepresented as – party political
  • should be conducted in an economic and appropriate way
  • should be able to justify the costs as expenditure of public funds

Propriety guidance

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of all civil servants. The Government Communication Propriety Guidance gives more detailed information on how to observe propriety within government communications.

Contact us

If you have any questions about propriety, it is always best to contact your line manager or Director of Communications in the first instance. If you require further clarification or advice, contact the GCS Propriety Team at