A couple of weeks ago, we updated the index page for all the blogs hosted on GOV.UK.
To mark this, we thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the interesting stuff that teams across government are publishing on their blogs, and we've done this by making our own Flipboard magazine.
Flipboard is what the cool kids call a "social news aggregator". That's internet-speak for a thing that helps you keep up with news from all sorts of sources and read it on the device that suits you.
It also lets you create your own magazine, pulling together articles from anywhere on the web. That's what we've done with a handful of interesting posts we found on some of the GOV.UK blogs.
Topics covered include marine litter and the future of driving. Not always, perhaps, things you expected civil servants would be thinking about. But that's exactly what blogs are good for: thinking out loud.
Flipboard magazines look their best when viewed on a tablet or phone using the Flipboard app, but you don't have to read them that way. They work just fine on the web too.
Comment by simonfj posted on
If you really want to understand this, you have to go back to the policies which each departments network managers are instructed to abide by. If you can appreciate that networks, particularly .gov ones, up till the web was invented, were always constructed as "moats", then you'd understand that the web enables people to look inside each of them. So we all know what's going on inside the silos these days.
Now we are in the position where the policies in each network are entirely without any common policy. GOV. UK (local or central) is not by itself here. So, in some departments, we have a service which is quite open, like the GDS teams, and they give us a little insight into what they each are doing. In others, we have senior public servants who think, and act, like Sir Humphrey.
So you just have to go along for the ride, as we're at the point now where you can do very little until the older generation dies off. As they do, we will see the policies align = become more open. Perhaps one thing might accelerate this evolution. As the IDA implementation is given a focus, we might get a focus on "the user" - which up till now is considered as one citizen accessing a government service, and then moving on to other gov services, as an separate entity.
We haven't reached the point yet where frustrated citizens inside, and outside, of a government department will consider using a gov user account to share the same service, as we are doing with this blog.
It's funny David. I just had an Alice Gledhill from your department asking "Any ideas on how to build a leadership community?" on one of my Linkedin (internal communications) groups. Maybe you should suggest to her that it's quite easy. Ask "the leaders" to retire 🙂
Comment by Ian taylor posted on
David is not alone. In DVSA we have the same issue. Why is it that Government departments block access to pages such as this, taking away the ability for staff to keep up to date with advances in technology?
Comment by simonfj posted on
It's good that you've tidied up the blog index. So now we have 55 (teams') info sources.gov.uk, and more on the way. Flipboard is nice. But, as you can see from David's comment, it's too early to introduce the open web to the less progressive departmental networks.
Just looking at that first link below your post here - to "Striking a balance between security and usability" says it all. We have all these different departmental network users, all with an understanding of the "open social web" (when at home); and all must contend with different levels, and implementations, of security and useability when they log on to their work network.
It's a hard nut to crack I know. And it will be until the discussions around IDA get down to supporting the various champions/peers/GROUPS, in every department, to develop their own (inter-departmental) communications channels; and engage with their users. That's two levels of security to start with.
I know it may seem that just listing an increasing number of blogs is "job done". But if you're think 'user first', then the job is to bring together groups who are all focused on the same ends, to collaborate. (Big plug for a practiceexchange.gov.uk.)
For that to happen we need to see something like a link from various posts/articles to a conversation place, so they people doing similar things, in different departments, can find one another, group, and collaborate. Carrie's "weekly bits of interest" is nice as it does the mag thing without presenting any distribution probs around the networks.gov.uk.
But you're not helping here to solve the security/useability prob. That said, I gotta say you seem to have the nicest stable of writers in the GDS teams. It would be nice to see an ongoing discussion around a few of their posts rather than the old "publish and be damned" approach.
Comment by David Smallwood posted on
Hi - accessed this page from a DWP laptop: the "our own flipboard magazine" and "on the web too" links come up as ones that I'm not authorised to access, while "create your own magazine" has been blocked by the DWP filters
Comment by Jake Benilov posted on
Looks good - we just need to encourage more posts to contain images, so that fewer posts end up with the default crown.
Comment by Carrie Barclay posted on
Thanks Jake - and, yes, this is something we are looking to improve. Carrie