Cabinet Office

Definitions

Disciplines

Internal communications
Responsible for strategic planning and managing both content and channels to reach all audiences within an organisation; frequently working closely with senior leadership, HR, business strategy and external communications teams to engage staff and support them in achieving the organisation’s goals most effectively.
Digital communication
Exploiting electronic media to target audiences, both internal and external to the organisation; key channels include the internet and the intranet for an organisation, making them more intuitive and user friendly. Future will require that digital communication is part of the skills set for all those working in communications, rather than a career path in its own right.
Strategic Communications
Based on a broad understanding of the full communications mix, strategic communicators work alongside both policy and communications team to develop integrated and evidence-based communications strategies and campaigns that target specific audiences, support the delivery of business objectives and help to build and maintain the organisation’s reputation. Some strategic communications teams may also encompass public correspondence, stakeholder engagement and customer research, as key sources of intelligence for the department. Planning, media grids, ministerial events and visits may also feature here.
Corporate communications
A career path built around building and promoting corporate reputation. It draws on the many disciplines that contribute to a holistic view of organisational reputation, such as, Internal communications, reputation risk management, branding, publications, digital communications and stakeholder engagement. This may include how a dept communicates with the organisations and stakeholders that are affected by its actions; mapping and prioritising them: and advising and delivering the best mix of communications and activities to successfully engage with them.
Marketing
Marketing within government departments most frequently comprises: planning and strategy development for integrated communication campaigns; creation and management of campaigns, using both above and below the line advertising techniques; customer insight: conducting research, insight and innovation to provide a rigorous understanding of customer behaviour, motivations and attitudes. Managing insight projects and applying multiple data sources in order to facilitate better policy and communications and improve outcomes for customers.
Press/media
Develops strategy and manages the external media profile both reactively and proactively to build, maintain and defend its external reputation. Works on behalf of both Ministers and policy teams. Speech writing is most often included here.

Generalist skills

Financial skills
You will need to keep abreast of your departmental/PSG requirements. Details of the PSG requirements in financial management applicable to you can be found at http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/improving/psg/psg-identifier/PSG-skills-identifier.aspx . At more senior levels, in the comms context, financial skills includes business forecasting and modelling.
Strategic and analytical skills
You will need a strategic awareness of the bigger picture, including the ability to gather evidence and analyse data, not just as a specialist communicator. Details of the PSG core skills in analysis and use of evidence applicable to you can be found at http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/improving/psg/psg-identifier/PSG-skills-identifier.aspx
People management
Communicators can be relatively senior before they take on formal line management responsibilities. Keep up to date with the performance management requirements in your dept and go to http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/improving/psg/psg-identifier/PSG-skills-identifier.aspx for details of the PSG core skills in people management that apply to you.
Leadership
This is a key requirement of all civil servants including communicators. It is one of the main core skill areas identified by PSG. See http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/improving/psg/psg-identifier/PSG-skills-identifier.aspx for details of how it applies to you.
Business Management
Managing a function is crucial experience in order to get the most senior jobs. Understanding resource management as well as programme and project management are key skills. See http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/improving/psg/psg-identifier/PSG-skills-identifier.aspx for details of the PSG core skills in programme and project management that apply to you.
Board membership
In order to reach director level you will need an understanding of corporate responsibility in running an organisation. This could be acquired outside of your department perhaps whilst gaining broader experience - see http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/improving/psg/psg-identifier/PSG-skills-identifier.aspx for more details of PSG requirements on broader experience applicable to you.