FEATURE26 November 2015

Ministry of Numbers

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Impact Public Sector UK

“Communications is one of the four main levers of government,” says Alex Aiken, executive director for Government Communications. “A government can legislate; it can regulate; it can impose taxation and it can communicate.”


This sentiment was reflected two years ago when communications was recognised as one of nine functional professions within the Civil Service – there are 25 professions in total – and the Government Communication Service (GCS) was founded, with Aiken at its head.

The GCS’s role is to support communicators in delivering the government’s policy priorities and their success is evaluated according to their progress against the annual Communications Plan.

Aiken takes evaluation very seriously. He is such a firm believer in its value that he describes it as “the foundation stone of the professional credibility that gives communicators a right to speak at the top decision-making level in an organisation”.

While some may think in terms of communications being a creative pursuit, Aiken’s focus on the measurement side manifests itself in his own, unique method of drilling home the importance of numbers.

One of the first things Aiken did when he took up his role two years ago was to ensure that every government ...