Earlier this month we welcomed a group of GCSE and A-Level computing students into GDS from north London comprehensive school Fortismere. This was part of the Tech Partnership’s Tech Week 2016 – a UK-wide event to inspire young people to make a career in digital.

The students spent a whole day with us, getting involved in activities and meeting people from across the organisation. We made a film to show what they did and what they thought about it.

Showing the reality

The idea of inviting these pupils to GDS came from Cordia Lewis, Engagement Lead on the Platform as a Service team. Rather than going into the school to talk about GDS, Cordia thought it would be much more interesting for the students to come here so we could give them a taste of what it’s really like.

We wanted to show them why government is such an exciting place to work if you’re interested in digital. And to prove that any preconceptions they might have about the Civil Service being boring or out-of-touch are wrong.

As one of the students told us: “Before today it would never cross my mind to work in government, but after seeing what they do, I’d enjoy working in a team, on projects that I know are going to help other people.”

Showing the fun

It was important that the students were able to meet people from across GDS doing very different jobs. They met designers, developers, product managers and user researchers, to name just a few. The students had the opportunity to talk to people from all of these areas and find out how they built their careers.

But, we wanted to make sure that our visitors had fun too. So we built Arduino robots and worked with the students to program them. Lots of people from GDS helped. Thanks to them all.

Showing the opportunity

We wanted to show the students that there’s an opportunity for everyone in the Civil Service. This is really important for us. As Stephen Foreshew-Cain says in his post What government might look like in 2030: “The best way [to build better government services] is to make sure that the diversity of the civil service reflects the diversity of the people we are here to serve.”

This is reflected in the Civil Service Talent Action Plan, which says: “Our aspiration for the Civil Service is an ambitious one – to be the UK’s most inclusive employer, representative of modern Britain and the public that we serve.”

We aim to meet this aspiration through schemes including apprenticeships and work experience, and also by showing as many people as possible what it’s really like to work in government. We hope this will be the first of many days to support our drive to attract more young people into government and to build a more diverse workforce.

To find out more about our work experience, apprenticeships or graduate programmes email the GDS Early Talent Team. You can also find more information at:

Video transcript:

Stephen Foreshew-Cain, Executive Director, GDS

We have quite a large skills gap not just in government but in the wider public sector. We see declining numbers in girls, for example, taking on stem subjects at school. So I think it’s really important to give young people the opportunity to experience the amazing work that government is doing.

Cordia Lewis, Engagement Lead, Platform as a Service

We need to attract more young people and one of the ways of doing that is to work with schools to let them know about the careers that are available. For Tech Week we brought 20 A Level students into GDS so they got a an idea of the breadth of roles across GDS.

Francisco Garcia De Paredes, student

Before today it would never cross my mind to work in government, but after seeing what they do, I’d enjoy working in a team on projects that I know are going to help other people.

Robbie Buxton, student

I like programming and I think it could be very interesting to work in that department.

Emmanuel Bugyei, student

Definitely I wasn’t expecting it to be like this. It’s just really cool here, it really opened my eyes. I’d love to work here.

Lydia Foteinopoulou, student

It’s actually inspired us to see different jobs and see other options that we haven’t seen before.

Original source – Government Digital Service

Sophie Lambert, User Researcher

Sophie Lambert, User Researcher

I’m Sophie Lambert and I’m the user researcher on the Secure Communications service. It’s my job to try to work out what we can do to make some of our most vulnerable users’ lives a little bit easier.

People who are aged between 16 and 64 and have less than 6 months to live can apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) under special rules. This means that the claim is treated as high priority, is processed without a face to face assessment, and the payments are made weekly. To do this they need to provide a DS1500 form, a report completed by a doctor or nurse containing medical information about their condition.

The process

Previously, a DS1500 form could only be sent to DWP via post and the average time for it to be received was 10 days. However, I learnt quickly that it can take much longer than this.

Now, our service allows healthcare professionals to submit a DS1500 form electronically which is received by DWP instantly and securely.

What can we do to help?

When somebody finds out they have less than 6 months to live, every moment counts. That’s why we’re reducing the amount of administration required and speeding up access to essential benefits.

Although our end user is the terminally ill patient, healthcare professionals are also a key user group for our service. We conducted user research with doctors and Macmillan nurses, visiting their hospitals and surgeries to understand how they work.

I gained insight into their working day and they helped us understand the complex lives of their patients and the expenses patients can face. This includes the cost of heating their home after the impact of chemotherapy. The DS1500 enables patients to get access to motability schemes and blue badges, which makes it clear how valuable our service could be.

The DS1500 online service

The DS1500 online service

Our service is in private beta which means we are testing it with a small number of healthcare professionals. We’re continuing to introduce our service to more doctors and Macmillan nurses, getting feedback and asking them to use the service for real patients. So far, we’ve received the digital DS1500 forms in a matter of seconds, not days or weeks, meaning the claim can be processed more efficiently.

Our service is about helping people in their final months, when time is precious. As a user researcher, seeing work being done to improve the lives of some our most vulnerable customers is incredibly rewarding.

Original source – Digital DWP

I suspect like so many others – getting frustrated by policy, by process, by all the crap that stops you thinking and believing you can make progress and sometimes by other people/managers and leaders.

I’ve started to think more positively about this and how I can understand more why it happens, how I can work with it and what I need to do differently.

One of the biggest light bulb moments I had with this recently was when a colleague outlined the learning journey individuals make and how when working with senior leaders and organisations you need to be mindful of the learning journey everyone is making or not as the case maybe.

Basically what I realised is that the pace of my own individual learning worked against others and that because this learning was not directly shared I ended up communicating across a deeper void than before i started the learning. This void simply increased the frustrations on both sides when communicating about opportunity or redesign potential.

The picture/sketch below hopefully provides a visual explanation of this…

One of the biggest mistakes and missed learning opportunities I’ve made is that I’ve failed to recognise my own role in helping others learn and develop as I learn.  When I reflect back on my personal journey over the last 6-7 years I’ve been on an individual journey of learning and I have benefited from that in a variety of ways and on the whole It hasn’t been a problem…But as I’ve tried to shift and change my approach to supporting my organisation to learn and develop I’ve missed this key insight although I’ve been starting to address it without having clarity about what it was exactly I was trying to address (if that makes sense)

My Insight: What I had unintentionally done was dis-empowered others in their learning and not focused on the collective learning and opportunity this could have created moving forward.

Learning Gap

Key:
Green Line – My individual journey of learning
Blue Line – A senior manager / colleague / service areas journey of learning
Red Line  – Gap in knowledge = increased frustration

So how I see this now is one of a series of individual and collective learning cycles where the experiential learning is a normative process for everyone involved and we create a sustained change in thinking/learning/mindset which benefits the whole organisation.

I am now actively thinking about my approach to learning new things and whether it would be more beneficial for that learning to be done collectively with others or whether that learning needs to be done individually and then I simply revisit the learning again to support others, so instead of moving on my learning I work actively on repeating the learning with others to reduce the frustrations and disconnection.

If I simply want to develop myself then an approach of individual learning is OK. I’m a huge advocate of self-directed learning and very much value having the time and space in my head to spot something interesting and then research deeper and experiment to build my knowledge and learning base. However I’ve also learned that I am very much a collaborative learner and absolutely thrive when learning with other people – I find shared learning experiences more powerful, more meaningful and have more impact all round..

However if I want to play an active part in helping my organisation learn, to help it change and adapt to the future, then I have a responsibility to ensure others develop their learning and the organisation as a whole creates the knowledge and doesn’t rely on a few individuals.

I am not interested in creating a special role for myself over time, As I believe that we should all design ourselves out at some stage and never overstay our welcome in a given time and space. Paul Taylor better outlines in his post here about planned obsolescence and how this helps creates better systems for innovation. This in turn helps foster a new culture of continuous learning and adaptability, but that only happens when everyone is clear about their role in helping each other to learn and grow.

As an aside I have been reflecting on my purpose recently and have tried various activities to think about what my contribution to the world is and should be…you know that deep internal reflective stuff…Its the kind of thing I want to explore and find answers too..So I am going to be signing up for some Theory U self-study with some colleagues / friends in the Autumn as it will help me find my purpose and clarify the opportunity I have in my head.

What are your thoughts on learning and how your approach helps you and your organisation?

 

 

Filed under: Learning Tagged: personal reflection

Original source – Carl’s Notepad

A key issue from a trade perspective will be whether or not the UK stays in the EU customs union when it leaves the European Union (EU). The customs union is an important element of the EU Single Market. Under its rules, the EU operates as a trade bloc, operating common external tariffs and customs barriers, and negotiating trade deals as one. As a member of the customs union, the UK is not allowed to negotiate other bilateral trade deals – which is why Liam Fox has argued that it needs to leave. What would leaving the customs union mean for the UK? On the face of it, customs checks at EU borders, including at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – something that does not seem to be compatible with Theresa May’s comments about ensuring Brexit works for Northern Ireland. Another implication is that the UK will no longer benefit from the EU’s 56 free trade agreements (FTAs), which provide better access to markets outside of the EU, such as Korea, Mexico and Chile. This may mean that UK exporters face higher tariffs and other trade barriers in these markets. Of course, there are other […]

Original source – Institute for Government

This blog is written by Ben Jupp, a director at Social Finance, and is the fifth in our “A Question of Growth” series. Over the next few weeks we will be posting a new piece every Tuesday and Thursday. You can read all of the previous blogs in this series here.

 

By many assessments, persistent poor health has a more negative impact on people’s wellbeing than any other factor. Unemployment is the second most detrimental.

For those suffering ill-heath and lacking a job, the consequences can be incredibly damaging for them as individuals and for our economy. The challenges often reinforce each other, with poor health making it difficult to get a job, whilst recovery from mental and some physical illnesses often hampered by unemployment.

Despite the severity of these problems, as a society and economic system our recent track record in addressing them is lamentable – those out of the labour market for long periods of time are now typically have a physical or mental health condition. For those with mental health conditions, for example, surveys indicate that between seven and nine out of ten wish to be employment. Yet only around four in ten are currently in work, and among those with a severe mental illness the proportion drops to fewer than one in ten. All told, nearly 5 million people of working age with a long term health condition or disability are not in employment. The proportion rises considerably once people are in their fifties and early sixties.

Collectively, these very difficult individual circumstances now represent a major drag on our economy and the government’s fiscal health. The Department of Work and Pensions estimate, for example, that GDP would grow by around 1% if people could typically work an extra year before retirement. For those out of work, the cost to government of lost taxes and increased welfare payments frequently exceeded £10,000 each year.

As economic uncertainty threatens growth over the coming years, this is one area where earlier action could play a major role to support growth as well as improvements in individual wellbeing.

To good news is that Britain can do much better than recently. For example, we currently languish towards the bottom of the league of developed countries in regard to the employment of people with mental health conditions. Likewise, although retirement ages are rising, we estimate that there are still around 700,000 people who are involuntary retired due to ill health or a disability.

So how could government, employers and civil society start to turn this position around?

Over the last two decades there have been plenty of examples of what not to do, and also some positive approaches to build upon.

The current flagship employment support programme – the Work Programme – has had relatively little success for those with significant health conditions and disabilities. The reasons are various, but typically include: insufficient resources to help people with greatest needs; delays and barriers in receiving appropriate support; and a lack of understanding about the support needs of those with health conditions by some ‘generic’ employment advisors and a lack of trust between recipients and providers of employment support.

We believe that there are much better approaches available.

At the heart of a better model for helping people re-enter and sustain work needs to be the relationships which people already have with the health service and their employers. These represent the foundations of trust and understanding which can allow people to receive the support and encouragement they need. Another central principle should be to help people to fulfil their desires and potential, rather than forcing them into jobs which they do not want.

A great example of applying these two principles is an approach to helping those with severe mental health conditions called Individual Placement and Support. Individual Placement and Support provides integrated employment support as part of people’s recovery from mental ill-health. It starts with people’s wishes: it is always a voluntary programme which seeks to quickly get them into a real, paid job of their choice, rather than squeezing them into any job or a ‘make work’ scheme. It uses employment advisers who are integrated with the rest of the mental health team supporting people’s recovery. It has sufficient resources to allow people to be supported once they enter employment rather than just pushing them into a job and then abandoning them.

In Britain, and around the world, that this approach is now demonstrating impact for those with severe mental illness. Two weeks ago, for example, I was talking to the leader of an Individual Placement and Support service attached to one of the large London mental health trusts. Of 500 referred to the service last year, 270 found a job. Randomised Control Trials also indicate that it is far more effective than more traditional models of employment support for these groups. That is why Health and Employment Partnerships – a new social organisation dedicated to helping those with health conditions improve their wellbeing through fulfilling, sustained employment – is backing the growth of Individual Placement and Support in three areas.

More broadly, the principles of Individual Placement and Support can be applied much more widely than to those with a severe mental health condition. For example, employment support and social care support could be better integrated for many people with learning disabilities. Those with more moderate mental and physical health conditions may benefit from more integrated primary care and employment support.

For those approaching the later stages of their career, and who are beginning to be held back by health conditions, it is important to act before they leave the labour market. Relationships with employers are crucial to this, enabling people manage moves to less physically demanding roles either within or beyond their current organisation. Just relying on employers is not, however, always going to be sufficient. It may be important to draw on the relationships people with the health service, or separately funded support, to build a plan which meets their aspirations for older age and allows them to keep working.

Over the last year, there have been positive signs that government is better recognising this need for more integrated and personalised employment support for those with health conditions. The recent five year mental health strategy announced £100 million for employment programmes including expanding Individual Placement and Support. Employment programmes are being developed to give more of a focus to health more generally. A new central government Health and Work Unit is supporting innovation and learning. This is being matched by strong interest for new models by new ‘city-region’ combined authorities with devolved powers such as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

Yet we should not underestimate the further changes which will be required to stimulate a fundamental shift in the employment of those with health conditions. Cultures in both employment and health services will need to evolve significantly. Funding flows and incentives will need to be realigned. Obligations on employers will need to be reconsidered. As we look to develop an early action economy and society, in my mind there is no more pressing an issue around which central government, local services, professions, business and civil society need to come together.

Ben Jupp is a member of the Early Action Taskforce. He is a director at Social Finance and Chair of Health and Employment Partnerships. He was previously Director of Public Services Strategy and Innovation in the Cabinet Office.

 

Original source – linksUK

We’re helping launch a survey here and download on social media management with MusterPoint. We’d like you to have a copy. We’d like you to win MusterPoint for a year. That’s worth up to £14,000. Not bad, eh?

by Dan Slee

It’s a sign that social media has matured that the conversations around it have changed.

It’s not the ‘should we’ or even the ‘how do we’ but it feels as though it’s moved on to the ‘how do we manage it so it works better?’

It’s one of the things that emerged strongly from commscamp which drew together 150 public sector comms people from across the UK.

In short, this is social media management that helps you to communicate better rather than locks you down.

So, we’re working with the lovely MusterPoint people to draw-up a whitepaper on where we are with social media management. We want to look at how people are using it and what they’d like to see.

We want your views. We’d like to hear what you have to say on the subject.

What we’d like you to do is spend a few minutes telling us what you think and in return we’ll send you a copy of the social media management and best practice guide that we’ll create.

Sound good?

Click the link and tell us what you think. We’re looking forward to seeing what the results show.

One lucky person who completes the survey win MusterPoint for 12-months in a competition run by the lovely team at the social media management company. That’s worth £14,000.

Not bad. Not bad at all. 

Dan Slee co-creator of comms2point0.

Picture credit: Blogtrepreneur

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

We’ve released Alaveteli 0.25! Here are some of the highlights.

Visible delivery status

Gareth and Zarino have added a delivery status feature that shows whether a message has been received by the authority’s mailserver. This should provide reassurance for site users that messages are getting through and makes it difficult for an authority to successfully claim that they didn’t receive the request.

New delivery status feature

Clicking on the delivery status indicator reveals a bit more detail about the status itself. Admins are shown more detail here including relevant mail logs to diagnose problems or provide proof to the authority if required.

Analytics

We’ve upgraded from the so-called “Legacy” (ga.js) version of Google Analytics to Universal Analytics. For most Google Analytics users there’s nothing to do here except sit back and enjoy continued technical support and new feature rollouts from Google but if your Alaveteli theme has custom analytics scripting, you should check Google’s upgrade guide as well as our upgrade notes to see if you need to make changes. If you’re not ready to move to this release yet, don’t panic – you may not get any shiny new features from Google but they haven’t published an end date for support yet.

Profile spam

In addition to spam email, there’s been an increase in the number of accounts that create profiles containing spam links – presumably to boost their search engine ranking score rather than to trick people into clicking through from the site. Having spent some time going through accounts on WhatDoTheyKnow to look for patterns, we’ve added some tools to this release to try to discourage this use of Alaveteli and to make it easier for admins to discover and ban offending user accounts.

you can't update your profile

(We also looked at extending our reCAPTCHA use for new account signups but this didn’t seem to help so we are not offering it to reusers.)

Design

Martin has been working away on improving page load times and accessibility compliance to make the pages faster to load and easier to navigate. (A process we’re continuing into the next release.) We’ve also updated the help template code so that the examples are in the example theme rather than the core code and added a rake task to help check whether your theme implements the help pages correctly.

The full list of highlights and upgrade notes for this release is in the changelog.

Thanks again to everyone who’s contributed!

Image: Miika Mehtälä (CC)

Original source – mySociety

We’re helping launch a survey and download on social media management with MusterPoint – and we’d like you to have a copy.

by Dan Slee

It’s a sign that social media has matured that the conversations around it have changed.

It’s not the ‘should we’ or even the ‘how do we’ but it feels as though it’s moved on to the ‘how do we manage it so it works better?’

It’s one of the things that emerged strongly from commscamp which drew together 150 public sector comms people from across the UK.

In short, this is social media management that helps you to communicate better rather than locks you down.

So, we’re working with the lovely MusterPoint people to draw-up a whitepaper on where we are with social media management. We want to look at how people are using it and what they’d like to see.

We want your views. We’d like to hear what you have to say on the subject.

What we’d like you to do is spend a few minutes telling us what you think and in return we’ll send you a copy of the social media management and best practice guide that we’ll create.

Sound good?

Click the link and tell us what you think. We’ll do the rest. We’re looking forward to seeing what the results show.

Alternatively, complete the survey below…

Create your own user feedback survey

 

Dan Slee co-creator of comms2point0.

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

How do we look back at London 2012? If Twitter is anything to go by with fondness and nostalgia.

That glorious summer where Mo Farah won double gold, volunteers with foam fingers greeted the nation and Horseguards Parade got turned into a beach volleyball venue.

For some, 2012 was the last of Britain. A summer where we came together and welcomed the world and the world were impressed. For others, it was a summer where it was harder to get to work and G4S had to be bailed out for bungling the security.

Me? Some mixed feelings. One of the #localgov community left us early which cast a shadow. But of the sport and the feeling of unity looking back with fondness. I liked that Britain. I’d like that one back, please.

What did Twitter think in the run-up to London 2012?

In the run-up to London 2012 we ran some analysis of what people were saying on Twitter to benchmark. Of 1,393 tweets:

38 per cent were positive.

32 per cent were negative.

26 per cent were neutral.

Bearing in mind the months of negative stories those figures were hardly surprising. In the run-up to the games the security, venue completion and what would be in the Opening Ceremony all took a beating.

 

But exactly four years people look back with fondness

Looking back the same analysis of 1,505 tweets but four years on in 2016 looking back to London 2012 show a positive picture:

87 per cent were positive.

3 per cent were negative.

10 per cent were neutral.
A BBC Sport tweet that looked back to London 2012 shared more than 200 times led the way. A similar one from BBC Newsbeat was shared almost 40 times.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js 

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Gold and Pandemonium

At the time, the sea change in perception felt like it happened with the Opening Ceremony. If you’ve forgotten it this Buzzfeed round-up does the job perfectly. Me? I started it a cynic and within 15 minutes I was in tears. This wasn’t synchronised gymnastics or Kings and Queens. It felt like my story. This was the story I learned from my Grandpa about how life was hard and all the good things we have we had to struggle for. Would the Empire Windrush appear at an event today? I’d like to think so but I’m not sure.

But on the night, I knew I was in safe hands when I heard a snatch of the Sex Pistols. Anything that has that in wasn’t going to send anyone to sleep.

 

That the results on the track, field, pool, velodrome and everywhere else resulted in medals was great but the Opening Ceremony gave my strongest memories.

There’ll be a whole series of other metrics on London 2012 to judge if it was a success.

 

Original source – The Dan Slee Blog » LOCAL SOCIAL: Is it time for a Local localgovcamp?

With Rio 2016 upon us how does our memory of London 2012 compare with what we thought in the days before the Opening Ceremony? There’s a huge difference.

by Dan Slee 

How do we look back at London 2012? If Twitter is anything to go by with fondness and nostalgia.

That glorious summer where Mo Farah won double gold, volunteers with foam fingers greeted the nation and Horseguards Parade got turned into a beach volleyball venue.

For some, 2012 was the last of Britain. A summer where we came together and welcomed the world and the world were impressed. For others, it was a summer where it was harder to get to work and G4S had to be bailed out for bungling the security.

Me? Some mixed feelings. One of the #localgov community left us early which cast a shadow. But of the sport and the feeling of unity looking back with fondness. I liked that Britain. I’d like that one back, please.

What did Twitter think in the run-up to London 2012?

In the run-up to London 2012 we ran some analysis of what people were saying on Twitter to benchmark. Of 1,393 tweets:

38 per cent were positive.

32 per cent were negative.

26 per cent were neutral.

Bearing in mind the months of negative stories those figures were hardly surprising. In the run-up to the games the security, venue completion and what would be in the Opening Ceremony all took a beating.

 

Looking back exactly four years people look back with fondness

Looking back the same analysis of 1,505 tweets show a positive picture:

87 per cent were positive.

3 per cent were negative.

10 per cent were neutral.

A BBC Sport tweet that looked back to London 2012 shared more than 200 times led the way. A similar one from BBC Newsbeat was shared almost 40 times.

Gold and Pandemonium

At the time, the sea change in perception felt like it happened with the Opening Ceremony. If you’ve forgotten it this Buzzfeed round-up does the job perfectly. Me? I started it a cynic and within 15 minutes I was in tears. This wasn’t synchronised gymnastics or Kings and Queens. It felt like my story. This was the story I learned from my Grandpa about how life was hard and all the good things we have we had to struggle for. Would the Empire Windrush appear at an event today? I’d like to think so but I’m not sure.

But on the night, I knew I was in safe hands when I heard a snatch of the Sex Pistols. Anything that has that in wasn’t going to send anyone to sleep.

That the results on the track, field, pool, velodrome and everywhere else resulted in medals was great but the Opening Ceremony gave my strongest memories.

There’ll be a whole series of other metrics on London 2012 to judge if it was a success.

Dan Slee is co-creator of comms2point0.

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