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Using non-corporate communication channels (NCCC)

Using non-corporate communication channels (NCCC) (e.g.WhatsApp, private email, SMS) for government business


1. This guidance supersedes Guidance to departments on the use of private email. It communicates government policy and promotes good practice with the following goals:

a. To facilitate efficient day-to-day government discussions in a modern way;

b. To reduce risks to the security of information;

c. To comply with the principles of good government, including record-keeping, accountability and transparency.

2. Departments must link to this government-wide guidance in their guidance to staff and may provide additional advice if required by their specific risk environment.

3. This guidance applies to central government and arm’s length bodies. It applies to all individuals in central government (ministers, special advisers, officials, contractors, non-executive board members and independent experts advising ministers).

Policy principles

4. Departments should, as far as reasonably practicable, enable approaches in their core systems that reduce the need for NCCCs.

5. Government communications belong to the Crown and must be handled lawfully. If you hold such communications in NCCCs you do so on behalf of your department.

6. This guidance requires you to exercise professional judgement appropriate to your circumstances, including with regard to the codes of conduct and legal obligations which apply to you and the post you hold within your department. Use NCCCs with care and be prepared to explain and defend your choices.

7. All government information has a classification (even if not formally marked) and falls within the Government Security Classifications Policy. You must observe any restrictions applied to information, such as Handling Instructions or Descriptors.

Crown Copyright

March 30th 2023

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