New GCS Curriculum launches

The Government Communication Service (GCS) Professional Standards team has launched a new curriculum for government communicators, setting out the standards for GCS members by grade, learning level and discipline.

Building on the work to date, including moving the GCS Academy online in May 2020, the initiative provides further opportunities for GCS members to learn new skills, develop their knowledge and take ownership of their career goals and ambitions.

The new GCS Curriculum is designed to set “ambitious professional standards for the GCS”, commented Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communications.

“We are a leading profession in the Civil Service with a theory of practice, a proud history, case studies and a canon of learning,” he said. “Maintaining our standards is the foundation of our public service and enables us to deliver the best work.”

Following the launch, GCS colleagues in central government departments will be asked to set out their learning for the coming year, in a Personal Development Plan (PDP), and supported to set aside 30 hours to invest in learning and development (L&D) during the reporting year (April-March).

New guidance for GCS communicators outlines the improvements to learning and development. The guidance also explains the principles for the new approach to L&D. These centre on making it quicker and easier to access and record L&D, as well as accommodating shifts in working patterns and different learning styles. A greater range of on-demand content is part of the curriculum and a greater range of activities count as L&D.

Alex Aiken added:

“The scale and pace of challenge and change in our work demands that our professional practice is constantly moving forward and is of an exceptionally high standard.

“At all times we need to be able to say with confidence that our communicators and our profession are truly world-class, delivering for ministers and implementing government policy effectively.”

To accompany the new Curriculum, the GCS Professional Standards team has created 130 new pages setting out the content to improve your skills, organised by grades and disciplines. In total, we will share more than 140 learning activities, including external and GCS resources.

New online content covers key comms skills, such as creating a strategy for a senior leader, resilience in communications practice and getting the most out of events, from GCS directors of communication, including an introduction to government communications by Alex Aiken.

The new GCS Curriculum forms part of the wider work to better support and develop our profession as a key pillar of the Reshaping GCS programme. Gemmaine Walsh, Transformation Director, Reshaping GCS, commented:

“Whether it’s addressing mis- and disinformation or playing a crucial role in tackling the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, colleagues in the GCS are front and centre in delivering the government’s priorities.

“Communications practice is constantly changing, new tools being developed, and new ways to understand our impact on behaviour change. We are acknowledged worldwide as practicing the best as standard, and that means constantly learning.”

Invest in yourself, explore our curriculum today! The new GCS Curriculum allows all government communicators to take control of their own career path, through a tailored programme of learning that includes on-the-job training and GCS Academy courses.