https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2013/08/23/this-week-at-gds-44/

This week at GDS

Kathy talks about what we’ve been doing over the last few days at GDS, including the Digital Leaders meeting and our all-staff meeting. She also discusses Dan Collins’ tool for examining page views of FCO travel advice, what we’ve learned from the LPA beta, and welcomes several new starters to GDS.

Matt:
Hello Kathy.

Kathy Settle, Director, Digital Policy and Departmental Engagement, Government Digital Service:
Hi there, Matt.

Matt:
A couple of big meetings starting off the week at GDS.

Kathy Settle:
We did. We had a great one of our All Staff meetings. These happen monthly and it’s a really great opportunity to bring together all the hundreds of staff across GDS now. Obviously many of them are based in our office in London in Aviation House, but we’ve got a lot of them based with departments, out doing the exemplars, so it’s really great to get them all together. As part of that, all the teams give an update of what they’re doing. I loved the one that Anna (Shipman) did, all about problems with her roof, actually, which she really applied it to how software designers think and work, applied it to a really practical life problem which was really interesting.

And the other person it was great to see there was Mike Blackburn. So he formerly worked at Apple and he’s now coming to work at UKTI (UK Trade & Investment), so again it’s one of those new recruitment posts that we’re getting into the heart of government at a senior level and it’s great to see that expertise from the private sector coming over and now working in the public sector.

We also had our regular monthly Digital Leaders meeting. I think I mentioned last week that we were going to be talking about Digital Inclusion and the work of the new team that we’re setting up, so we had a great discussion about that and got very clear agreement from digital leaders about what they wanted the team to do. We also talked about how the new technology structures should work across government, so we had an alpha of what that model should look like and we had a really good debate about that and the team are now going away to work up a beta. So we iterate models just as we do with websites.

Matt:
And what else have we been doing at GDS this week?

Kathy Settle:
Two things probably worth flagging actually. One was on the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) website transition. We had a fantastic meeting with representatives of all the tax professional bodies and we were starting getting their really early input into what the migration might look like and how HMRC content will appear for them on GOV.UK, and to make sure it really meets their needs. So it was the start of a dialogue, a long dialogue I suspect over the next year, but a really good kick off.

The other thing that’s worth flagging is a blog that was written by Dan Collins which people might want to read. He’s been looking at the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) content about worldwide travel advice and he’s produced what I guess I’d call a heat map, which shows where the recent trends are of where people are looking for travel advice across the world. And what’s really obvious is how it reflects the news, so how it moves from recent issues in Turkey to Egypt and Syria and so on, so please do read the blog and have a look because it’s really interesting.

Matt:
Any other news from places outside of GDS this week?

Kathy Settle:
Yes, actually, another blog that was written this week, which was by Kit Collingwood, who’s the service manager for the Office of the Public Guardian project to build a new Lasting Power of Attorney digital offering. Kit’s written a great blog about what they’ve learnt so far since the product’s been out and how much great take-up they’ve had of that product, and she’s also flagged some of the learning they’ve had as well. But one thing that was interesting, she actually didn’t include in her blog, was an issue that’s come up in their call centres. All their call centre operatives have a screen that they have to touch, so when they get a call they can allocate it to a particular topic, and they’ve recently just had to add a button where you can just record that someone’s made a call to give some positive feedback. So it’s the first time ever there have been lots and lots of calls they have received that has purely been positive feedback, so we’ve now got a positive feedback button on their screen and that’s fantastic news.

Matt:
That’s terrific. What’s coming up next week?

Kathy Settle:
Well, it’s a bank holiday, which is fantastic; we all look forward to those. And then we also have some visitors next week; we have some visitors from New Zealand and from South Korea, so carrying on our tour round the world, if you like, or virtual tour round the world at least.

Matt:
And finally, have we got any new starters this week at GDS?

Kathy Settle:
Yes, we’ve got several actually, and one that’s particularly worth mentioning is Victoria Ufondu, and she’s coming into the Transition team, so the team that’s transitioning all those hundreds of agencies and Arm’s Length Bodies onto GOV.UK, so welcome to her and all the other new members.

Matt:
Terrific. Enjoy your bank holiday.

Kathy Settle:
And you.

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