GCS Strategy and Evaluation Council


The Government Communication Service (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.

Chaired by Alex Aiken, the Executive Director of Government Communications, the 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.

Aim of the council

The council supports GCS to develop, improve and embed best practice approach to planning, delivering and evaluating communications activity.

It does this by:

  • acting as a sounding board to help shape future cross-government communication initiatives
  • advising GCS members on how to apply best practice strategic planning and evaluation standards to their own work to make it more effective and efficient
  • bringing scrutiny, rigour and challenge to GCS campaign planning and evaluation to ensure this is both effective and robust
  • bringing 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 the 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.


  • Alex Aiken – Executive Director of Government Communications Service (Chair)
  • Katherine Arnull – Senior communications consultant
  • Richard Bagnall – International Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC), Chairman and Carma International (Europe and Americas), Chief Executive Officer
  • John Grounds – Strategic Marketing and Communications Consultant
  • Francis Ingham – Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), Director General and International Communications Consultancy Organisation (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 – Insight, strategy and evaluation consultant

Triannual meeting

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.

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


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