Working in government
Explore the skills you need to work in government - part of the Government Campus learning curriculum
The Civil Service is a large, complex, modern organisation. Some of the skills you need to succeed in the Civil Service - such as writing skills - are common to all such organisations. Others - such as understanding Parliament and legislation - are more specific to working in government.
To help you find the learning you need, this page is divided into the following sections:
- Writing and personal effectiveness
- Understanding government and Parliament
- Digital and data skills for all
You can also explore other parts of the learning curriculum:
- Foundational skills you need as a civil servant
- Skills you need as a leader and manager
- Domain-specific knowledge you need within your organisation
Writing and personal effectiveness
The ability to write clearly and concisely is not a luxury. Good writing is essential for delivering public services, developing policy and improving your personal effectiveness. Our writing skills brochure sets out new opportunities for teams and individuals to build their writing skills. This includes:
Foundations of writing in government: JASPER - This free online course that you can complete at your own pace covers: Jargon, Acronyms, Short Sentences, Plain English, Editors and Readers. These principles are relevant to all writing: whether it’s internal emails, notes of meetings, text for websites or more formal reports.
Advance your writing in government (£) - This course builds on the foundational skills course and helps teams focus on effective writing in government. Delivered by Apolitical over 4 weeks, the course allows participants to learn flexibly.
Advising, briefing and drafting (£) - This course focuses on writing briefings, submissions, ministerial correspondence and writing for different audiences and drafting lines to take.
Writing effective emails - This course provides useful tips on how to write and structure your emails with colleagues and external stakeholders.
Personal effectiveness is essential in the workplace. It involves performing to the best of your ability, managing your time efficiently, and maximising your skills. By improving your personal effectiveness, you can enhance your productivity, achieve success and develop your career. Learning opportunities include:
Collaboration across departments, government and beyond - This free online course introduces you to the value of collaboration and the practical skills and techniques that you need to work across government.
Asserting yourself positively (£) - This course provides you with ways in which you can recognise different behaviours and have strategies to deal with them to develop greater confidence to communicate your ideas and develop greater influence around the workplace.
Presenting confidently (£) - This course will give you tools and techniques to deliver presentations with greater confidence. Whether you are presenting at internal meetings, briefings and public events to large or small groups of people, the techniques will enable you to get your message across more effectively and confidently.
Understanding government and Parliament
Understanding the Civil Service Code
The Civil Service Code governs how all civil servants must conduct themselves. Developing an understanding of the Code is a key part of induction training for new civil servants but you can undertake a refresher at any time and more advanced, tailored training is available quarterly.
Working with Parliament
Parliament has a daily impact on the work of every civil servant, department and profession and understanding how to work with Parliament is essential for all civil servants in order to support ministers and ensure our work is effectively communicated to MPs and peers. Parliamentary training is free and available to all civil servants and our ‘Working with Parliament’ page is designed to guide you through the entire parliamentary learning offer so you know which learning is right for you.
Understanding devolution, how it impacts your work and how the four governments work together is critical for all civil servants and will help you deliver more effectively for citizens across the UK. Our devolution and intergovernmental working page will provide you with a good introduction to devolution and intergovernmental working and why it is important.
Understanding cross-government policy areas
There are some areas of policy that touch all of our work, whether we are in the policy profession or not. These include:
Understanding the UK outside the EU - This free online course is a must-read for all. It explains how the UK’s position relative to the European Union (EU) has changed, the opportunities of our changing relationship with the EU and the UK’s new position as an independent actor.
Climate and the environment - This free online learning provides an introduction to climate change, the Government’s response to it and the implications this has for working in the Civil Service.
Digital and data skills for all
Digital and data skills are vital for all civil servants, not just those in the digital, data & technology (DDaT) and other related professions. We need to ensure we are comfortable with using data and are keeping pace with digital developments to provide the best service to users. We are currently developing a digital and data skills for all brochure. We are also supporting this year’s One Big Thing which aims to ensure every civil servant has completed at least one day of data training. Existing opportunities include:
Data visualisation 101 - This free online course provides good data visualisation techniques to reduce complex evidence to its core, allowing stakeholders to understand what matters.
Data quality - Whether you use data regularly for reporting purposes or only occasionally to help inform specific projects, this free online course will help you to consider data quality issues and equip you to have more effective discussions with data specialists.