Government communications: how to get great results with limited resources and budget


Let’s face it, the past few years in government communications have been intense. Some of the BFBS team have experienced it first hand as former members of the Government Communications Service and others have helped clients to navigate what have at times been stormy seas.  

We’ve put our heads together to look at where the biggest challenges have arisen and where with limited time and budgets you can still get great results. 

The challenges


Pitching for budget for your communications activity is often a drawn-out process, followed frequently by an equally lengthy procurement process to source the agencies and support you need. Using the Crown Commercial rosters helps with this as all the agencies on those rosters are already cleared suppliers for government use. If you have some preferred suppliers, it’s worth getting initial thoughts and ballpark budgets from them to support any pitches for budget you need to make internally. All this helps to speed things up.

Content creation

There are some incredibly talented creative people in government, so making sure the content creation elements of your teams are well briefed is a tried and tested route to success. So often we see emails forwarded with a ‘see below’ which can make even the strongest soul’s creative juices cease flowing. Encouraging internal ‘clients’ and strategic communications teams to develop briefs which are clear and concise answering some of the key questions of who, what, where and why, will make all the difference to how your teams respond. Sharing links for inspiration, including examples of best practice, always help to inspire. 

Planning, insight, and evaluation

Making time for thinking ahead can be a real challenge in an increasingly reactive world. Using audience insights to create messages and content that are proven to resonate with your audiences is time well spent and will reap much better returns in the long run. Having team members dedicated to this function helps to pave the way for communications activity with impact and provides you with useful evidence for when you need to persuade colleagues of the merits of similar approaches for other projects. 

Having a back-up

In the past one of the easiest ways of ensuring delivery was to ensure you had all the skills you needed in house. But lately it’s not been easy to recruit into communications roles and this has caused a gap in many teams, not just in government. To help with this, running a skills audit for your team that identifies any gaps can help to signpost what training and development you need to provide. If you already have agencies on retainers for work, it’s worth exploring if members of their teams can come in for short stints to help fill in the gaps temporarily and you can find out what training they can provide you with. One client had Ladbible come in over a series of weeks to help inspire their digital team, which gave their content a vital creative boost. 

How can BFBS help?

We've been where you are and we've seen the challenges you're facing. BFBS are working on increasingly diverse briefs, from green energy to mental health and recruitment. Be it providing external back up to ideas you are trying to get across the line internally, through to fielding members of our team to work in situ within your team, we’re here to support you. From the how-tos of procurement to campaign execution, let us know what challenges you are up against, and we’ll show you a team that is willing and able to help.