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My experience in the Ministry of Justice on the GCS internship programme

Blog posted by: Sana Ajmal, former GCS Intern at the Ministry of Justice, 17 February 2022.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Politics from City, University of London, and have since worked in digital marketing roles. Given my digital marketing and politics background, the Government Communication Service (GCS) internship programme was a perfect combination of both experiences.

Why I applied to the programme

I applied to the programme to partake in real-life political issues, which would allow me to further develop my communications skillset and provide an insight into the Civil Service. I was excited to hear back that I would be working in the Strategic Communications’ Digital Team within the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Working in the Digital Team

The Digital Team have provided me with an extremely supportive working environment. During my first week I had one-to-one introductions with the team to learn more about the different policy portfolios that they cover – Victims, Prisons, Probation, Sentencing, Courts and Justice.

My Line Manager was instrumental in ensuring I had varied opportunities and projects to get involved in to develop my government communication skillset, as well as supporting my personal career development.

My role supported the Courts and Justice portfolio. As part of this, I led the digital handling for various consultations and announcements. This involved working collaboratively with Policy teams on optimal timelines, producing creative briefs for the Design Team and writing social media copy, liaising with Policy and Special Advisors for clearance.

I completed my Government Digital Service (GDS) Content Academy training, and have since worked on building various press releases, correspondent and corporate reports on GOV.UK.

Additionally, I was involved in a collaborative project between the MoJ and the Supreme Court to write interview questions and co-film content with the Supreme Court Justices alongside the Digital Team’s producer.

I have participated in insight and analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of social communications activity against channel benchmarks weekly, and I also co-presented a review of the channel strategy through sub-analysis by policy area, content type and announcement type to provide more granular analysis that will influence the social media channel strategies going forward.

During my time in GCS, I was also given opportunities to participate in tasks involving cross-government departments, and the wider Strategic Communications Team. I have represented the Digital Team on digital planning calls with Number 10, supported the international trade mission to promote UK legal services, collaborated with the Permanent Secretary’s Team to build key insight to support social media strategy, and presented updates on the Courts and Justice portfolio in a weekly ‘Pechakucha’ meeting.

The Civil Service offers a number of valuable educational opportunities on important topics including wellbeing, diversity and inclusion and I took advantage of these by attending events during Mental Health Awareness Week, Black History Month and Islamophobia Awareness Month.

What I learned from the experience

I gained an in-depth understanding of how the Strategic Communications Digital Team operate in communicating government policies to the wider public, taking into account Ministerial priorities. It was very interesting to be part of a team working to communicate and adapt during a Cabinet reshuffle and seeing how this affected day-to-day priorities and ways of working.


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