Talking to government? Think policy hub, not department

The new Government Communications Plan might have a foreword from Francis Maude but the hand of Alex Aiken, the new Executive Director of Government Communications, is all over it.

Having heard Alex present on the future of government comms at the recent CIPR Northern Conference, it is no surprise to see his favourite word of the moment – ‘exceptional’ – prominent here.

What this document does reflect is both the repositioning of comms and PR at the heart of the government information machine and the creation of the new communications hubs.

The one side of A4 communication plans summaries for each department (I bet the editing was fun) are also a welcome introduction and a good starting point for anyone looking to engage with a particular department on a comms issue.

More important though as a signpost for the future are the seven communication hubs – Health and Care; Tax and Benefits; Infrastructure, Communities, Environment and Personal Safety; Crime and Justice; Growth and Economy; Public Services and UK Interests Abroad.

Joined-up-thinking is one of those great over-used phrases which often doesn’t mean a lot, but this is a clear recognition from Government that real people think about issues, not departmental lines of responsibility, and is good to see.

For anyone looking to work with Government and add value to their own comms work, it is also an invaluable guide to the key agenda issues as we move forward.