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Showing posts from September, 2015

Digital by Default Assessments

Next month a colleague and I will be observing a Digital by Default Assessment at the Government Digital Service (GDS). We were delighted to be invited and I'm very grateful to Olivia Neal and her colleagues for the chance to see how a stage of it works, in person.

The Digital by Default Standard applies to Central Government services that have (or are likely to have) more than 100,000 transactions a year and happens at various stages of a new service's creation. It's a good thing for lots of reasons, two of which being it makes sure services are relentlessly centred on user needs and it stops taxpayers money being wasted on pet projects and poor services. In short it's about better, cheaper government services.

My interest is twofold. Firstly to see if elements could be used at the council I work for, and also whether it could be applied generally to service Local Government offers, perhaps through LocalGov Digital, or something else.

We'll be watching a Beta to L…

More than the sum of its parts

This the third in what's turned into a series of posts. In the first I discussed what I'd learnt from helping build Pipeline, a website to facilitate council collaboration. The second was about what I was going to pitch at LocalGovCamp and this, the third about is what's happened since then.

I'm really grateful to everyone who came to my session at LocalGovCamp and you can read about what happened at it here. I was also inspired by what happened at our Local Democracy Maker Day and the innovative way people went about solving the challenges.

I called it a Makers Day rather than a Hack Day because some people people think computer programming when they hear the word "hack" and this might put them off, because it's really not about tech, in fact some of the excellent outputs from Local Democracy Maker Day were made using post-its and flipcharts.

So the conclusion I've come to was arrived at from the journey of thought I've been on around how to mov…

The five stages of digital transformation

Digital transformation in any organisation is a process of evolution, from a paper based process to a one that better serves users and gains the most from digital.

I've detailed five stages, focussing on applying for an Events Notice. I chose this because it's a statutory service, but even for this there's a huge about of scope for re-thinking it around user needs and digital.

Paper Based

This is the most costly and time consuming for everyone. Every step with an icon of a person next to it takes manual intervention which makes the process longer for the user and more costly for the council.


Downloadable Form
The bad old days of eGIF saw councils fill their websites up with PDFs in an attempt to do things "electronically". As you can see from above, there's very little time saving to the user or the council, other than the user doesn't have to wait to receive the application form.


Online and E-Forms

Now we're getting somewhere and the customer interac…

Local Democracy Maker Day 2015

At 8am on Thursday I left my house to attend the Local CIO Council, Place as a Platform event in London. Travelling to Leeds that night, the next day I ran Local Democracy Maker Day a fringe event of LocalGovCamp and then attend the main LocalGovCamp on Saturday. I returned home at midnight on Sunday, so if this comes across as a bit of a brain-dump, hopefully you'll understand as I'm writing this just few hours later.

The first observation I have about the three events is that they were attended by different combinations of the some of the same people. Dave Briggs joked about a self regarding clique in his introduction to LocalGovCamp, but collectively we need to make sure this isn't happening.

My second is that without Nick Hill, either of the LocalGovCamp days wouldn't have happened.

Local Democracy Maker Day was on the Friday, and first of all I need to thank everyone involved in making it happen. From initial discussions online, a meeting between LGMakers, LDBytes

What's in GaaP for the Private Sector?

...or less succinctly, how Government as a Platform (GaaP) could create a new market for software devlopers.

Three things inspired me to write this:
Dave Briggs' excellent piece on GaaPThis week I'll be attending a Local CIO Council workshop on Place as a Platform. This FOI request to Worcestershire County Council.
GaaP isn't really a new concept. The idea of a single, cross-organisation platform has been around for decades and those with the view that GaaP should just have a single service developed for each function (an opposing view to Dave's) are really calling for a return to the old days of having one system for common applications, bulk data processing, and so on. This should probably be called Government as a Mainframe (GaaM), but that's another debate.

Elements of the open version of GaaP have been around for a while too; take Open 311. Rewind to four years ago, and I worked with Fix My Street to create an Open 311 Service. There's a good piece about Op…