MCOM Skills Survey FAQs

This page will answer FAQs on the MCOM Skills Survey.

What is the Skills Survey?

An annual survey for all GCS members asking people to self-assess their current skill level across all four MCOM areas, looking beyond their current specialist area. This means people should consider their transferable skills when answering the questions, for example, stakeholder management is a skill used both internally and externally.

The survey aims to deliver relevant, effective learning recommendations that inform Personal Development Plans and support practitioners at every stage of their career.

The results will be available to Directors and Heads of Communication from June, and will provide an anonymised indication of the strengths and development needs within their teams.

In addition, the GCS Professional Development team will gain valuable insight into what training and guidance to prioritise over 2018-2019.

When will it launch?

The survey goes live on 3 April and must be completed by 30 April.

How long will the survey take to complete?

The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. If you have received a link to the survey, it is possible to save your responses and return to it later.

Why is the survey being run?

The GCS Skills Survey 2018 is designed to support effective decision making about skills gaps and development requirements across the profession, and to assess skills and development needs across the capabilities outlined in the Modern Communications Operating Model (MCOM).

Findings from last year’s survey helped GCS update and expand the professional curriculum including a programme of regional academies and GCS webinars. This year, even more will be done to build a full blended curriculum with free learning opportunities for GCS members.

Who is taking part in the survey?

We would like all GCS core members to complete the survey. This includes members of GCS who work in UK government departments, ALBs or agencies. The more responses we get, the more meaningful the findings will be.

How do I take part in the survey?

As a member of GCS, you will receive an email containing a unique link to the GCS Skills Survey. The link is unique to you and will allow you to stop and start the survey at your convenience.  For this reason, please do not forward on your email.

If you do not receive an email with a link, it may because you are not registered as a full member of GCS or you joined your organisation’s communication team after March 2018.

If this is the case you may be entitled to receive a generic survey link.  You should contact your GCS representative in the first instance, this is the often the Development Adviser, or in smaller organisations it is the Head of Communication.  They in turn will contact GCS who can arrange for you to receive a generic survey link from late April enabling you to complete the survey and receive bespoke learning recommendations.

How will the survey benefit me?

At the end of the survey, you will receive your automatically generated bespoke learning recommendations. This includes recommended courses to attend and resources to consult, with priority areas identified. You will be able to save and print these. You will also be able to return to the learning recommendations webpage by clicking on your unique survey link after you have completed the survey.

Your learning recommendations should be used in your Personal Development Plan (PDP) in discussion with your line manager.

How is the survey structured?

1. MCOM Capabilities

The survey begins by asking you to self-assess your capability across the four core areas of MCOM, including an assessment of your digital skills.

The skill levels within each capability have been developed and agreed with Directors of Communications specialising in that area.

Don’t be concerned if your skill level in an area is low, as there are a lot of factors that can contribute to this e.g. no work experience in that area, new to the job.

2. Learning & Development

Next, there are a range of questions about learning and development to assess the level of support you receive on the job, the peers and through formal training.

3. Leadership Behaviours

The next section asks you to look at the behaviours in the Civil Service Leadership Statement. If you are a public servant, or aren’t familiar with this statement, still please complete this section, as we all display leadership behaviours in our day-to-day work, regardless of whether we manage people.

4. Information about you

The survey asks you to fill in some brief questions around your department, grade, specialism and region. None of this information will be used to identify individuals. Instead, it will set the results in context and help inform the GCS training and development offer. 

5. Results

On the final page of the survey, you will be able to save and print off your answers and learning recommendations. These contain a mixture of self-directed suggestions (e.g. books, websites and webinars) and formal training through the GCS Aspire curriculum.

Is the survey anonymous?

The survey is completely anonymous. ORC International are members of the Market Research Society and follow its Code of Conduct. As part of this, they abide by strict anonymisation rules. This applies across their technology platforms, reporting and data to ensure no individuals’ responses can be identified.

The skills survey is not a test, nor is it about assessing individual performance.  When answering questions, do not be limited by your current discipline – many of your skills will be transferable to the other areas. This survey is about providing a picture of where the profession is currently, and what support is needed to develop it going forward.

If you are unfamiliar with MCOM, please read the MCOM document ahead of completing the survey.

What support is there for technical problems?

It’s best to access the survey from one of the following browsers – Microsoft Internet Explorer v.10.0 and above (excluding the Enterprise Mode of IE11) or the latest two supported releases of Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

If you have any difficulties accessing the survey from work, please try accessing it from your tablet or smartphone.  If you are still having difficulties, please email the ORC International helpdesk at

Who can I contact with questions and feedback?

If you have questions or feedback for GCS, please contact

What will happen after the survey closes?

Following the closing date, the survey results will be analysed by ORC International and presented back to the GCS Professional Development team at the Cabinet Office. The anonymity of all results will be protected.

These will then be shared with Directors and Heads of Communication for organisational review by mid June 2018.

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