Does this email look janky? If so, view it in your browser

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Hiya! Apologies that this is a day later than normal. I was elsewhere yesterday.

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!

Why the Local Digital Declaration is a good thing

First up, a disclaimer: I have been working with the team at MHCLG on the Declaration and they've given me money. I don't think that necessarily changes my opinion of it, and I'd have written a very similar article to this even if they hadn't.

The Declaration sets out what good digital looks like in local government. This is really important, because there is so much confusion out there about what councils ought to be doing. The declaration makes it clear that just putting forms online isn't enough, that digital transformation means wholesale upgrades to technology, culture, operating models and leadership. Link.

I really hope this provides something that councils can rally behind, and kick start some of the transformation work that I get the feeling might be starting to stall in some quarters. The challenge is so great for many councils that are needing to find tens of millions of pounds of savings while still delivering vital services to local people that really need them.

The promise of collective action is one that should be supported and I look forward to seeing how this transpires. I'm sometimes nervous about partnership working, which often drags some organisations back so that everyone can only move at the pace of the slowest. There are better ways of making this work though and I'm sure that the team at MHCLG will be exploring new ways of sharing and collaborating to avoid some of the pitfalls. I'd love to see greater collective bargaining with some of the big suppliers of line of business systems like social care and revenues and benefits, and ways of supporting smaller companies to develop their own offerings in these areas which are hard to break into.

My role has been minor, suggesting a wording tweak here, giving an example of good digital practice in the sector there. Mostly I had the pleasure of working with Helpful Digital in developing the website for the project - the initial alpha release for launch and the plans for future iterations over the summer. It was fab getting to work with Steph again after a few years and I'd heartily recommend him and his team should any of you need some support getting a WordPress website or intranet together (they also do other stuff like digital training and crisis comms simulations). Link.

Podcast appearance by me of the week

  • Vicky Sargent interviewed me the other day for her new podcast Interesting Times on Connected Local Government. We chatted about the progress of digital in local government and I wittered on a bit about what good looks like. Link


  • Here's the recording of the discussion about whether or not GDS has been a success that I linked to in advance last week. Link.
  • Why leaders in organisations need to start taking technology seriously again. Link

Tools and techniques

  • How to run a successful alpha, from the DHSC product management community. Link.
  • NE Lincs Council on adopting the digital service standard to improve quality in digital projects. Link
  • On how to think about risk in digital projects. Link


  • I um and ah over Microsoft Teams. Seen simply as a Slack clone it fails on a number of levels for me, but as this article makes clear, perhaps it's more than that. Link.
  • Richard Pope on government, data and privacy. Link
  • As part of the declaration, GDS have made Notify and Pay available to all local authorities. Link


  • There are a couple of developer roles going at LGSS Digital in Cambridge and Northampton. Link
  • Local Digital Skills Partnership: Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, DCMS. 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.

Book of the week

  • The Upstarts by Brad Stone tells the stories of AirBnB and Uber, but pulls in a load of tales of startup life from other companies too. Affiliate link.  

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
Copyright © 2018 Digital Digest, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp