I’ll be leaving my role at the Department of Health at the end of this week.

I’ve decided that the time is right to do something else, but I’m sad to be going. I’m leaving behind people that I’ve loved working with, and plenty of unfinished business. But I’ve been here for more than 6 years, which is longer than I’ve stayed in any organisation, and long enough.

In my first DH blog I said that the challenge was to work out how to use digital tools and techniques and internet culture to deliver the department’s objectives. It felt like missionary work back then and, while a lot has changed since 2010, I think the mission remains the same.

I’m proud of a lot of the work I’ve been involved in here. I’m lucky to have worked with people with the energy, imagination and persistence to make things better. Not everything we’ve tried has worked. But at our best we’ve been able to help improve how this bit of Whitehall operates, and the way health policy is made. That’s pretty rewarding. This blog contains loads of examples.

The department I’m leaving is not digitally mature. It probably will be by 2030, but for now I think there’s still a need for digitally minded people in the department to coax and cajole, and keep doing things that demonstrate how things might be different and better. The ability to get things done ought to be inversely proportional to the need for cajoling.

I’ve spent some of the last few weeks doing a bookend project for the director of communications here – a review of digital and communications. I’ll post a write up in my next – and last – blog for the department. It’s been a cathartic project for me personally. I’ve enjoyed the process of talking to lots of people who have operated around the fringes of the department’s digital work, hearing what they have made of it, and their opinions about what’s needed next. I’m very grateful to all the people who have taken part.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. I don’t have another job to go to, and I plan to enjoy not being a civil servant for a bit. I’ll post more about that over on my personal blog, which at the moment contains occasional photos of West Norwood hedges and Star Wars figures, but is about to get a bit more love.

Original source – Stephen Hale

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