Reshaping GCS update: December 2020

Since the last update on 27 November, the Reshaping GCS programme team has been reviewing the timetable for the programme to make sure there is a sustainable and achievable plan to create a project we can all be proud of in 2021.  

Executive Director of government communications, Alex Aiken has met with Directors of Communications across government to discuss the programme timelines and next steps. 

Reshaping GCS will further strengthen and unify government communications, making the Government Communication Service (GCS) an even more effective, efficient service, speaking consistently with one voice. The Programme covers strands including standards, campaigns, careers, inclusion, technology, leadership and efficiency as well as employment.  

GCS is a brilliant service with fantastic people and potential. 2020 has shown what we can really achieve together. But we have the opportunity to take the lessons from coronavirus (COVID-19), Brexit and UK Transition, which have brought into sharp focus the need for all public sector communicators to collaborate more across discipline, team and organisational boundaries, to be the best profession we can possibly be. 

We must continue to stay ahead of changes in society and technology and to react to the changing needs of the people we serve. We will build on our achievements, driving even more impactful communications and better outcomes for citizens and we will have greater capacity to respond to government priorities through more agile resourcing models.

In 2021, we will introduce daily televised press briefings. We have also changed the way we measure our impact and these changes will only hasten as the communications landscape continues to change. 

The reforms will enable GCS to:

  • become a smaller, more unified profession with departmental core teams of 30 to cover press, social and rebuttal
  • strengthen engagement with Arm-length bodies (ALBs) to improve collaboration, share best practice and have a greater focus on impact and outcomes
  • deliver fewer, but bigger and better campaigns to focus on core government objectives, to better reach our audiences while achieving significant savings for the taxpayer
  • evolve the existing Communication Single Budget (CSB) process to focus on the Prime Minister’s seven priority themes under the umbrella of ‘Build Back Better’

A crucial part of how GCS becomes a unified service relies on work we will do together in the first half of 2021 to co-create the new organisation design and structure for GCS. 

It is not until we have completed this work together, that we will be in a position to confirm future models, team sizes, roles and processes, so members should not expect to see any substantial changes in headcount in their teams until the second half of next year at the earliest.

The GCS Reform Team will continue to keep members posted with the latest updates on the Reform Programme in the New Year.