Public Sector Copywriting

Public sector copywriting that engages, informs and influences.

The UK public sector is vast. It encompasses government services such as local councils, housing, education, social services, healthcare, transport, military, police and numerous other government bodies. As a result, public sector copywriting involves collating, interpreting and articulating sometimes complex source information from multiple stakeholders and interested parties, They will all have equally valid but sometimes conflicting points of view that have to be considered and, if important, incorporated. Likewise, public sector audiences are as  huge and diverse, with contrasting priorities, challenges, motivations, levels of interest and understanding.

Public sector communications have a reputation for subject matter that can be dry and dull. Much of the source material is data-driven and the content is message-based, which doesn’t always lend itself to creativity. More often than not, the message is key in public sector copywriting. Therefore, the objective of a campaign is often behavioural change, the content is focussed on the benefits of the services or initiative, the language must be appropriate to that particular audience and the tone of voice must engage, inform, influence and motivate. A public sector copywriter is challenged with finding a way that frames the message clearly and concisely, and in a way that is likely to gain a positive response.

Public setor copywriting and content creation can involve writing material for a wide variety of formats – from brochures to leaflets, website content to direct mail, corporate reports to policy documents, case studies to advertisements. In each case, it starts with understanding the public sector organisation, the nature of its work and its objectives. You also need to understand the audience (key public sector service users) that you’re communicating with and any pre-existing viewpoints they may have. Decisions are made on intuition and emotions as often as they are on considered thought. So, it’s essential that you consider what the audience wants to hear and what their decision-making process might be.

  • Understand the purpose of the organisation and the objective of the communications.
  • Identify the key messages that need to be communicated.
  • Understand the priorities, challenges and motivations of the audience.
  • Consider behavioural change and how the copy might influence it.
  • Identify a tone of voice that the audience will relate to.


During my career, I have worked for central Government and written for an eclectic range of public sector organisations including the Cabinet Office, the Department of Communities & Local Government, the Information Commissioner’s Office, National Health Service, Parliamentary Ombudsman and several regional and local authorities. If you would like to discuss a project, please contact me.

“Tom has been our go-to copywriter for several years. He writes informative and engaging press releases and case studies that never fail to get coverage”.

Ginny Murphy, The Wheel Specialist