Today was Govcamp day. There was a fashion a few years ago for quick list-based blog posts reflecting on the day. That might be an idea worth reviving.

  • I love talking to Catherine Howe. She’s always thinking about the same kinds of things I am, just three steps further ahead.
  • If you ever want an event launched with energy and elan, to say nothing of boldness, get Janet Hughes to do it.
  • She asked those for whom it was their first Govcamp to stand up. Many more did than I would have guessed. Which is excellent.
  • It was lovely to be at Govcamp with two work colleagues, Carla Groom and Richard Barton. Suddenly I am not the only one, which feels like a big step in the direction I hoped for after my first Govcamp, seven years ago.
  • It was great to see Clare Moriarty. Not because she’s a permanent secretary, but because she’s a leader of the change we still need, to stop digital being something separate.
  • John Sheridan always talks about impossibly difficult problems. But they are always fascinating and thought provoking. And he’s usually quietly getting on with solving them.
  • It turns out that having a bright blue cast on your arm is a perfect conversational ice breaker. I may need to wear one next year.
  • But it also turns out that eating sandwiches off a paper plate with one hand malfunctioning requires meticulous weight and balance calculations after every bite.
  • There was a fascinating discussion on civil service ethics in changing political times and whether the conventional ideas of election purdah and complete political neutrality are still sustainable. I am half tempted to write more on that. But I suspect I have already written quite enough, both recently in relation to the political shocks of 2016, and prompted by the last general election (to say nothing of the one before).
  • It’s not transformation if nothing changes.
  • “Is technology the problem?” asked Tim Davies. The answer to that from the discussion he led is pretty clearly that it isn’t. But our collective ability to respond socially and economically to the pace of technological change may prove to be a very real problem.
  • Govcamp does not arrange itself. The quality of organisation and attention to detail is extraordinary. We are very fortunate in the enthusiasm and sheer graft of those who put in the hard work to make it all look effortless
  • Govcamp is still useless. That’s still its superpower.

Original source – Public Strategist

There is a Venn diagram of overlap for NHS communication and fundraising. This excellent new post highlights what they are, and points to where communicators can learn and develop their skills.

by Amanda Nash

If, like me, you’ve worked in comms for some time, you’ll have seen your fair share of change. When I joined the NHS, I took over a Press Office.

Today, our Communications Team is responsible for communicating with staff, being the experts in social media; running websites, intranets, large-scale events such as Open Days, making patient information videos, apps, planning and implementing behaviour change campaigns and, over the last six years, I’ve also worked with a Charitable Funds colleague to plot and implement the development of fundraising in our Trust.

Pro-active fundraising by charitable arms of NHS organisations is, with the exception of a few charities such as GOSH and Southampton, a relatively nascent movement. The Association of NHS Charities was only founded in 2000 and the Charity Commission Guidance for NHS Charities was published as recently as 2012. 

Only now are health services beginning to realise both the warm community support and opportunities for social capital to be gained from charitable work. We talk about a ‘post-truth world’ but truth is determined by people based on who they trust. Social capital builds trust. It’s worth investing in, as is, of course, a fundraising function that in these austere times, increases much-valued donations.

At my own trust, we have proved people really do want to give back to the hospital or services they have benefited from. In fact, for parents of NICU babies or families who have been involved with Intensive Care, for example, being able to give something back often is an important part of their own emotional journey.

Thanks to two consecutive fundraisers and our core comms team, supported by members of the local community baking cakes, abseiling down buildings, running races, selling toys, jumping out of planes etc, on Christmas Eve we announced that our first proactive Appeal – Gold Dust – had exceeded its £100k target. Now our Paediatric Services will begin spending that money, so generously given, to refurbish our children’s wards.

Developing pro-active fundraising has been an interesting journey. As someone schooled and qualified in communications with the CIPR and Healthcare Communications with the CHCR, these are the lesson I think comms can learn from fundraising:

1.       Focus on the donor.

Fundraisers talk about the ‘donor experience’ and they map this carefully. What motivates someone to give to your charity? When they make that decision, how does the charity support them? When they have made a donation, how does the charity thank them and keep them up-to-date with developments? How, in short, do we make the donor experience a good one? That focus on the donor, their wishes, motivations, experience is core to everything the fundraiser does.

Contrast this with how professional communicators often broadly categorise stakeholders into homogeneous groups, sometimes without careful thought about all of their needs and wishes. In fact, all too often the focus is on the message – what the communicator wants to say – rather than who we want to talk to, the context in which they are living/working and what their needs are.

Imagine mapping stakeholders according to their needs and then tracking their experience of your campaign, seeing it through their eyes, not the eyes of the communicating organisation.

2.       Enable others

Some charity supporters will want to bake, some to race, some to lose weight etc. Good fundraisers empower and support donors but they don’t do it for them. They say, ‘how can I help you? What fundraising tools can we give you – perhaps a posters or advice on setting up a justgiving page – to help you?’  But they don’t take over and run every race themselves. In fact, the fewer Appeal-organised events the better, because it means motivated people are doing it themselves.

This model of empowering and enabling is one traditional communicators should already be adopting. I think of it as the power of toolkits, not takeover.  We shouldn’t be frightening of empowering people to be better communicators and growing away from us. What matters is their support and motivation. If they are becoming better communicators, in support of an organisation’s core goals, isn’t that a success? Our role is up-skilling and ensuring the right support and frameworks are in place for them.

We took this approach with the advent of social media. I remember telling our consultant committee we could have six people in a comms team tweeting, facebooking and youtubing or we could support 6,000 staff to do it. It’s a no-brainer. We created a permissive social media policy, up-skilled our leaders and other staff in using it and, hey presto. See our @PHNT_NHS matrons in action on twitter:

3.       Use the power of networks

If one donor supports a cause and fundraises for it, they tap into their family and friends’ network for support and your campaign/appeal has wider reach. The key to this is letting the donors take the lead and reach into their networks. If as the expert communicators, you get No 2 right, this follows.

4.       Create a great cause …

… and people will support it. Not everyone. Stroke is hugely important to some people but less so to others; the same for dementia or mental health or breast cancer etc  You can’t expect support from everyone.

But get the why right from the start, make it a good one and inspire those with a personal interest and motivation to support you. This is the most important step in any comms work. When I think about our flu vaccination campaign for staff, it’s the why that matters: Protect yourself, protect your patients, protect your family.

For any organisation, get your values right, give people something they will want to support and a reason for doing so. Be careful not to skip over why to what, how, when etc.

There’s plenty of overlap between fundraising and comms and much to be learned by the respective professions from each other. I’m now looking forward to the next leg of our journey – developing our hospital charity.

Amanda Nash is Head of Communications at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

image via the British Red Cross

 

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

I’m Kathryn Baxendale and I’m part of the Carer’s Allowance digital service team. Carer’s Allowance was the first of DWP’s digital services to go live back in October 2013, and makes it easier for carers to apply for help at a time that suits them. We currently receive around 5,000 claims each week, with an average 90% customer satisfaction.

Carer’s Allowance digital service was built around the needs of users and is constantly being updated with new features every two weeks. Although this fast pace of development is fantastic, it highlighted the need of different users – DWP’s operations colleagues.

Multi-channel support for customers

To be able to fully support our customers on their digital journey, colleagues in the Carer’s Allowance unit needed access to the most up-to-date version of the service that customers were using.

So the developers built a replica of the service for our operations colleagues, meaning that they can see exactly what the customer can see.

The replica looks and behaves exactly like the live service, except it doesn’t submit claims and has a side menu to enable users to skip to any page in the application. It’s the same software as the live system so every time the live service changes, so does the replica – with minimal or no maintenance required.

To make sure the replica met the users’ needs, the developers worked closely with operations colleagues who provided their expert input and carried out usability testing prior to go-live.

Show the thing

As with all of our digital projects in DWP, showing people and explaining what you’ve done is important and this was no different. We went to every team in the Carer’s Allowance unit and delivered the replica to them. We ‘showed the thing’ and let people interact with it, with resounding positive feedback.

The bit that colleagues like the most is that they no longer have to say to customers, “it will be just a moment”, or “it just takes a few minutes to get into the system” – all the information can be easily accessed in an instant.

Customers at the heart

In this digital age, customers expect to be able to move seamlessly between online and traditional channels. The Carer’s Allowance replica allows them to do this, as operations colleagues are better equipped to provide digital support to customers when they need it.

Customers are the heart of everything we do in DWP Digital, and we’re dedicated to creating amazing user experiences that meet their needs. We’re proud that the Carer’s Allowance replica is enabling us to do just that, for customers and colleagues alike.

Original source – DWP Digital

When different parts of the public sector share services and exchange data it’s important that we can rely on the basic security of each other’s technology, and that the data will maintain its integrity as it moves around. It is an important part of ensuring that there’s a clear layer of trust between everyone involved in the interaction.

For the past few years a lot of government (and wider public sector) services have relied on the Public Services Network (PSN) to provide assurance of that IT security. As a high-performance network operated by multiple vendors, the PSN provides assured connections for a wide range of public sector organisations.

As we move more and more of our systems to public cloud services the expectation that we’ll communicate over the PSN can cause confusion and adds complexity for public sector organisations and our suppliers.

We also have new ways of providing assurance, with technical controls such as the use of standards-based approaches to email security, Transport Layer Security (TLS) for encrypting web transactions and, where necessary, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) if an extra layer of isolation or authentication is necessary.

What is the future of the PSN?

At a recent meeting of the Technology Leaders Network, we reviewed our position and it was clear that everyone agreed we could just use the internet.

For the vast majority of the work that the public sector does, the internet is ok. We’ve got some advice in our network principles.

We’ll often need to deploy the sort of security measures described above, along with a host of other measures to ensure basic application-level security, but as my colleague Shan Rahulan said during the meeting we increasingly need to do that even when services are on the PSN. This then opens up the question of whether the extra layer of complexity is really helpful.

So that means we’re on a journey away from the PSN.

Of course, it’s not going to happen immediately. Organisations that need to access services that are only available on the PSN will still need to connect to it for the time being. They’ll need to continue to meet its assurance requirements, and in fact they should make use of the practices that covers when reviewing all their core IT.

But from today, new services should be made available on the internet and secured appropriately using the best available standards-based approaches. When we’re updating or changing services, we should take the opportunity to move them to the internet.

What happens next?

There’s quite a bit of work to do across the public sector to prepare for these changes and we’re not quite ready to provide a full timeline. We’ll be staying in touch with users of the network and commercial providers to make sure that those who need to make decisions get clear information.

My colleague Mark Smith, Head of PSN, has been working with data scientists in GDS and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to prototype other ways of providing assurance data that will help organisations establish trust. He’ll introduce that soon in a blog post and is doing some deeper discovery work to ensure we have great options for organisations to verify that their networks meet a set of basic standards.

GDS, NCSC and Crown Commercial Service (CCS) will be working together to ensure that as we update the ways in which we buy network services we have the widest possible range of suppliers and the right options to make sure we get the highest quality connections.

We’ll be working with the Tech Leaders Network and the wider PSN community to ensure that common issues are clearly identified and that wherever possible we work together to provide common solutions.

We’ll also be working with colleagues in the Cyber and Government Security Directorate and others across the public sector to make sure that we are able to collaborate on upgrading older systems that need new protections and share good practices. That’s a clear part of the National Cyber Security Strategy and this move just adds some more focus to plans already underway.

To make sure you stay up to date with all the latest developments, you can sign up to alerts from the Government Technology blog.

Original source – Government technology

When different parts of the public sector share services and exchange data it’s important that we can rely on the basic security of each other’s technology, and that the data will maintain its integrity as it moves around. It is an important part of ensuring that there’s a clear layer of trust between everyone involved in the interaction.

For the past few years a lot of government (and wider public sector) services have relied on the Public Services Network (PSN) to provide assurance of that IT security. As a high-performance network operated by multiple vendors, the PSN provides assured connections for a wide range of public sector organisations.

As we move more and more of our systems to public cloud services the expectation that we’ll communicate over the PSN can cause confusion and adds complexity for public sector organisations and our suppliers.

We also have new ways of providing assurance, with technical controls such as the use of standards-based approaches to email security, Transport Layer Security (TLS) for encrypting web transactions and, where necessary, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) if an extra layer of isolation or authentication is necessary.

What is the future of the PSN?

At a recent meeting of the Technology Leaders Network, we reviewed our position and it was clear that everyone agreed we could just use the internet.

For the vast majority of the work that the public sector does, the internet is ok. We’ve got some advice in our network principles.

We’ll often need to deploy the sort of security measures described above, along with a host of other measures to ensure basic application-level security, but as my colleague Shan Rahulan said during the meeting we increasingly need to do that even when services are on the PSN. This then opens up the question of whether the extra layer of complexity is really helpful.

So that means we’re on a journey away from the PSN.

Of course, it’s not going to happen immediately. Organisations that need to access services that are only available on the PSN will still need to connect to it for the time being. They’ll need to continue to meet its assurance requirements, and in fact they should make use of the practices that covers when reviewing all their core IT.

But from today, new services should be made available on the internet and secured appropriately using the best available standards-based approaches. When we’re updating or changing services, we should take the opportunity to move them to the internet.

What happens next?

There’s quite a bit of work to do across the public sector to prepare for these changes and we’re not quite ready to provide a full timeline. We’ll be staying in touch with users of the network and commercial providers to make sure that those who need to make decisions get clear information.

My colleague Mark Smith, Head of PSN, has been working with data scientists in GDS and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to prototype other ways of providing assurance data that will help organisations establish trust. He’ll introduce that soon in a blog post and is doing some deeper discovery work to ensure we have great options for organisations to verify that their networks meet a set of basic standards.

GDS, NCSC and Crown Commercial Service (CCS) will be working together to ensure that as we update the ways in which we buy network services we have the widest possible range of suppliers and the right options to make sure we get the highest quality connections.

We’ll be working with the Tech Leaders Network and the wider PSN community to ensure that common issues are clearly identified and that wherever possible we work together to provide common solutions.

We’ll also be working with colleagues in the Cyber and Government Security Directorate and others across the public sector to make sure that we are able to collaborate on upgrading older systems that need new protections and share good practices. That’s a clear part of the National Cyber Security Strategy and this move just adds some more focus to plans already underway.

To make sure you stay up to date with all the latest developments, you can sign up to alerts from the Government Technology blog.

Original source – Government technology

When different parts of the public sector share services and exchange data it’s important that we can rely on the basic security of each other’s technology, and that the data will maintain its integrity as it moves around. It is an important part of ensuring that there’s a clear layer of trust between everyone involved in the interaction.

For the past few years a lot of government (and wider public sector) services have relied on the Public Services Network (PSN) to provide assurance of that IT security. As a high-performance network operated by multiple vendors, the PSN provides assured connections for a wide range of public sector organisations.

As we move more and more of our systems to public cloud services the expectation that we’ll communicate over the PSN can cause confusion and adds complexity for public sector organisations and our suppliers.

We also have new ways of providing assurance, with technical controls such as the use of standards-based approaches to email security, Transport Layer Security (TLS) for encrypting web transactions and, where necessary, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) if an extra layer of isolation or authentication is necessary.

What is the future of the PSN?

At a recent meeting of the Technology Leaders Network, we reviewed our position and it was clear that everyone agreed we could just use the internet.

For the vast majority of the work that the public sector does, the internet is ok. We’ve got some advice in our network principles.

We’ll often need to deploy the sort of security measures described above, along with a host of other measures to ensure basic application-level security, but as my colleague Shan Rahulan said during the meeting we increasingly need to do that even when services are on the PSN. This then opens up the question of whether the extra layer of complexity is really helpful.

So that means we’re on a journey away from the PSN.

Of course, it’s not going to happen immediately. Organisations that need to access services that are only available on the PSN will still need to connect to it for the time being. They’ll need to continue to meet its assurance requirements, and in fact they should make use of the practices that covers when reviewing all their core IT.

But from today, new services should be made available on the internet and secured appropriately using the best available standards-based approaches. When we’re updating or changing services, we should take the opportunity to move them to the internet.

What happens next?

There’s quite a bit of work to do across the public sector to prepare for these changes and we’re not quite ready to provide a full timeline. We’ll be staying in touch with users of the network and commercial providers to make sure that those who need to make decisions get clear information.

My colleague Mark Smith, Head of PSN, has been working with data scientists in GDS and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to prototype other ways of providing assurance data that will help organisations establish trust. He’ll introduce that soon in a blog post and is doing some deeper discovery work to ensure we have great options for organisations to verify that their networks meet a set of basic standards.

GDS, NCSC and Crown Commercial Service (CCS) will be working together to ensure that as we update the ways in which we buy network services we have the widest possible range of suppliers and the right options to make sure we get the highest quality connections.

We’ll be working with the Tech Leaders Network and the wider PSN community to ensure that common issues are clearly identified and that wherever possible we work together to provide common solutions.

We’ll also be working with colleagues in the Cyber and Government Security Directorate and others across the public sector to make sure that we are able to collaborate on upgrading older systems that need new protections and share good practices. That’s a clear part of the National Cyber Security Strategy and this move just adds some more focus to plans already underway.

To make sure you stay up to date with all the latest developments, you can sign up to alerts from the Government Technology blog.

Original source – Government technology

Summary

Not an easy talent, but with one Irish track a group of German musicians managed to capture the beating heart of the music, put relatively straight forward lyrics to it and turn it into what I think would be a ***wonderful*** track for a wedding or similar event

The album that for me marked the transition away from sixth form college into ‘the world of work’ during my year out in the very late 1990s in Cambridge was Forgiven not forgotten by The Corrs. 1998 was actually a really crap year for music – I still remember John Peel describing Brimful of Asha by Cornership/Norman Smith as the only decent song in what was a very very average year for music. (Wot?!?! No ‘Horny’?!?). Funnily enough it was a time when I wanted to get back into music but could not break out of the inertia of living at home. By the time I got to February 1999 I could feel my heart wanting to fledge the childhood nest. In those days my plan was never to return – though I also had no idea what was about to hit the world over the next 20 years.

Anyway, it was the music from the first album of The Corrs. (I always found their next one, Talk on corners over-rated by critics bathing in a crap year of music. For me it was over-produced). Two tracks caught my heart at the time. The first was the finale of Lough Erin Shore – the ending is just purely magical. (And makes for a nice slow Viennese Waltz – but only if it’s two of you in a dance hall – it doesn’t work as a social dance). The other one was this one. You can see why it made me want to pick up the violin that had gathered dust for about six years – I never got to play music like this.

Hence my various comments over the years about how evil the middle-class music exams culture is and how the exam boards should be taxed out of existence. Well…not quite, but this blogpost from 2012 (before I joined the Dowsing/We are sound music collective) makes for interesting reading in that context.

Then late last year, the German musician Senta-Sofia Delliponti, AKA Oonagh went and put some lyrics to it.

I remember when hearing the opener when scrolling through the album thinking “Oh, she’s covered The Corrs”. Then I heard this lovely female voice that for me vocal and tone-wise hits that sweet spot in my hearing range.

With my limited German I already had some idea of what the song was about – well…even a non-speaker could guess from the title: “Tanz mit mir”.

Komm, tanz mit mir
Bis zum Morgen bis du mein
Die Nacht ist jung
Unser Schicksal liegt im Feuerschein
Komm, tanz mit mir
Bis der Morgen bricht herein
Nimm meine Hand
Es soll nie zu Ende sein 

What I also like is how the chorus is so dead simple, matches the music and at the same time is so uplifting.

“Come, dance with me / ’till the morning you are mine / the night is young / our destiny lies in the bright fire”

“Come, dance with me / ’till the morning you are mine / take my hand / it should never end”

The above is my attempt at translating it as word-for-word online translations never quite get across the meaning.

I won’t claim the lyrics are Shakespearean love poetry or something so complex that the critics will be pleased.

Sometimes music just hits you. There.

 

Original source – A dragon’s best friend

It’s late. The lights are off upstairs. I creep up the stairs to our bedroom. I quietly walk round the darkened room. My hand feeling for the bedpost at the end so I can work my way round to my side of the bed. I try to walk lightly, hard when your natural steps are thuds, and more so stomps after a long day.

I slowly sit, slide onto the bed, and under the duvet. I close my eyes.

“What have you been doing until this hour?” my wife says. She’s woken. She’s seen the bedside clock. She knows it’s gone 1am. She sounds surprised. She shouldn’t be. Late ones are a long habit of my career. There’s usually one a week. Sometimes there’s two. Very rarely there’s three. Never four though.

A night as late as this is usually down to work. During the week it’s never leisure that drives this.

Some days there’s just not enough waking hours, is there? There’s stuff to do.

Agency life trained me well.

The perennial “going the extra mile”, because the agency beast needed feeding. There was always deadlines. Deadlines needed to be met. Nobody wanted to say to the clients “No” or “Can it wait?” or “We’d need more time for that”. And the time we had with everything in the mix? Just about enough to do enough. A good job? Rarely. The best we could? Rarely. That mattered. And that slack was between 5.30pm and 9am the next morning. And there was no overtime; Just the monthly wage.

But there was the other stuff agency life teaches.

People doing the same thing stuck together, working together, fucking up together, fixing it together, learning together, and supporting together. That sense of community that just happens – and leads you to just expect that wherever you work.

Work is a grown up thing. Money has to come from somewhere to pay those bills – and those staff who have their own bills. Doing good work keeps that arrangement flowing.

Work is a grown up thing. But work can be fun. Actually work should be fun whenever and wherever possible.

Ideas sell, but you have to have an idea that works for it to sell. Think of the audience.

It’s alright to be a geek – and get paid for doing geeky things. With other geeky people. You can be amongst your people.

The past few years I have been out of the agency game. I gave up chasing the “senior roles” to just concentrate on designing.

And I enjoy it. I cannot complain about the work I do.

I have been lucky enough to work in government full time, on government services. I am lucky enough to be working full time on patient-facing digital NHS services. I am also doing this for the best possible recipients: The People.

I am lucky enough over the past couple of years to be in places that go about their way of designing how I want to.

And being part of that cross gov design community reminds me of being sat in the design studio at Brahm during the first nine years of this century: Working with people I trusted, admired, challenged me, consulted me, and there’s a few I call good friends. It’s everything community should be.

There’s things that can be frustrating, that we considered in agency world. The idea of trying to have and contributing to a more lasting, self-sustaining culture (as much as one can). Higher wages. Not having to battle with the type of IT we experienced five years ago. (And five years ago seeming an age back.) Why are things as complicated when they don’t need to be?

But still, years after leaving the agency game, I try to ghost into bed.

Still I usually wake my wife.

Usually I face her scorn. She’s grumpy because I have woke her. She’s grumpy because I am doing time I don’t get paid for. My wife is not alone in that scorn. It’s not a badge of honour. The scorners, they may have a point.

But here’s the thing: The mission.

Instead of the demands of the clients of agency land, there’s the demands of the people we do this for: The public. They need things to be better. The future needs things to be better. Public expectation and the public purse paying demand that timescales are shorter than longer, sooner rather than later. That public sector work takes longer, is more complicated? Well, we’ll just have to try a bit harder. There’s usually a day a week where’s there’s not enough time in the day to do what we want, to meet our goals.

Anything extra we can do to keep us on track, yes.

Anything extra we can do to make the work even better, yes.

Anything extra that helps us get to where we are going faster, yes.

These things matter. The mission matters. And I am on it.

Original source – Simon Wilson’s blog

It’s late. The lights are off upstairs. I creep up the stairs to our bedroom. I quietly walk round the darkened room. My hand feeling for the bedpost at the end so I can work my way round to my side of the bed. I try to walk lightly, hard when your natural steps are thuds, and more so stomps after a long day.

I slowly sit, slide onto the bed, and under the duvet. I close my eyes.

“What have you been doing until this hour?” my wife says. She’s woken. She’s seen the bedside clock. She knows it’s gone 1am. She sounds surprised. She shouldn’t be. Late ones are a long habit of my career. There’s usually one a week. Sometimes there’s two. Very rarely there’s three. Never four though.

A night as late as this is usually down to work. During the week it’s never leisure that drives this.

Some days there’s just not enough waking hours, is there? There’s stuff to do.

Agency life trained me well.

The perennial “going the extra mile”, because the agency beast needed feeding. There was always deadlines. Deadlines needed to be met. Nobody wanted to say to the clients “No” or “Can it wait?” or “We’d need more time for that”. And the time we had with everything in the mix? Just about enough to do enough. A good job? Rarely. The best we could? Rarely. That mattered. And that slack was between 5.30pm and 9am the next morning. And there was no overtime; Just the monthly wage.

But there was the other stuff agency life teaches.

People doing the same thing stuck together, working together, fucking up together, fixing it together, learning together, and supporting together. That sense of community that just happens – and leads you to just expect that wherever you work.

Work is a grown up thing. Money has to come from somewhere to pay those bills – and those staff who have their own bills. Doing good work keeps that arrangement flowing.

Work is a grown up thing. But work can be fun. Actually work should be fun whenever and wherever possible.

Ideas sell, but you have to have an idea that works for it to sell. Think of the audience.

It’s alright to be a geek – and get paid for doing geeky things. With other geeky people. You can be amongst your people.

The past few years I have been out of the agency game. I gave up chasing the “senior roles” to just concentrate on designing.

And I enjoy it. I cannot complain about the work I do.

I have been lucky enough to work in government full time, on government services. I am lucky enough to be working full time on patient-facing digital NHS services. I am also doing this for the best possible recipients: The People.

I am lucky enough over the past couple of years to be in places that go about their way of designing how I want to.

And being part of that cross gov design community reminds me of being sat in the design studio at Brahm during the first nine years of this century: Working with people I trusted, admired, challenged me, consulted me, and there’s a few I call good friends. It’s everything community should be.

There’s things that can be frustrating, that we considered in agency world. The idea of trying to have and contributing to a more lasting, self-sustaining culture (as much as one can). Higher wages. Not having to battle with the type of IT we experienced five years ago. (And five years ago seeming an age back.) Why are things as complicated when they don’t need to be?

But still, years after leaving the agency game, I try to ghost into bed.

Still I usually wake my wife.

Usually I face her scorn. She’s grumpy because I have woke her. She’s grumpy because I am doing time I don’t get paid for. My wife is not alone in that scorn. It’s not a badge of honour. The scorners, they may have a point.

But here’s the thing: The mission.

Instead of the demands of the clients of agency land, there’s the demands of the people we do this for: The public. They need things to be better. The future needs things to be better. Public expectation and the public purse paying demand that timescales are shorter than longer, sooner rather than later. That public sector work takes longer, is more complicated? Well, we’ll just have to try a bit harder. There’s usually a day a week where’s there’s not enough time in the day to do what we want, to meet our goals.

Anything extra we can do to keep us on track, yes.

Anything extra we can do to make the work even better, yes.

Anything extra that helps us get to where we are going faster, yes.

These things matter. The mission matters. And I am on it.

Original source – Simon Wilson’s blog

Summary

So, who wants free short introduction videos filmed for their campaigns?

I filmed my first videos for the 2017 Cambridgeshire County Council elections on 04 May 2017, and also for the county mayoral elections on the same day. Here’s the Green Party’s candidate Cllr Julie Howell.

You can contact Julie at https://twitter.com/HowellOWGreens

My principles pretty much follow that of The Democracy Club.

I would say democracy is going through a crisis – but it’s been a crisis that seems to have been going on for a very long time. My attempt to improve things with these videos is simple: To give voters in my city and surrounding districts the opportunity to hear the candidates in their own words and in their own voices introduce themselves and explain why they are standing.

It is then up the the voters/viewers to decide if they want to make any further contact with the candidate concerned.

In 2016, candidates from four of the political parties standing in and around Cambridge took up the offer. Along with several hustings and the contest for the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, you can see the videos of a range of candidates in my 2016 playlist here.

In 2015, I did the same for candidates standing for both the general election and local elections for four of the political parties standing in and around Cambridge. You can see the videos here

I filmed, edited, produced and publicised 48 videos for the elections in 2016, and 59 in 2015. I went out of my way to persuade lots of very reluctant candidates to appear in front of camera – at my own expense too.

This year I am happy to make similar videos as in previous years, and I will help you make a short introduction video that I would be reasonably happy to put out to the public myself. (If it’s that bad, I wouldn’t release it – it’s not fair for intro videos).

However,  I am not going to go out of my way to persuade candidates. My health alone doesn’t allow me to make long journeys on public transport to film reluctant candidates or be told that a candidate doesn’t feel like being filmed when I arrive.

Politics as we have all seen has changed. The public now expect candidates to be much more willing to be interviewed on the media and appear on social media and video.

The format is dead simple, as Cambridgeshire Labour’s Gareth Wright demonstrates:

In under 60 second we know:

  • Name
  • Party
  • Ward/division the candidate is contesting
  • The local authority that the candidate is standing to be elected to
  • a very brief summary of the local issues as the candidate sees them
  • A couple of policies
  • Restating name and also the date of the election concerned.

No awkward questions, no attempts to catch you out, just 60 seconds in which you have the chance to pitch your case not just to potential voters, but to people who might be asking whether yours is a local party they might want to get involved with and find out more from. This is your electronic shop window that is potentially working for you ***while you are asleep***

Interested? Send a tweet to Puffles at @Puffles2010 or email me at antonycarpen at gmail

Original source – A dragon’s best friend