Cabinet Office
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New central government communication service to save money and raise standards

Plans to improve standards and evaluate effectiveness of government communication were unveiled yesterday by Executive Director of Government Communication Alex Aiken.

Building on the strengths of communications teams across government, the 11 steps include creating a new Government Communication Service that encourages innovation and focuses on value for money. The new approach puts an emphasis on evaluating effective communications and will see departments’ teams supported by an additional central resource of expertise for specific, short-term projects or emerging priorities and breaking news issues.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

Our Civil Service Reform programme is designed to equip civil servants with the right skills for tomorrow’s world, helping Britain compete in the global race. Today we’ve outlined details of our plans to reform government communications. These innovations will help deliver more effective communications, ensuring the maximum value for hardworking taxpayers.

Alex Aiken said:

This year we are projected to spend £237 million on communicating vital messages about what government is doing. Whether it’s helping the public to apply for a start-up loan for a new business or keeping fit and healthy, we want to make sure that we’re squeezing every pound of hardworking taxpayers’ money to get the maximum impact out of our communications.

Our plans to create a central Government Communication Service will improve standards right across Whitehall and make sure we’re a profession that is more skilled, more valued, less bureaucratic and more unified.

We’re supporting cross-government collaboration but also empowering departments to better deliver their individual communications aims. By ensuring communication strategies are focused on government priorities we will be able to further reduce spending at the same time as increasing the quality of government communication.

The steps taken to transform Whitehall into a leaner, more efficient machine, generated £10 billion of savings for the taxpayer in 2012 to 2013 alone. Of this, more than £40 million resulted from the Cabinet Office’s controls on advertising, marketing and communications spend.

Following the priorities set out in the Communications Plan for 2013/14, the 11 point plan for reform includes:

  • creating a new Government Communication Service
  • mandatory evaluation to track effectiveness and justify value for money
  • aligning departmental communications strategies with government priorities
  • revising and improving communications spending controls
  • improving governance through a new Government Communication Board
  • creating group communication structures to align work of departments and their major arms-length bodies
  • improving cross-government internal communications
  • improving regional communication services
  • enhancing existing Communications Hubs to improve joint working between departments
  • providing additional central resource to support departments
  • integrating social media and digital channels within all communications functions, including the press office

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