Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

This parrot is not dead, its just sleeping

If you’re still reading this, its possible that I might do some more shortly. Things seem to be happening that I want to talk about.

I know, I’m as surprised as you.

Playing around with WordPress themes

Nothing to see here, I’m just taking the opportunity to refresh this site a little. I’ve had it in mind to update the site for a while since I noticed how many templates now offers.

I’ve also just finished building a hosted wordpress site (of which more shortly) so I thought it was time to pay some attention to my own site.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Does this represent a thaw in the lack of activity here?


But I’ve said that before haven’t I….


Reminder: teacamp tomorrow

I honestly thought we might not bother with informal meet-ups over the summer as many civil servants are off with school holidays and recess.

But I’m told there’s a fair few people planning to come along tomorrow (Thursday 7th) so if you fancy having a chat with other people interested in all things government web, then pop over to Cafe Zest – 2nd floor in House of Fraser Victoria Street – some time between 2pm and 4pm tomorrow.

It would be great to see you there.

At the web2.0strategies conference

At the web2.0strategies conference

Originally uploaded by Jeremy Gould.

I’ve been speaking here today as part of a panel discussion on innovation in the workplace.

One observation – the sheer number of laptops and iphones being used during the sessions.

These aren’t people coming to learn about web2.0 / social media, these are people who do it already and are trying to work out how to do it better within their organisations.

Back with lots to do

Step your mind

Back in the office tomorrow. Much to be getting on with, including updates on the Barcamp – location should be confirmed this week. Meanwhile, saw this sign on holiday. Made me laugh and speculate if I could write a whole self-help book based on the title?

Govt webbies – the next generation?

Congratulations to Neil Williams, web manager at Communities and Local Government, whose wife gave birth to their first child at the weekend. Enjoy the paternity leave Neil, a few weeks of sleep deprivation and dirty nappies will make website rationalisation seem positively simple after that…

back to work…


… from a few weeks holiday to find a mountain (okay a small hill) of email despite judicious use of autodelete filters, and a pile of (mainly junk) mail. Still it all takes time to wade through.

Normal (erratic) service will be resumed shortly. Thoughts in my head:

– why can’t public sector webbies all be friends instead of carping?
– reducing the digital clutter
– how do you explain to customers that their website might not be the most appropriate online channel to use?

More on these, and others, soon.

away gateway reviewing

Been a bit quiet in the last week while I was preparing for, and now participating in for the next few days, a gateway review. Nothing anything like as exciting or as high profile as this kind of thing I’m afraid to say. Nor anything to do with webby work but a run of the mill organisational change programme.

Its a good opportunity to spend a few days out of the office observing how others conduct their work, learn from them and hopefully give suggestions about how they can do their work better.

Normal service will hopefully be resumed towards the end of the week.

The reshuffle phoney war

Day after the handover of power and that means reshuffle time. There’s always an air of excitement and anticipation waiting to see if we’ll find out first from our contacts or via the news bulletins (its always the latter) who our new minister is.

But the reality is never as much fun as the preparation. Each reshuffle I’ve observed from inside the civil service has followed the same formula:

  • Lots of ‘planning’ in anticipation of the changes
  • Plenty of energy expended by people running around being busy
  • A few cagey fellows intimating that they are ‘in’ on the impending announcement (they aren’t, ever)
  • Staff asked to stay late/come in early to provide cover for the announcement so it can be published onto the website at a millisecond’s notice


  • People sitting around waiting for something to happen, wondering why they were kept from their evening out/dragged from their bed at first light
  • Dawning realisation that the announcement will be made at a reasonable hour (what a surprise)
  • Still plenty of nervous energy being expended around us, ‘getting things ready’

In the middle of this maelstrom, sitting serenely, are the webbies. Their fingers poised above the keyboard ready to unleash one of a few biographies prepared earlier. Suddenly, the BBC confirms the cabinet, and we publish.

Much later, of course, somebody always asks us if we are going to publish the announcement on the website. Today was no exception (wish they would actually check the site once in a while).

If that all sounds rather dull, it isn’t. A change at the top is an exciting time. Today was no exception.

Many of the staff popped down to see Lord Falconer off at midday. He’s been popular with the staff and it showed today when he got a rousing round of applause (even my Dad likes him and he’s a dyed in the wool Tory) . He looked touched by the send off and for once was lost for words.

So one Lord Chancellor exits, another enters. Tomorrow we’ll be once again poised to scramble up announcements about the rest of our new ministerial team as we find out.

Who knows what ideas they might have that affect my work. Perhaps one of them will want to start blogging?

on the wall of the Public Office

on the wall of the Public Office

Saw this statement on the way out from the workshop (illustrating a point from one of the case studies). Hammered home the point to me that website rationalisation is about them not us.