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This week at GDS

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This week Kathy talks about Assisted Digital, a visit from Kazakhstan and a look forward to next week's Digital Leaders meeting. Along with welcoming our new starters, Kathy also talks about next week's meeting to look at  the remit of the Digital Inclusion team, which we are starting to recruit for.

Full transcript below:
Hello Kathy.

Kathy Settle: 
Hello Matt.

What have we been up to at GDS this week?

Kathy Settle: 
Well, we’ve been carrying on our work on exemplars, and on the transition on GOV.UK, moving all those agencies and arm’s length body sites over. But probably one of the things that’s worth just focusing on is our work on Assisted Digital, because we’ve been doing a lot there over the last few weeks, and this week in particular. On Wednesday, we had an event with some potential suppliers, as part of our market engagement exercise, and that was a really great event, trying to work through with them what sort of needs we have for Assisted Digital, and how they might help us provide those in future.

Also speaking again with departments on Assisted Digital, just to make sure we really understand the requirements, particularly of the exemplar exercises. Actually, as part of that, we did a workshop looking at one of the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) exemplars, and bringing in people like UK Online Centres, like the libraries, Citizens Advice Bureau, and we worked through what the user needs were for that DVLA example, and how those suppliers might help us; what Assisted Digital might look like for those people.

Also on Assisted Digital, we’ve been doing some work with the Helen Hamlyn Centre (for Design), and Peter Ziegler, who’s come to work part-time with us from the Helen Hamlyn Centre, wrote a blog, actually, the other day, which is really worth reading, about the work that he’s doing, thinking about the needs particularly of older people and Assisted Digital.

We’ve also had some visitors in this week?

We have. We had another foreign government come in, which was great; they were from Kazakhstan. They were particularly interested in open policy-making, and how you can use digital tools to help with that; particularly social media. They had a good look round the office and spoke to many people, particularly in our Digital Engagement team.

What do we have coming up next week?

Two big events. On Tuesday we’ve got our regular monthly all-staff meeting, so everybody from GDS getting together, finding out what everyone’s been up to over the last month, and what things they’re going to focus on next month, so it’s a really good catch-up. On Wednesday we’ve got our regular monthly Digital Leaders meeting. Two things I’ll just pick out from the agenda: one is the DFID (Department for International Development) Digital Leader, Richard Calvert. He’s going to come and talk to us about the DFID digital strategy, and how they’re progressing with delivery, particularly focusing on things like the aid platform that they’ve been working on.

The other one that’s again worth mentioning is the Digital Inclusion item. In June, as part of the Information Economy strategy, the government announced that it was setting up a cross-government team to look at Digital Inclusion, which will be based in GDS. We’re just starting to recruit that team now, and the meeting on Wednesday is looking at what the remit of that team is and the scope of its work, and what sort of things particularly it will be focusing on for the next six months. That will be a good, useful discussion to get that team’s work underway.

Finally, have we had any new starters this week?

We have, we’ve got four, two that I’ll probably just pick out, who are both coming into the user research team. One of them is Teresa Randall; she currently works at DECC, actually; our Department of Energy and Climate Change. The other one, who’s actually coming into the Digital Inclusion team I’ve just mentioned, is a guy called Jon Rimmer. Looking forward to meeting both of those.

Fabulous. Until next time.


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  1. Comment by reemamehta posted on

    Many thanks for your comment. You can read about the work we've done so far with the Helen Hamlyn Centre in the blog post written by Peter Ziegler: We'll be blogging much more as the work progresses to share information and insight about the project.

  2. Comment by Doug bell posted on

    Kathy,as we are obtaining insight for Single Tier pension due to be
    introduced in April 2016 with a digital service offering is there any insight
    you can share from the work your doing with Helen Hamlyn Centre. I'm sure much
    of what your doing in this area will be of great benefit to us.