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Government information in the 21st century

Performers at the BRIT school, Croydon

Photo credit: Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, Crown Copyright

The Civil Service Guidance on Propriety sets out the role for civil servants in communicating the policies of the Government:

As part of the Government’s duty to govern, it needs to explain its policies and decisions to the electorate. The Government has the right to expect the department to further its policies and objectives, regardless of how politically controversial they might be.

It defines some principles for government communication, specifying that it:

  • should be relevant to government responsibilities;
  • should be objective and explanatory, not biased or polemical;
  • should not be – or liable to be – misrepresented as being party political; and
  • should be conducted in an economic and appropriate way, and should be able to justify the costs as expenditure of public funds.

So I’m really proud of what the team achieved today in support of explaining a controversial area of government policy using modern methods and at low cost. Accompanying Lord Mandelson and Ben Bradshaw’s visit to the BRIT school in Croydon to put the other side of the peer-to-peer file-sharing debate, the guys created a multimedia package that takes the press notice and tells an interesting policy story. What’s more, it was live on Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and the corporate website within 4 hours as one of our new-style hybrid stories/multimedia resource pages.

Combined with the Digital Britain Forum blog’s discussion of the file-sharing issue, I think this makes an interesting and little-heard case for a policy, through digital media. I think that’s what government information in the 21st century is about.

Great work, guys.

  1. yep, the team did well on this one. think rory beat you with the youtube vid, but your work was very polished. Great example of engagement. Shame the subject matter won’t really appeal to joe public but you did a gradely job. Smashing.

  2. Lesteph, fantastic stuff and really good work from the team. How can we make this the norm – not just for BIS but everywhere?

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