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Wednesday, 31st October 2018

Hola! Time is racing by and it's nearly November already. Halloween tonight! I'll be locking the front door and switching off all the lights.

Remember - if you enjoy this newsletter, others might too! Please forward it on to anybody you think might like it, or encourage folk to sign themselves up! Got something I ought to include? Mail me!


  • Phil Rumens shares his thoughts on the database of proposals from local councils which were aiming at bagging some of the digital collaboration lolly MHCLG have on offer. Phil perceptively notes that they "serve as a snapshot of the current state of digital and transformation in local government". I'd agree. Quite a few of the 'innovations' being pitched are the sorts of things that one would have sorted out years ago (back scanning of documents into a document management system, anyone?) and I'm not convinced why any council would need financial support in implementing something like Pay. Link.
  • This interview with Linda O'Halloran is a useful primer on what the MHCLG approach to the funding and collaborative working is. Link.
  • A great exposition on different ways of opening up government services to other providers and bodies, contrasting HMRC and DWP, by Jerry Fishenden. Really good read, particularly if thinking about how digital age operating models can work in government is your thing. Link.

Tools and techniques

  • More from Defra on why products are better than projects. Link.
  • Simon Wardley on how he would reboot GDS. He advocates more Wardley mapping, which possibly isn't a surprise. Even so, this is a great primer on mapping and how it can help define strategy. Link.
  • Dave Rogers outlines the importance of balance in organising programmes of technology work, and why this is sometimes more helpful than prioritising using a set of criteria. The categories he proposes to balance out are creating, maintaining, renewing, enabling, and reacting. Link.


  • A nice article and set of slides from DXW talking about 'local government as a platform'. It uses Pay as an example reusable common component. My critique here is that this is really 'platform for government' stuff - what makes a platform a platform is that the steward of the platform doesn't create all the value on it. It's an operating model, not a technical architecture. Link
  • Ben Thompson on the background of IBM purchase of Red Hat, which in itself was pretty big news. Really interesting on services strategy and how the internet and then the cloud changed everything. Link.
  • Paul Downey explains why getting data out of information is like trying to extract eggs out of a cake. "...while cake is ideal for people who want cake, given the raw ingredients we could also have pancakes, Welsh cakes and Yorkshire puddings". Link.


Events are undoubtably the weakest bit of this newsletter. Have you got any to suggest? Or should I just dump this as a regular section?
  • Hack the North, 23-24 November, Manchester. Link
  • LocalGovDigitalCamp is "a 1 day activity of innovation, interaction and sharing of ideas, best practice and sometimes, mistakes, made in Local Gov Digital Transformation". 13th December, Exeter. Link


  • Digital Content Officer (Web), Bath & North East Somerset Council. Link.
  • Senior Digital Experience Officer, Southampton City Council. Link
If you're on the lookout for a new public service digital job, then you'd do a lot worse than signing up for Matt Jukes' entirely job-focused newsletter.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading and please feel free to forward this onto friends and colleagues - and maybe even encourage them to sign up!

If you have any feedback, or an idea for something to be included, please just hit reply and send me an email.

Until next time,

~ Dave
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