https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2013/05/03/this-week-at-gds-28/

This week at GDS

Highlights: A very big week, as we marked the 24th and last of the ministerial departments moving to Inside Gov. The numbers that describe the volume of activity over the last six months are incredible - and thanks go to so many of the team who've worked hard to make this happen. Other notable things this week have been GDS participation in a cross-government major project review - working with Defra to answer for performance in and around our work with the Rural Payments Agency, one of our first exemplar services. We also had the opportunity at the Public Sector Show this week to talk to counterparts looking at digital services in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

(Full transcript below)

Interviewer:
Hello, Mike. A big week for GDS this week.

Mike:
Huge week. We made it; we made the 24th department onto Inside Gov. As well as Export Finance UK, we moved the Number 10 site and the Deputy Prime Minister site to the platform. It’s the end of a hugely ambitious five months to move the entirety of Whitehall onto one domain. It’s a tremendous, tremendous achievement.

In the last six months we’ve published 50,000 documents; 222 sub-domains have been closed; 2,250 user stories have been delivered; 223 policies have been written to a new clear style; and 5.8 million people have visited Inside Government pages, making more than 29 million page views.

I want to give a lot of thanks. The team here have been amazing; people have worked really, really hard. Neil Williams and all the guys here have done a great job. I’d like to thank some people who’ve helped us with moving these last two domains on. I’d like to thank Susan D’Arcy and Louisa Harper, who worked on Number 10; Anthony Simon and Amy Khan, and the teams at the PM’s office and over at Downing Street, because they’ve been constantly supporting us. It’s great to now have them on the platform.

Interviewer:
We were joined for some celebratory words later, weren’t we?

Mike:
We did. We did, firstly we should thank our Minister, Francis Maude, who took time from a very busy day for him. He came over and gave a fantastic speech, really raised all the team. We also had some visitors on the day. Chris Martin, who’s the Prime Minister’s PPS, who’s a very busy man and obviously can’t spend much time away from Number 10, he came over to see what we’d been doing and left, I hope, impressed. It’s great to have him on side. I should also thank Stephen Kelly, who obviously runs the Efficiency and Reform Group. Stephen came over and also bought us all a drink, which was nice.

Interviewer:
That was very kind of him. Have we been up to anything else this week?

Mike:
One of the interesting things to happen this week was we had an MPA review, called MPRG; it’s a Major Project Review Group. It’s when treasury-led groups of civil servants and external advisors hold us up to account. Sometimes we sit on those when we look across government and what it’s doing.

This week we were on the other side of the table with our colleagues from Defra; it’s one of our first exemplars. We were held to account by Sir Peter Gershon and others, who asked us really searching and challenging questions about RPA, the Rural Payments Agency, and our work there and agile across government.

It’s fascinating to hear the challenge and also to take the challenge. It’s also a little bit intimidating sometimes to be on the other side of the table. That was the major thing this week. It’s good; it’s good that everything we do is in the open and it’s audited. It’s great that we can on those panels say to people, “Look at our website. Look at our blog,” because we’re trying to do all these things as openly and transparently as possible.

Interviewer:
Excellent. You’ve got away to talk at the Public Sector Show as well.

Mike:
It’s really important that we engage as much as possible with colleagues right across the public sector, and it is a great show. This one was in London, but we had time afterwards with colleagues from Scotland, and also particularly spent an hour with the Northern Ireland colleagues who are looking at their digital agenda.

They actually have their own domains over there, but they also do a lot of work looking at how we’ve worked on platforms, to see if we can help them. We’re going over soon to Belfast to meet them, but it was great to really connect with them as well.

These shows are really important, because at the end of the show more than a dozen people waited and asked us loads of questions about how they can work with the central government agenda. Again, it’s another way of reconnecting with the wider public sector.

Interviewer:
Excellent. We’ve also had some new starters and a couple of people saying goodbye.

Mike:
Yes, Will Callaghan left this week. He did a great job for us and it’s important to know – we wish Will the best, great guy – but also where he’s gone. He’s gone to ‘Go On’ trust and he’s going to be a huge force in driving those on. We’ll miss him but we’ll still see him.

I think it’s great from my point of view that we as a hub here, when people do leave they go on to really notable digital things. In some ways I’m sad to see Will go, but I’m glad that he’s gone to another high profile digital role.

We say “Hello” to some new colleagues here. Fola’s [Ekundayo] joined us as a content designer on the GOV.UK team; and Gavin, who’s joined the transformation team, Gavin Watson. It’ll be good to welcome those into GDS this week.

Interviewer:
Excellent. Enjoy the Bank Holiday.

Mike:
Thank you very much, and you; onwards.