Government communicators enter The IC Space

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Government communicators enter The IC Space

How do you achieve excellence in internal communication? Where does your comms team turn to for advice and guidance on all things internal communication (IC) related?

Through this article I’m going to share with you news of a brand new IC toolkit that has been launched to help communicators working in Government, and as it’s publicly available, it can benefit you too.

It’s a cracker, I think you’re going to love it. Plus I’m going to share details with you of a brand new event that I’m going to be speaking at in a few weeks’ time.

In 2013 the Government Communication Service (GCS) @UKGovcomms, here in the UK announced it was undertaking a review of government communications. Professional communicators found themselves under the spotlight as the reforms swept through the ranks, with the aim of improving internal communication and professionalising it.

Internal Communications Excellence

Called the UK Government Internal Communications Excellence project (#ICExcellence on Twitter), it has been underway since the Autumn and headed up by Russell Grossman, @russellgrossman, Director of Communications, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Writing on the GCS blog, he describes the project as “one of the building blocks creating a stronger, more professional communications service across government” and says that over the course of three months, 30 people in government have been working on six different parts of the project. 

Russell writes: “#ICExcellence is aimed across the Civil Service and its Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs). This comprises around 350 organisations containing some 420,000 people – which must constitute one of the largest employee groups in the UK. So there’s a lot to gain here if we get this right. 

“When all the #ICExcellence strands are complete, later in 2014, we should be much better equipped to create significantly raised levels of employee engagement across government. This should not only raise performance but also the extent to which people create enhanced value for UK business and citizens, and feel more valued in return for doing so.”

Introducing The IC Space

The IC SpaceThis work is still underway, and a key part of the reform is creating excellent internal comms across government. This week a brand new toolkit has gone live to support this ambition.

It’s called The IC Space and billed as the place for internal communication professionals across government. I’ve had a good rummage through, to bring you my impressions and what you can discover on the site.

Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communications called 2014 “the year of internal communication” – and it’s off to a great start with this launch.

Information in The IC Space has been pulled together by internal communicators, for internal communicators, to help them deliver excellent government communications.

And it shows.

It’s divided into chapters which have top tips, basic tools, case studies and best practice examples to help IC pros do their job more effectively and increase the leadership, skills and support they need.

Strategy and internal communicationHow incredibly refreshing! Congratulations to everyone involved in this project, it’s clearly been a huge piece of work to date.

It was headed up by Victoria Ford @victoriafordUK, Head of Communications at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, DVLA, who led a team of writers, editors and designers.

Further reading: You can read an article by Victoria on @comms2point0 today about the work she’s been doing with The IC Space.

The beta version

I like the fact it’s a work in progress (is called the beta version), and it has a clear call to action for communicators to get involved and give their impressions on the content, so it can be constantly improved.

Writing on the GCS blog, Russell states: “What do we mean by a beta version? Well, it’s a first edition that will evolve and grow over time. You might find it works better on your personal IT kit than on some government computers: this is because things like embedded video are restricted in some places for security. However, we didn’t want to exclude these resources for people who can access them.”

There are lots of videos in there covering all sorts of topics. I’ve included some on this page.

The role of internal communication is defined as:

  • Help the business to deliver its objectives
  • Help staff see the connection between their job and the organisation’s vision
  • Understand employee engagement and what drives it
  • Help managers communicate better with their teams

I really like the description under the last point: “The single-most influential factor in effective internal communications must be those who have face to face contact with staff day in, day out. Leadership is said to account for two-thirds of the impact on employees’ attitudes and behaviour. In comparison, the formal channels – where internal communication traditionally spends most of its efforts – account for less than 10 per cent of the impact, but takes up the majority of the time and budget. No amount of technological sophistication can replace an honest and meaningful conversation with your manager.”

What can you expect from The IC Space?

Here you can watch Russell Grossman giving an overview of The IC Space, which will be fully launched in the Summer:

How does the Government define internal communication?
Via The IC Space, Russell states: “Internal Communications’ function is to help leaders in your Department or Agency inform and engage employees, in a way which motivates staff to maximise their performance and deliver the business strategy most effectively. It is not about ‘sending out stuff’.”

Among the content on the site is an insight into some of the internal communication currently happening, including how film is being used:

What can you find in The IC Space?

It is divided into chapters and covers a wide range of topics including

There is even a printable version of all of the content (it’s split into PDF chapters).

As you can see from the list above, it’s jam-packed with good content. I’m impressed by the variety of the content and the depth of some of the articles. Do take a look through, I think you’ll love it! The content is relevant, timely and detailed and the majority is applicable not only for people working across government, but in any industry or sector.

Internal Communications Excellence event

bisIn February two Internal Communication Excellence #ICExcellence events are taking place for government communicators. The first is on 12 February in London and the second on 18 February in Manchester, UK.

I have been invited to speak and will be joining Alex Aiken and Russell Grossman in setting the scene and opening the Achieving Excellence in Internal Communications conference on 12 February (unfortunately previous commitments in my diary means I’m unable to join the 18 February session too, which is a shame).

This is the first Government Communication Service GCS Internal Communications Conference, and I’m delighted to have been asked to play a part and am looking forward to meeting with communicators.

The event will tackle the challenges facing public sector practitioners head on including; leadership, development, engagement, digital and provide an opportunity to find out more about the GCS internal communications excellence reform project and for communicators to have their say.

What do you think of The IC Space? Are you going on 12 February? As ever you’re welcome to comment below or tweet me @AllthingsIC to share your thoughts.

Thank you for stopping by

Rachel

Post author: Rachel Miller @AllthingsIC

Further reading: Communications Capability: A Year in Review

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