Skilled People – Better Outcomes

Blog post by Michelle Cupples, GCS Professional Development

Thursday 16 March 2017

Next month marks the start of the new professional learning curriculum for government communicators.

To start the preparations for its launch, GCS recently hosted leading communicators from across the world of public service communications; government departments, agencies and arms length bodies (ALBs) including Natural England, Ofsted, Environment Agency, Student Loans, Network Rail, NHS Business Services and the UK Space Agency.

GCS’ Diversity Champion and Director of Marketing and Communications at NHS Blood and Transplant, Léonie Austin, Director of Government Communications, Alex Aiken and Deputy Director GCS Professional Development, Michelle Cupples recognised many great examples where the invited organisations have supported communicators in their professional development.

From Matt Goodman’s hugely popular ‘MCOM Mondays’ that run in the South West; to Environment Agency’s Francesca’s Glyn-Jones’ GCS Northern conference; to Ofsted’s Michael’s Winders, East of England Skills Masterclass event for over 140 members – all these events illustrate the brilliant initiatives that everyone up and down the regions and nations are doing to raise our standards of the GCS profession.

Networking our skilled people through high-class training, learning and development, in an ever-closer GCS network of communicators across the Civil Service and our wider public service organisations, is our vision for GCS.

The event identified five keys ways to improve our professional learning and to link central departments and other public agencies.

1) First, get the basics right, Join our new GCS LinkedIn group and make sure all your staff include their contact details on GCS People Finder . These simple steps mean all can follow this group’s example to set up local learning.

2) Second, use the new GCS curriculum when it is published. Keep checking the GCS website!

3) Thirdwe need to take training round the country.

So, in GCS we are responding to your request to bring more learning opportunities outside of London, including our Strategic Campaigns Masterclass, and our Introduction to Government Communications. 

Efforts to share across organisational and geographical boundaries don’t just help ALBs to take up the best practice from central Government.

They create important opportunities for the regional ALBs to feed into GCS’ central learning development, what expertise is needed locally for public service operational communications.

4) Fourth, we need to keep developing leaders so we are inviting leaders from ALBs to get involved in presenting at our Spring Leadership Roadshows.

Contact us for opportunities to get involved in these leadership development events.

5) Fifth, GCS is also inviting ALBs to send links to key ALB websites where jobs are posted. We can share links on the GCS website.  NHS jobs are now available.  Due to volume of vacancies we can’t take individual job postings unfortunately.



Our collective challenges

A stronger and genuinely national approach to learning is required because of the many organisations and public bodies are facing major change.

The significant transformation programme at Defra and its restructuring of its ALBs, is one example where increasingly diverse demands will be made of GCS in the centre to reflect ALB needs in central Departmental communications strategies.

We need to be more representative ….It supports our commitment to become a more inclusive and diverse profession. Read GCS Diversity Strategy.

Recent learning events set up in York, Manchester, and Surrey show that these members are embracing GCS standards, and our offer for personal and professional development.


“ There’s a stronger connectivity to standards, careers in GCS and professional standards now than was available previously”.

Claire McGhee, Student Loans


GCS invites ALBs to send details to of your ideas and scheduled events so we can publish these learning opportunities on the GCS website.

The GCS provides a strong professional network, excellent learning and development opportunities and career progression to all talented public service communicators working across the regions and nations and in diverse organisations.

That’s what we mean by better outcomes and skilled people, making GCS a great place to work

Thank you to:

Lydia Fitzpatrick                       Natural England

Claire McGhee                         Student Loans

Susan Yallop                            NHS

Pauline O’Brien                       Network Rail

Karen Hetherington                Environment Agency

Michael Winders                    Ofsted

Matt Goodman                       UK Space Agency

Francesca’s Glyn-Jones        Environment Agency

Sarah Hayden                       PHE


This website uses cookies. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookies notice