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This week at GDS

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A very warm welcome to the Scotland Office, as they make the move to GOV.UK, during what's been another busy week at GDS. The Digital Advisory Board came in for a visit, and we've also published many of the videos from SPRINT13.


What have GDS been up to this week?

The major achievement this week is the migration onto GOV.UK of the Scotland Office, and that brings us up to the eighth major department to move onto this platform. So we’re at eight of 24; it’s going to be a very busy couple of months while we get the rest of them on there. So welcome to the team from the Scotland Office, and we look forward to working with them more in future.

Other things this week: we’ve been doing a lot of work with colleagues at Civil Service Learning, looking at how we make more assets more useful, maybe even make more videos, and using more services and more companies outside in the market place to create some of those.

We’ve also had the videos from SPRINT13. They show you all the workshops that we had; the minister’s speech, the closing speech from COO Stephen Kelly, where he announces that we have 400 days to transform our government services. So it was a great event, and I’d advise anyone who’s interested in government digitally to check that out.

Any visitors at GDS this week?

Yes, we have visitors every week. Big week for our advisory board; they come in every quarter. So we had Martha and the team in the building this week. They’re working on how they can help us and help departments with their transformation plans. I should say welcome to Kevin Mcquillan from BA, who’s now on that board, and also Doug McCallum. Doug, of course, has got a great history in digital, and also at Capital and at Ebay. I’m delighted we’ve got two new members of that board, and they’re making a big impact already.

We also welcomed in this week Tim Davie, from BBC Worldwide. He’s the Acting Director General of the BBC. It’s very interesting listening to Tim talk about the digital challenge facing the BBC, because many of those issues are consistent with what we see in the public sector more generally. So he was really impressed by what he saw at GDS, and I think there’s ways to learn from what they’ve already done with things like the iPlayer. So he’s another high-profile person that’s come along and has seen what we do, and has left very impressed.

The last visitor of the week was Gareth Davies. Gareth is a colleague who runs open policy making in Cabinet Office, and him and his team coming in, seeing what we’re doing with Inside Government, and getting closer to that team is absolutely important for all of us in government, because we have to get policy colleagues more entwined into digital creation of policy. So we’re continuing to do that, and we should see some more benefits of that coming out in due course.

You were talking about stuff that you’d seen outside of government this week as well...

Yes, there’s always lots going on. I think if I were to pick one thing this week, it would be Google sponsoring 15,000 Raspberry Pi devices for schools. There’s nothing more important than getting kids using computers in a real way, understanding how they work, and also developing coding skills from an early age. So well done to them, and we look forward to seeing that generation of coders come forward in government in about 15 years’ time.

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