[2024] Week 10

It has been an interesting week one way or another.

Waking up on Saturday to several inches of snow was a bit of a shocker – and then it vanishing as quickly as it arrived so that there was barely any evidence by lunchtime was also something that tested my trust in what I was actually seeing.

Which was also a theme on Wednesday when the next phase of Open Referral UK work I did pre-Christmas and that I’ve been championing since found itself in the Spring Budget!

Backing Open Referral UK to streamline administrative processes for councils. This will set up an Open Referral UK cross-government advisory group and drive further adoption of the Open Referral UK data standard as part of a three-year plan. Benefits of adoption for councils could include residents receiving information more quickly and improved service connection.

I’m really excited about this and will be catching up with Mike on Monday to start working up the team and priorities to get moving on this.

A lot of this week has been getting Statements of Work over the line so new work can begin or starting the discussions and drafts on different SoWs that will make up the majority of the focus of our work in the next phase of the Local Digital programme.

There is much more clarity now about that next phase so now the challenge is making sure every mission or project is set up for success.

We had one of the first gatherings of the Senior Partner – Major Projects crew (there has been some org redesign and we are now a splinter group from the larger Senior Partner – Growth crew.) This was one of my very favourite meetings of 2024 – if not longer. I also feel most comfortable as part of a team and this bunch of lovely, smart, talented and committed folk feel like a great team indeed. We talked about the work, shared experiences and advice, planned for the future and generally it just felt like time well spent.

I had a really interesting chat with a team working on an evolution of some work I did for the Department formerly known as BEIS back in the months prior to the pandemic taking hold. Due to the timing and the relative rarity by then of me actually being properly embedded in a delivery team I remember the work really well and it was nice to talk through some of the challenges and insights as it all got rather lost as the final report landed just as the first lockdown did.

Inspired by the mighty Taylor Swift (sort of) I’ve also been working on this idea for an Eras Talk – what I learned in each of the 10 eras of my career – these are the ‘Eras’

– Hold the Frontpage for Polar bears

– WYSIWYG-ish and the rise and stall of the CMS

– Open source, open content and open minds

– Web 2.OMG we are going to change the world

– Camps of Govs, Bars and Words

– The Glory Years: Alphagov, GDS and ONS

– The Lost Years: Defra and mySociety

– Joining the Dark Side

– Burning out and visible mending

– Bard and village elder

25 years pretty well spent.

Though given I haven’t actually got any talks lined up and this is a bit too self-indulgent and generalist for the events I tend to speak at I suspect it will end up being a blogpost.

It is International Women’s Day apparently so here are 20 women I’m privileged to know and have either worked with or they have inspired my work. Without them my career much have been a much lesser experience one way or another;

Laura D, Sam, Sarah, Sara, Miranda, Linda, Ciara, Sally, Emily, Ann, Lana, Jess, Sophie, Kathy, Janet, Amanda, Rachel, Laura H, Jeni and Audree.

There are many, many more I could have linked to. Here in the UK, in the US, Canada and New Zealand. 

I’m lucky to have had the chance to know so many inspirational women.

I’m enjoying Shogun on Disney+. It looks amazing and is pretty violent amongst all the court intrigue. Pretty sure I watched the previous version back in the 1980s and read the book in my early teens. Compelling stuff.

New trainers – Fear of God Athletics: Los Angeles

Organised a trip to Nashville, TN for the week before Christmas. I like more country music than I care to admit but mainly it just looks like a fun city and as always with me it has a load of street art.

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