Photo credit: Sharon O’Dea

Well, that’s another UK Gov Web Barcamp wrapped up, and #ukgc10 was a corker, not least thanks to the sterling efforts of Dave Briggs to organise the thing, and the generosity of Google in hosting us.

It still impresses me that 120-odd people from all over the country would want to give up their Saturday to talk about government, technology, data and engagement. But it seems we still do.

A little local difficulty meant I missed the morning sessions, unfortunately, but still had a great time in my former colleague Kim’s session on social media for internal communications, Stefan Czerniawski‘s session on improving transactional services online,  and Simon Dickson‘s obligatory salon on WordPress (lots of practical questions and note-taking; we’ve clearly moved on from when WordPress was a just a wow new technology).

I jointly did a session with Anthony Zacharzewski and Paul Clarke on persuading politicians and bureaucrats of the value of digital engagement in a climate of cuts. I loved Anthony’s take on the language issues at stake, and his segmentation of the evidence which persuades political and administrative masters, which was bang on the money. My own slides are here:

In a nutshell, I suggested three approaches to making the case:

  • Making digital engagement just part of the process of policymaking, not a special set of ‘innovative’ tools to be piloted
  • Explaining the changing digital world and the digital engagement activity we do in terms of the real-world impact it has on our own people, our stakeholders, our customers and our costs (a tough one for policy-led environments)
  • Pointing to the good company we’re in, not just the wide range of public sector examples of the use of these tools, but also the private sector application of them for customer service and business development

My bottom line was: this is a time to be brave, and argue the case for digital engagement in government as a driver of more efficient and effective policymaking and ministerial engagement – as well as a more cost effective route to service delivery.

Get notified of new blog posts by email


I have been watching from afar, via twitter and the livestream. I overheard several ‘private’ conversations and was distinctly impressed by the sincerity and the keen sense of community and ‘wishing to do it right’ that I heard.
I should have muted it but I am very nosy.
I think the people there are brilliant, innovative and caring, but I do feel I have to remind you ALL that none of this stuff can happen until we have the pipes. And its no use you thinking ‘Oh no not that mad farmers’ wife’ again. Until everyone has access to the internet, until it is ‘easy’ or ‘boring’ as Brian Condon says, then engagement won’t happen. Whoever reads this just remember that the spin from gov and ofcom etc is just that. Its spin. We do not have the infrastructure or data centres to cope. The victorian copper phone network was never designed to cater for all your fantastic plans. Don’t be conned. Do all in your power to expose the failings and think of solutions. (clue, fibre to the home)
sorry neil, delete this post if it really bugs you. I won’t take offence.
well not much.

This comment was originally posted on Mission Creep | Neil Williams

I’ll do no such thing, Chris! My mum is a farmer’s wife (albeit with fairly good broadband!) and you’re welcome to vent here, I always like your comments. I have no more influence than you do on gov policy on infrastructure matters though.

This comment was originally posted on Mission Creep | Neil Williams

Was gutted to miss this session, thanks for writing up.

I think you could well be proved right that cuts are an opportunity for more and better use of digital. Inspiring stuff, as per usual 🙂

Some images missing in the deck though, which I’d be intrigued to see in their full glory.

‘@Neil – thanks, damned Mac screenshots & Quicktime. Slides look better on SlideShare now, at least. And no, this was a 1am jobby the night before 🙂

It is also time to be brave and speak up about the crap broadband infrastructure in digital britain and stop letting people be conned into thinking this brave new world will happen using the current victorian phone network. It won’t.
Just sayin.

Photos! Well done to Paul Clarke for persevering with unreasonable Google security and getting to a compromise.

I’ve commented (ok, well, ranted) on the session on web professionals that we need more passion and better representation, rather than professionalisation, and I’d be interested in your view on it, as someone who has seen council webmasters from the other side of the councillor-officer divide.

This comment was originally posted on DavePress

Thanks to Sharon O’Dea for raffling the much coveted & admired epicvisionary domain name. Learning Pool is delighted to be the winner of the raffle and a bit sheepish too – it wasn’t Dave’s raffle ticket that won but Maeve’s – honest guv!

In the spirit of true collaboration I’ve asked Sarah Lay to co-ordinate ideas for a collaborative learning project that the original epic visionary gang can work on with Learning Pool over the next 12 months. Sarah & I will publish the idea once it’s more fully formed & hopefully others will join us to work on it.

This comment was originally posted on DavePress

Just posted: The tough issues of user involvement – videos from Saturday, with analysis of the issues people raised on “how do you involve users in the design and delivery of digital public services”.

This comment was originally posted on DavePress

Brilliant stuff. I’m relatively new to all of this, but have enjoyed following it via #ukgc10 tag on twitter etc.

I’ve written some brief thoughts on David’s post above here, and would really appreciate any thoughts / responses.

This comment was originally posted on DavePress