‘Internet of Public Service jobs’ is a weekly list of vacancies related to product management, user experience, data and design in…you guessed it…the ‘internet of public service’ curated by @jukesie every Sunday.

Sign up for it as an email every Sunday afternoon!

[01] Senior Policy Advisers — Security & Online Harms and Digital & Technology Policy
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
London
£48,892 — £56,805
Closing date: 28/02/2018

[02] Director of Digital Services
Companies House
Cardiff
£100,000 — £125,000
Closing date: 16/03/2018

[03] VP, Leadership Programs
Mozilla Foundation
Berlin
No further details available

[04] Interactive Manager
Code for Africa
Cape Town or Nairobi
No further details available

[05] Executive Product Manager
BBC
Salford
No salary information
Closing date: 27/02/2018

[06] Digital Change Lead
Save the Children
London
£56,000–58,000
Closing date: 26/02/2018

[07] Social Media Manager
Victoria and Albert Museum
London
£35,000
Closing date: 09/03/2018

[08] Innovation Analyst
VSO
London
£33,381
Closing date: 17/03/2018

[09] Senior Project Manager
British Museum
London
£39,355 — £44,298
Closing date: 02/03/2018

[10] Digital, Data and Technology Recruiter
Government Digital Service
London
£36,564 — £43,780
Closing date: 01/03/2018


Internet of Public Service Jobs: 18/02/2018 was originally published in Product for the People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – Product for the People

supercharged social media workshop.jpg

The benefits of getting out of the office for a day to listen to, and learn from, colleagues has always been loaded with benefits. Here are five good examples of social media learning which flowed from a new series of workshops.

by Darren Caveney

Social media. It’s been around for over a decade but we’re still refining how and where it fits into our communications mix, planning and approaches. But when you put 30 comms professionals into a room the learning take-outs multiply for everyone.

After delivering two sell-out supercharged social media workshops in Birmingham and Glasgow, five interesting lessons and observations emerged so ever keen to share the learning here goes….

1. Crowd-source your plan

In each workshop attendees chose a live or forthcoming campaign or initiative to generate a plan for it and with the help of colleagues and peers on each table.

There are a number of benefits in doing this:

People without the knowledge of your work, organisation and issues can legitimately ask the daft questions (there are no daft questions, by the way, only daft decisions)

Spot the obvious opportunities and threats – think social wood for trees

Bring fresh thinking and wider experiences to the table

Bouncing ideas off your peers can be a brilliant way to unlock new ideas. For some this is difficult to do back in the office

So far the workshops have kick-started new campaigns for a homeless charity, for an industry regulator, for a national park, for a local authority and for a housing association. I really look forward to seeing these campaigns launch this year having seen them born and built in the workshops.

2. Trust is still in issue. In 2018

This has cropped up at both workshops where several comms professionals have said that their organisations are still gripped by the fear of saying the wrong thing on social media and things going bad for them. This fear can create very risk-adverse cultures where opportunities are missed.

For every MyDoncaster and London Fire Brigade there are a dozen comms teams stifled in case things go wrong. Many of us will have some personal experience of this. It has to be challenged because we know it’s a duff and unenjoyable approach.

I remember 10 years ago asking my then chief exec if we could try Twitter. What if it goes wrong, he said? I pointed out – only semi-jokingly – that “things went wrong in this organisation – Every. Single. Day.” And that we were the ones usually called in to help in these situations. “Give us the chance to get things wrong”, I pleaded.

10 years on this is still a challenge for some teams.

3. Want to be creative? Have a plan. Manage your time

Giving a table of creative comms people 25 minutes to crowdsource a headline comms plan is a joy to witness in motion.

Without exception each table generated ideas, interesting angles, key messages, target audiences and objectives with related evaluation measures.

Of course the resultant plans then need to be taken away for further refining and more detailed research.

But have a good planning template to follow – see here for a free download – and beautiful things can happen.

We just have to give ourselves space and time to allow creativity to flourish. To enable this, careful management of work demand and diaries is a must. Blocking out time – either alone or with colleagues – is key. I know I go on about this a lot, sorry/not sorry, but this is the magic 10%. The time when amazing things can be created. These are the things you’ll be remembered for, the things which can win an award, the things which can get you a new job or a promotion.

The truth is no one will create this time and space for us. We have to take charge.

When I was running in-house comms teams I often used to say "oh we’ll do that when things calm down…"

Things never calm down. Ever.

And so we have to proactively manage our time effectively so that we can give ourselves the chance to deliver the work we are capable of and can be proud of. This absolutely applies to social media.

4. Stuff the moaners

If we only ever tried to communicate and engage to ‘contain’ what a minority of our followers, customers or communities ‘may’ moan about then much of the great work we see across the industry wouldn’t exist.

So at the recent Glasgow workshop “stuff the moaners” emerged as an approach to shaping your social media activity and offer:

Have a plan

Do your research

Be creative

Be brave

Listen and engage

Change where change is needed

Respond whenever you can

Review and refine

And stuff the moaners

Because some people will complain whatever you do or don’t do. Let’s not let it shape us.

5. Enjoying social media

A comms person recently said to me:

“After spending a day online dealing with criticism, complaint – and sometimes abuse – the last thing I want to do is look at Facebook when I get home.”

I could completely see her point. This could have an impact on any of us.

But for sure enjoying social media and having real enthusiasm for it is a definite characteristic which runs through all of the best accounts I have looked at.

Part of my role then is to showcase inspirational work and best practice from elsewhere and to dissect why a campaign became an award-winner.

And sometimes my role is to encourage a bit of extra confidence in a team or an individual, who has had a rough time on social media, and rekindle that little bit of love and passion for it.

Three more SUPERCHARGED SOCIAL MEDIA workshops are taking place in London, Birmingham and Bristol – you can sign up here.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd

image by Nigel Bishop

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

It’s been another really challenging week – on my time, but particularly in reflecting on where I’m at and where I’m going.

I’m in a phase where I’m learning lots of new stuff and finding some projects and the associated relationships are moving from that initial all-consuming full-throttle thrust into a calmer, more distant orbit. Not necessarily a bad thing – but all change is a challenge on some level and I’m finding communication is key to how easy or hard these particular ones are for me at the moment.

S01 E04 – week ending 18 February 2018

Digital

Another fun and thought-provoking session out on the road with Dan Slee and Comms2Point0 delivering Essential Digital Skills for Comms. Great questions and shared learning from a really engaged group of people doing good things across the public sector.

The sessions always give me a great chance to reflect and see what is happening in digital comms in the sector and it was interesting to note the ‘mic drop’ style response to disgruntled people online seems to have become more of a thing recently. Great debate in the room about whether these sassy replies were a good thing or as a sector they should play it straight – compelling reasons on either side.

I’ve also got back into making use of my commute to delve into some podcasts and refresh some thinking or spark something new. Sometimes I need this time to just let nothing but reflection and the road go through my mind but decisively consuming stuff this week has,  I’m pretty sure, led to a flurry of ideas falling forward on things I want to blog about, work on, put into place or learn more about. Maybe more frequent blogging alongside #weeknotes will follow.

I’ve been mainly listening to UX design and strategy podcasts but if  you’re after something more comms focused take a look at those by Janet Murray at Soulful PR (loads of good stuff on Facebook Ad Strategy and practical skills for building and engaging audiences) as well as this Talking Comms one by Adrian Stirrup featuring Darren Caveney from Comms2Point0 talking about social media, as well as useful stuff included on Yammer and internal comms.

Journalism and writing

A completed literary edit of my second novel but not much other writing going on this week.

I took a week off from Storge – not something I find easy or comfortable to do but occasionally necessary. Running a side-gig out of passion – and despite everything going against it I am passionate about our local culture scene in Derby and Derbyshire – can be tiring, and sometimes feel pretty thankless. Sometimes it’s needed to pause, reflect, count the successes and reset the plan; noticing the start of an energy struggle and acknowledging the reasons why it feels like a slog are vital to keeping going. Normal transmission will return soon.

Music

Two Reckless Yes campaigns started rolling this week and its a pleasure to be working with two great PRs – Hannah Gould and Lucy Hurst – on these cycles. It’s also been great to see another of our roster push forward in a new way – Unqualified Nurse Band will record and release a track a month throughout the rest of the year to form their third album. The album as a format and a concept needs challenging in the new digital landscape and Nurse are a band who aren’t afraid to try new things around their strong creative vision. Really looking forward to seeing how this works and learning from it – I’ll be speaking to Chris soon for Storge on this so watch out for an interview soon. And finally from the Reckless roster big love to Pet Crow who finished up their latest tour last night in Newcastle – last few copies of their album on ltd aquamarine vinyl here.

There’s plans afoot for more stuff from the label soon but in the meantime you can catch us at the Nottingham Independent Record Label Market on 10 March between 11am and 6pm at the Malt Cross, or come along and see me host a Q&A with The Slits following a showing of their documentary Here To Be Heard at Quad on 18 April – tickets on sale now.

Despite best intentions I didn’t get round to recording anything SeiSui this week but it’s been mega exciting to see our recent release Long Road Home gain more streams than our first four tracks combined and great reaction to our video too. If you like grainy old shoegaze style vids that look like they were lifted from a home recorded VHS of the Chart Show and sound like My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins then watch us here:

Misc

I’ve been invited to judge some awards this week and its been fascinating looking through the entries in my category and making some super hard choices between such a strong pack. More on this soon but great to be getting involved in this way with the local digital and creative community.

What’s next?

Half term holidays this coming week so a mix of usual work and family time – I’m going to hold myself to taking time to step away from strategy and looking forward to being in the moment more this week, accepting everything as it is, letting things that need to pass to do so. All sounding a bit New Age perhaps but still…

Original source – Sarah Lay

why the advertising industry is like the public sector.jpg

The advertising industry is a little like the public sector? Yes. And this year we will see them come together bringing a number of potential benefits.

by John-Paul Danon

The public sector and the digital advertising industry may not seem like natural bedfellows but they have more in common that you might think:

  • Many are of the opinion that there should be either more or much less of them
  • People tend to focus on when they are done badly rather than when done brilliantly
  • Since the late noughties, both have been through some of the most challenging changes ever seen – we’re not going anywhere but we are very different from 10 years ago

When public sector organisations embrace all that advertising tech has to offer four potential benefits. First, communications becomes cheap, free or income generate. Second, budgets start to get signed off as investments, Third, public awareness of campaigns can increases, bringing perceived value with. And finally engagement costs can reduce.

2018 is going to be a very exciting year for advertising in the public sector by…

  • Unleashing the power of email
  • Using GDPR as the springboard for freeing consent driven audience data to engage better and more efficiently
  • Investing in comms – as public sector comms become more commercial and platforms tighten the opportunities for free promotion, we have to make the business case for investment in comms, and that of finding the money from somewhere to fund it

The advertising industry has been through fundamental disruption in the last 10 years. This disruption has resulted in the creation of technology that makes communication easier, cheaper, more targeted, more transparent and, so, more powerful.

The comms professionals who convince their organisations to embrace this technology will thrive. By embracing income generation from advertising, the job of convincing should become a great deal easier.

If you want to start generating income from email or want to look at how ad funding makes Granicus even easier to invest in, contact: Lorna.Perry@Granicus.com.

If you want to talk about how you could run more paid campaigns for free using your own audience data, contact me johnpaul.danon@counciladvertising.net

John-Paul Danon is sales director of the Council Advertising Network. They help the public sector generate income, access programmatic advertising and use public sector audience data.

image via Tullio Saba

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

I’ve been flicking through ‘Tribe of Mentors’ from Tim Ferris — it is a book where Ferris has got 100+ people to answer some version of the same basic 11 questions (some pick a couple, some answer them all, some do neither). So far I have just read the responses from people I had already heard of and there is some good, odd and indifferent stuff in there — but its a fun, light read and I thought I’d try and answer some of the questions so here we go →

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

As a gift it is probably either Watchmen or Fables as I try to convert people to comics — they are my two go to collections.

Books that have influenced me?

Professionally I think these two books influenced me hugely at a time when the internet and the web seemed like such potential powers for good and real change in the world. I miss those optimistic days it has to be said but despite the creeping cynicism my work DNA is still very much defined by the ideas these books articulated.

From a personal point of view I guess these two books really are only connected by the location they share — they are essentially tales of New York one way or another. F.Scott Fitzgerald is the writer I admire most and I firmly believe this is the greatest (doomed) romance ever written and Subway Art introduced me to the culture that would define my aesthetic taste for my entire life.

  • The Great Gatsby
  • Subway Art

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.

I hadn’t weighed myself since my teens before my diabetes diagnosis so these Nokia scales — https://health.nokia.com/uk/en/body — were something new to me. I like the fact that I get the data on my app alongside my daily steps and sleep data from my Nokia Steel watch as well (which I prefer to the Fitbit stuff as it doesn’t need charging — just a new battery every year or so.) I love all the data vis it provides so I can see trends etc.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

Failing to be taken on permanently at Jisc the second time after I had done a year as a fixed-term was a little bit heart-breaking at the time but it was the best thing possible for me. I didn’t really like the job just the people and it would have been too easy to slip into complacency if I had stayed and to not explore the things that were happening elsewhere I was really interested in. Moving to the Medical Research Council meant I was able to get closer to the rumblings of AlphaGov etc (before GDS) and it allowed me to regain my confidence before joining ONS which really was amazing.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

“Bitch Better Have My Money” on a poster with Boris Johnson in front of that effing bus!

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

My best investment of time was to limit my ‘junk’ reading — especially things like the Metro on my commute and instead spend whatever time I have reading books. It is early days but the investment in an Audible subscription is starting to pay off as well. My goal every year is to read 52 books.

What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

My most noticeable unusual habit is probably that I tend to ‘scat sing’ to myself pretty much all the time unless I catch myself.

The absurd thing I love? I’m not sure — but my love of Adidas Superstar trainers and the fact I have so many pairs probably looks pretty absurd to other people.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Giving up sugar and generally looking after my health more. I admit I had little choice given the diabetes diagnosis but it really is making a massive difference to my life.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

Travel, really travel, before you commit to anything and if you get the chance work abroad. These are my two biggest regrets from when I was younger (and they have a lot of competition.)

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

I hate most of the recommendations or advice I hear when it comes to ‘scaling agile’. It so often seems to be a reaction and retrograde step that sacrifices all the gains agile has brought to an organisation in order to make it something that fits with an existing model and way of working. The problem is it just doesn’t and while I know that is hard it is also why it works.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

I walk. I put on my headphones, listen to some J Dilla or Pete Rock instrumentals and walk and walk.


Tim Ferris’s 11 questions from Tribe of Mentors — Jukesie edition 🙂 was originally published in Product for the People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – Product for the People

I’m Adam Pearce and I work in Data and Analytics. I’m also part of the DWP data visualisation community.  I’ve developed an online learning resource to encourage people to think more about communicating with data.

Adam Pearce

Adam Pearce in the Newcastle digital hub

Empathy and openness

Understanding our users and being empathetic towards them is a key part of our work in DWP Digital. We’re driving hard for visualised analytics to be the norm not the exception, and design-thinking and empathy in data are incredibly important to us.

It’s important to realise that data visualisation is not just for analysts; it can be an engaging and insightful way for anyone who needs to present information.  So in the data visualisation community, we work with teams across the whole organisation and collaborate on good practice.

We’re also asked to provide advice and training, including to places like the European Commission.  Our training has evolved over many years and increased in popularity and scope. This became quite time-consuming to deliver and to keep everyone up-to-date. So recently, Ryan Dunn and I – with the support of the community – decided to create a more modern, open and convenient way to deliver the content.

Learning from the best

To create the new online learning resource, we started by consolidating material from our previous training and experience.  Then we added examples and resources we thought were helpful to make people think a bit more about the communication side of data.

Over the last few years, we’ve been lucky enough to attend the global graphical web conferences that showcase new opportunities and future directions in visualisation on the web. We’ve got to know some truly inspirational people from the world of data visualisation, in particular Alan Smith, Rob Fry and Andy Kirk whose content and examples feature in the new online resource.

Iterate and improve

Although I developed the site – https://dataviztraining.dwpdata.info – my background is in maths and statistics, and I’ve had no formal training in website development!  This is the first iteration and initial feedback from across government has been positive.  Going forward, we hope to collaborate with other departments, keeping the training up-to-date and expanding it to include more interactive web-based visualisations.

If you’re interested in having a go, it should take less than an hour to work through.  And we’d love to hear what you think to help us improve the resource together.

Find out more about the Data and Analytics opportunities we have available in DWP Digital on our careers website and have a look at our LinkedIn page. You can also find out more about what’s happening in DWP Digital by subscribing to this blog and following us on Twitter @DWPDigital.

Original source – DWP Digital

Talking Comms Pod 3.jpg

 

When you’ve scrolled and squinted and scrolled and squinted until your fingers and eyes can scroll and squint no more there’s a new way to get your comms fixes – the excellent Talking Comms Podcast.

by Adrian Stirrup

I’m possibly a little bit more excited than I should be to tell you that the latest Talking Comms podcast is now live and available to download.

It’s our third full episode (not counting our Christmas and New Year mini-episodes) and it’s fair to say that we are still on a steep learning curve with this podcasting malarkey. That said, I’m still loving doing them.

In this episode, Darren and I chat about the comms2point0 Supercharged Social Media course, and three people who took part in the first course (Simon, Julie and Stephen – that’s you) kindly stuck around afterwards to give us a few thoughts on how their respective organisations – a fire service, a local authority and a regulator – handle their social media.

We also hear from Yammer Evangelist Steve Nguyen who was in the UK for a seminar about ‘falling in love with Yammer’, and who gives a few insights on what developments are coming this year (spoiler: live video streaming!)

With my internal comms head on, I’d never say Yammer is going to solve all of your organisation’s engagement problems, but I genuinely feel it’s the best internal comms tool that gives colleagues that crucial ‘employee voice’, as well being a way of solving issues across silos and different work locations. Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you some of my secrets!

And we end the podcast with a recording of an NHS Providers Communication Leads Network event in January. In it, the panel talk about dealing with a comms issue that never goes away: are we generalists or specialists? It’s something that I know Darren has discussed here – and the diagram he talks about on the podcast is in that post too.

I do say this in the podcast, but thank you to everyone who’s downloaded, tweeted about it or emailed us. Feedback is great. If you’re so inclined, you can rate and review us on whichever podcast app or provider you use. If you want to give us five (that’s FIVE) stars, then we won’t say no.

And finally, do listen to the very end of the podcast for a little surprise…

YOU CAN LISTEN HERE

Adrian Stirrup is internal communications lead at Brent Council and creator of the Talking Comms Podcast

image via Tullio Saba

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

The GOV.UK Publishing Frontend team has created tools to help developers and designers ensure a consistent user interface across the site.

We’ve already reduced the number of templates and design patterns used on GOV.UK. Now we’ve created a style guide of design patterns that live in applications and tools. 

Creating a frontend component guide

Back in 2014, we developed a model for building components (such as breadcrumbs and search boxes) and created design patterns that serve templates to users.

However, at the time, we had no way of documenting the patterns. This was confusing for developers and designers, and made it slower to iterate designs.

To fix this, in late 2017 we converted the design patterns of our biggest frontend applications into components and created a frontend component guide.

The guide contains a list of components and production-ready code, and examples of how they can be used on GOV.UK. We also set rules, called principles and conventions, which help us to update the guide organically and set a standard of writing components on GOV.UK.

Benefits of the component guide

This work has created a common language for our designs and the way they are developed on GOV.UK.

Frontend teams are already identifying components more easily, re-using standard patterns and iterating templates quickly in one place. The result is there’s a more consistent look and feel to elements across the site.

Testing of our designs is also more streamlined, as we’re able to test the impact of changes across GOV.UK in one place. This empowers GOV.UK teams to scale designs with greater confidence.

Here are some examples of how we’ve done this.

Making components accessible to all

Everything we build on GOV.UK, including components, must be accessible to everyone.

The site’s accessibility standards are wide reaching, so we defined bespoke accessibility criteria for each component. We then made sure that each component met its individual criteria.

We also added automated testing to our components so that accessibility issues are highlighted before going live. This means that when we iterate a component, errors will be picked up automatically.

Because automated testing can only cover certain aspects of accessibility, we added extra manual tests where necessary. This prevented changes being made that could make components less accessible in the future.

Accessibility criteria for our content list component

Accessibility criteria for our content list component

Visual regression testing

One of the biggest challenges facing developers and designers on GOV.UK is knowing how their changes will affect the live site. With over 350,000 pages on the site, it can be very difficult for them to find and track the impact of their changes.

We’ve set up visual regression testing to help make this easier. Visual regression testing looks for differences between what you’re working on now and what the site looked like before, and highlights those changes to the developer with minimal effort. This means developers can immediately see the effect of their changes and whether they’re acceptable.

It’s a huge challenge to implement visual regression testing, but we’ve laid the groundwork for rolling out a standard way of doing it to the whole of GOV.UK in the future.

Sharing our patterns across government

We’re working with the rest of the Government Digital Service, including the GOV.UK Design System team, to ensure components are implemented in a consistent way.

This is helping to prevent design duplication and encourages collaboration across government so that users experience a more consistent look and feel throughout their visit to GOV.UK.

Find out more

More blogs will be coming soon about our frontend work.

Humin is a product manager on GOV.UK. You can follow him on Twitter.

Original source – Inside GOV.UK

Dafydd Vaughan has produced is an interesting data rich analysis and reflection on the state of UK digital government blogging. On the face of it the picture is gloomy: the rate of blogging has sharply decreased, and entire blogs are moribund. If you start – as he does – from the principle Make things open: it makes things better that looks like bad news. It does though prompt three questions: what’s actually happened, does it matter – and is the data carrying a slightly different message?

One reason there may be less government blogging is that there is generally less blogging going on in general. More interestingly, blogging has migrated. Medium didn’t exist before 2012, but has seemed to soak up an increasing amount of the blogging capacity of people who work in government. The weeknote phenomenon was unknown until relatively recently. And it’s hard to argue that there is no insight into the ways of digital government in the week of the publication of a post of the calibre of Will Myddelton’s magnificent account of his mistakes, to take just one example of a higher order of openness.1

But separately, and rather more heretically, it’s worth asking whether all those blog posts had the significance being ascribed to them. Certainly, things were more open. But did that make them better? Dafydd’s post ends with a persuasive list of reasons why being open is good, but they are perhaps more about promoting visibility and understanding than about the benefit of the thing being blogged. In other words, the thing made more open is not necessarily the same as the thing made better – though that’s certainly not an argument against doing it.

There’s another reason worth considering too. GDS – and digital government generally – have always been political, but they haven’t always been politically contentious. But that was never guaranteed to last, and indeed there were good reasons to expect it not to last.

Writing about this more from a policy perspective a few years ago, I came up with this two by two – from technical to political on one dimension and from process to substance on the other. The point was that the further you move upwards and to the right, the harder it is for civil servants to be completely open in real time about what they do. In the sense I am using it here, GDS blogging – and government digital blogging more generally – has been predominantly in the lower left quadrant, where being open is most straightforward. That might be changing, for two reasons. The first is that, as GDS moves beyond the forming and infrastructure stage of its life, its work might naturally be moving towards the trickier areas of the matrix. The second is that the upper right quadrant might be expanding. It can be hard to remember now how apolitical GDS was perceived to be when it started, to the extent that it was worth writing a post pointing out that digital is political. The more GDS is institutionally a matter of political contention, the more openness will tend to be constrained.

You don’t have to think that’s a good thing of course. But to the extent that it’s right, there is a real risk of a vicious circle coming in to play.  Dafydd notes that GDS is facing growing public criticism and advocates returning to greater openness as part of their response. But I suspect that it is precisely the fact that GDS is operating in a more contentious environment which causes the reduced openness. Breaking through that isn’t just a matter of more bravery by GDS, but much more fundamentally would depend on thinking differently about how a politically neutral civil service operates in a modern digital world. That is only incidentally about digital subject matter. As I concluded in my 2013 post:

Even if we were to take away the question of political alignment there is still a much more universal question of organisational alignment. Organisations which allow and encourage their employees to think aloud about their employer’s business and its strategic direction are rare oases of self-confidence. Other than a few licensed mavericks (who tend to be smart enough not to bite the hand which is feeding them), that is just not how organisations work. Ending the political neutrality of civil servants wouldn’t stop the secretary of state being the boss.

So my pragmatic view is that starting towards the bottom and the left of the matrix makes good sense. Let’s encourage people to build up confidence, experience and good practice there, moving up and to the right over time. For the reasons I have outlined, the top right corner is much more difficult territory. But if we stop to solve those problems now, we risk getting completely bogged down.

This blog has just passed its 13th anniversary of going public. I suspect the pattern of post intensity wouldn’t be far off the shape of the curve Dafydd has identified for government digital blogs. It’s not going to go away or – I hope – fall silent, but there are many things which won’t now be written about because they have already been written about and there is no strong reason for writing them again. Perhaps that too is part of the wider explanation – there is less that needs saying because there is more that’s been said.

  1. As Dafydd has noted in a subsequent tweet, personal blogging by civil servants long predates GDS – but it was also pretty limited as this survey of the landscape from 2009 shows.

Original source – Public Strategist

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