Software code

Hi, I’m Chris Hulley and I’ve worked as a senior software engineer on health-related benefits for just over 2 years. I was attracted by DWP’s ambition to create fast-paced agile delivery teams that use the latest tech across a number of platforms to deliver digital services across government.

I was recently asked what I enjoy most about my role here at DWP Digital, so, with that in mind, here are the top 3 reasons why I don’t hate Mondays!

  1. Digital projects don’t come bigger than this

And they don’t! Since I arrived, the pace of change has been extraordinary (and exciting) and that’s just within our own directorate. We’ve re-platformed most of our services using new cloud technology, completely rebuilt our CI pipeline, introduced new encryption standards for all data, enabled monitoring and alerting (that’s visible throughout the business) and built in resilience.

I was lucky to join at the inception of CHAP’s (Children, Health and Pensions) new Send your fit note service. Using a smartphone or tablet, users can quickly take a picture of their fit note, fill in some supplementary details and submit. They then get a text message confirmation when it arrives in our backend systems and that’s it, all done!

Building this solution came with some complex technical hurdles (optical character recognition & photo recognition to name two), which needed to be balanced with legitimate security concerns around receiving citizen-submitted photos into our backend systems.

This service has been rolled-out nationally and we’re receiving around 10,000 fit note submissions per week: reducing footfall in to jobcentres, minimising repeat visits to the GP for duplicate fit notes, and publishing open source utilities and applications that can be reused across other projects.

  1. There’s a huge emphasis on user security

If cyber security and data encryption is something that interests you, this is the ideal place to understand more about it – possibly on a much larger scale than you may have experienced before.

We’re big on security here at DWP (let’s face it, who isn’t?!), but there’s the added factor that we’re handling citizen data, so security has to be at the core of everything. It’s a unique challenge!

Personally, I find the whole area of security, encryption and protection fascinating, and I love the ways in which we’re using cutting-edge methods and tech to protect customer data.

  1. You can work in the way that works best for you

As an Engineering practice, we’re spread across a number of different specialisms and locations because we’re designing digital services to solve a myriad of user needs. Having this wealth of experience to draw on is invaluable and, given the opportunities for learning and personal development, we continue to be better informed to constantly refine our services across the entire practice.

Being empowered to choose and develop our own digital solutions is actively encouraged and being able to work up an idea from spike to feature is one of most satisfying aspects of our agile delivery teams.

If you’re thinking about joining us, my tip is to leave your assumptions about working for a government department at the door! In my experience, it’s not what people expect! It’s fun, fast-paced and you get to work with talented, technically-inspired people every day.

We’re currently recruiting for a variety of software engineering roles – as well as other roles across the organization. Check out our careers site for the latest vacancies. Or follow us on Twitter @DWPDigitalJobs.

Original source – DWP Digital

My team has a rich set of skills. We draw both from the established disciplines like business analysis and project management but also from the newer disciplines of user research, content strategy and service design. We have a design principle that commits us to being agile first (you can read more about our design principles here) and we are committed to working as collaboratively as possible.

One our ambitions – or perhaps more accurately at the moment part of my vision for the future – is that we develop our skills as a multidisciplinary team where the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. This post is about me unpacking what I mean a bit. As ever its intended as the start of a discussion not the last word.

I believe we are living in a complex world where fast moving problems and opportunities need us to work in teams in an agile and iterative way. We can’t afford not to have different perspectives and skills working closely – this is not a world where we can think of work as something that is done on a linear assembly line – we need to work closely together and draw all of the different skills and knowledge at our disposal. In many ways this post is the companion to the one I wrote about my anathema to dogma and the fact that we need to take the time to appreciate other people’s perspective.

I am also keen that we are wrestling with the question of what agile approaches look like at scale – and this is as much as putting agile thinking into more structured approaches as it is about looking at how agile approaches can meet the organisational needs which are served in big programme structures (more on this in this post of the magical thinking of big programmes). I think the answers come in stronger multidisciplinary practices that been together different ways of working.

But multidisciplinary work across discipline boundaries is hard. Working with capabilities which are adjacent to your own is not too difficult (sociologists and anthropologists at least know what they are arguing about) but working with capabilities with whom you have no common language or provenance is difficult. Your world views are different, your frames are different, your problem solving approaches are different and you almost certainly have a different view on planning and organisation – on approach – of any particular piece of work.

These differences at worst turn into a struggle for dominance of the work – a struggle for power – or at best turn into an endless discussion about where to get started and how to create a shared approach.

Action research (which is my research approach) deals with this by creating a conceptual model for the scope of the enquiry which is borne from a multidisciplinary literature review. An action research approach will first identify the question and then look to the relevant literature to develop that model. Its inherently iterative and pragmatic at the same time as being rigorous in terms of ensuring the integrity of the information gathering and sense making that flows from that conceptual model. An action researcher is always asking if their emergent world view and conceptual model fits the reality of what they are seeing.

It seems a bit excessive to create a conceptual model and exploring each others world EVERY time you take on a new project – but until you have a sense of the where other professional disciplines are coming from its important to take a moment and spend some time making sure that you understand where everyone is coming from so that you can apply the best version of the team to the work at hand.

Well intentioned and open minded people will find a way through this but I think there are ways in which we can make it easier:

  • Language: Being really aware of the fact that different disciplines use the same word in different ways and that la gauge is part of professional identity and needs to be contextualised and understood
  • No Dogma: Be open minded to learning about other approaches and be prepared to take this onboard and adapt your way of working
  • Literature review: Take the time to learn; either about the other disciplines in the team of about other attempts to solve similar problems
  • Storytelling: Don’t retreat into your own language; use storytelling to contextualise what you are trying to communicate so that you can show and not tell what you think needs doing
  • Respect: Assume other people know what they are talking about – have respect for other peoples views and their ways of doing things
  • Honesty: Say when you don’t agree and say when you don’t understand. Be honest when something is making you uncomfortable but try not to be defensive
  • Boundaries: Understand when you are straying into someone’s professional identity and not just talking about the margins of what they do

It is of course possible for a multidisciplinary team to get work done without thinking about all of this but in those cases it’s because the people get on – not because they are blending their practice. If you want a team to hum along professionally you need to put the work in.

I think its more than worth the effort – interesting problems need diverse teams.

Original source – Catherine Howe

Be Fierce learning from a top creative agency.jpg

There are over 25k creative agencies in the UK. Wow. So, when you get the chance to visit the number one independent agency in Birmingham, and number 66 independent agency in the UK, that’s a rich learning opportunity.

by Darren Caveney

Future Leaders is a brilliant initiative which I have supported since it was first created by LGcomms some eight of nine years ago. If you’re not aware of it it identifies talented communicators from across the public sector and offers them a tailored annual programme to support their ambitions to become the future heads and directors of communications.

When I was leading in-house comms teams I would send colleagues on to Future Leaders, and I have enjoyed mentoring a new Future Leader each year since. It’s a great idea and a real credit to people like Eleri Roberts and Kim Patterson who did so much work on it in the early days to bring the idea to life and to Emma Rodgers who now leads the programme.

Getting creative

You know when you have one of those great chats with industry pals after a couple of glasses of wine? Thought as much. The ones where you really get to chew the fat on the big issues and opportunities within our industry. Well I did this back in October after Comms Academy and a couple of us got on to the subject of working with creative agencies.

Now I have always said that you should find yourself a brilliant creative agency and treat them like gold. They can help you deliver outstanding work. They can provide the skills and experience which you won’t always have in your teams. And they can provide brilliant creative solutions when in-house you’re being pulled from pillar to post and can’t see the (comms) wood for the (demand) trees.

I was fortunate – many, many years ago – to find such an agency called One Black Bear and I worked with them on everything from an award-winning national NHS ‘Come Back to Nursing’ recruitment campaigns, through to big corporate identity relaunches. I learned so much from working with them and more recently agencies like Alive with Ideas – I always felt it added to my learning curve back in the day.

But one of my concerns is that with budget cuts going the way they have many in-house comms pros now miss out on the chance to work with a top agency and benefit from this learning experience.

Now of course there will be duff agencies out there – more on that later. Hence when you find a good one, look after them. It sounds cheesy but to me the creative agency was always an extension of the in-house comms team. I saw others treat agencies like any old supplier and someone to bark orders at. That won’t end well.

World’s collide

So, back to the point of this post – two world’s collided and I asked the guys at One Black Bear if we could bring the Future Leaders to Birmingham to hear about the inner workings of a creative agency. And what a fun, informative and fascinating day we had with them.

So much so I thought it would be worth sharing the (28) lessons we heard on the day. Here goes…

1.      Don’t believe everything that some agencies will tell you

2.      Watch out for the agencies who will wheel out the big guns for a pitch only to then give you a much more junior person as your contact once the pitch is won

3.      Budget creep – tie down all contracts via your legal team

4.      Sticking to your guns on ideas – so often great ideas get watered down internally. A good agency will fight to stop this from happening and you should too

5.      Things can move slowly in the public sector – make sure your agency is aware of this if they are new to the public sector

6.      Clear objectives lead to better work and outcomes – insist on getting business plans with business objectives from your internal services (this has been such a theme of recent conversations with teams I have worked with lately)

7.      Timescales – agencies get frustrated when they’re told they have to turn something around in 3 days only for the work to then sit on a desk for 3 weeks. Better work may have been possible if that time had been used differently

8.      VFM – cheap doesn’t always mean better

9.      Budget justification – 2 coffees of thinking time vs 30 coffees of thinking time is a good way to consider what your resources might generate for you in terms of end product   

10.  How much do we need to spend? Is a an oft recurring question. And we all know it depends on many, many factors.

11.  What does a good brief look like? Well for a start it must be crafted internally and with a clear link to a business plan and business objectives

12.  All objectives must be SMART

13.  What insight exists? Challenge and push back if insufficient intel exists to inform the work (if Brexit teaches us anything it’s that we must have facts, data, insight and evidence and NOT just opinion and beliefs)

14.  Key message nailed – if you’re struggling here then push it back to the internal service and ask them this: What would you put on a poster? Sometimes they will themselves come up with the answer

15.  You must have your metrics and intel in place as this will contribute to shaping the tactics

16.  ROI must be demonstrable to a Finance director who won’t be interested in video view stats

17.  Be clear and tell agency what the internal sign off process is

18.  Share background info on previous work, similar sector campaigns and competitor activity

19.  It’s good to feel uncomfortable when you see creative ideas pitched – it’s a sign that the work isn’t just a safe solution

20.  It’s easier to pull a creative agency back than push them forward

21.  In research testing, most people don’t really like ads or are bothered by them

22.  The UK ad industry is worth £25billion a year and in research only 4per cent of ads are actually liked

23.  Don’t pick the safe option – on the set of the now famous Marmite advert (you know the strapline) the client was physically sick with nerves

24.  A creative would always choose a shiny trophy for an award win over a £5k pay rise

25.  How to be creative on down days – ensure a genuinely great team culture exists with no forced or organised activities like paint balling or other team building antics. It’s all about the work. Love the work and truly care about it. Good things will follow.

26.  Being creative in a sterile environment and open plan office. You almost certainly won’t be. Get out of that space and to somewhere which suits you – a library or art gallery if you like quiet, a coffee shop or pub if you like noise. But either way make the time

27.  What happens when a good idea won’t come? Park it and stop thinking about it. Go for a walk, grab some fresh air, do something else. A good idea will often then land the following day, and will then seem really obvious – it’s important to sometimes take the pressure off yourself.

And finally…

28.  The One Black Bear ethos is: Be fierce (and never mediocre) Now there’s a value and a call to action we communicators can get behind

One Black Bear was set up by Jon Harrison and Rich Elwell 16 years ago.

If you would like to know more about them and talk to Jon and Rich about how and where they may be able to help you you’ll get them at

Special thanks to Jon and Kate Hartshorn for making time for the Future Leaders group. And for treating us to a rather nice lunch too.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd

image via mackenzie and john

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

Internet of Public Service jobs’ is a weekly list of vacancies related to product management, user experience, data and design in…you guessed it…the ‘internet of public service’ curated by @jukesie every Sunday.

Sign up for the weekly email at

[01] Content Designer
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Closing date: 18/02/2019

[02] Product Manager
£45,000 — £60,000

[03] Data Management Specialist
Ordnance Survey
Closing date: 28/01/2019

[04] Lead User Interaction Designer
UK Hydrographic Office
Closing date: 04/02/2019

[05] Digital Service Designer
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
£51,300 — £58,312
Closing date: 04/02/2019

[06] Product Manager
Government Shared Services (Cabinet Office)
Closing date: 11/02/2019

[07] Technical Delivery Manager
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Closing date: 08/02/2019

[08] Digital Product Manager
Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills
Closing date: 07/02/2019

[09] Head of Design — Digital and Innovation
Comic Relief
Closing date: 30/01/2019

[10] Delivery Manager
No salary stated
Closing date: 31/01/2019

[11] Agile Delivery Manager

[12] UX Design Leader
Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Public Service Internet jobs: 20/01/2019 was originally published in Product for the People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – Product for the People

UKGovCamp is back for its 11th year this weekend and we’re very pleased to be sponsoring this again. Taking place at the Ministry of Justice, UKGovCamp is perhaps the most well-known UK government unconference.

Bringing together people from across central and local government departments plus supporting companies and agencies, UKGovCamp is an unconference with no agenda! Each year, people come together to ask questions and open discussions the UKGovcamp Community. Take a look at what’s been discussed over the past govcamps here

We’re really looking forward to hearing new ideas and suggestions on how we can all help and support one another in helping shape public services, and getting involved with the sessions throughout the day.

Come and say hello!

If you’d like to learn a bit more about what we do here at dxw digital (or just want to grab some stickers ;)), come and say hi to the team on the stand, or join us for a drink either tonight from 6pm or tomorrow from 5pm at the Old Star

Get involved online using the hashtag  #ukgc19

The post UkGovCamp 2019 appeared first on dxw digital.

Original source – dxw digital

Portrait image of Greg Roberts

Greg Roberts

I’m Greg Roberts, and I’ve recently started with DWP Digital as an Agile Delivery Manager, in our Newcastle Hub.

Best solutions for vulnerable customers

I’m currently working on bereavement services, helping to improve how DWP interacts with those who have lost a loved one. With nearly 600,000 people dying each year across the UK, our work can make a significant impact. Our service users are at a particularly challenging time in their lives, so anything we can do help them and makes things easier for them is worthwhile.

Stepping into an already established team tends to bring challenges, and for me joining DWP Digital has been no different – the team has a mixture of people with significant experience of agile approaches, and those who are still finding their way. There is always the temptation to look back at your previous role, look at what was effective there, and enforce those ways of working. But my inner coach wants to help the team see problems, and trust them to find the best solutions for the user. The best ideas come from the team.

An agile approach

As with other large organisations, there are misconceptions around agile approaches. It’s clear though, that DWP has come a long way already. And it’s part of my role to champion agility within the organisation.

There is a balance to be struck between governance and flexibility – in my opinion, governance should set boundaries, not constrain us. I’m already working on a list of areas where I feel we can improve as I’m convinced we can make it easier for ourselves to deliver a better service. It’s exciting to feel that I can make an impact straight away and that the team is open to change and constant improvements.

I’m part of a multi-disciplinary team, with expertise from user researchers to interaction designers, software engineers to testers. I get a kick out of how quickly the team can get their heads around a problem, and iterate ideas. Getting from prototypes to frame potential solutions, and onto carrying out user research to check our assumptions, happens in a very short time.

We’re aiming to actively help everyone during the bereavement journey, for example by reducing the number of phone calls they have to make to government departments, not just DWP. There is also the opportunity to help those most in need by helping them to access any additional assistance they are entitled to.

Working on such a sensitive subject matter as bereavement means user research is vital, but also difficult. In reality, we’ll only start to learn more once we’ve got something out there, on a small scale, and can find out how well it’s working. I’m looking forward to being part of that journey.

We’re recruiting

If you’re interested in working with us, take a look at our agile delivery manager vacancies, we’re adding new roles all the time. You can also have a look at our LinkedIn page, find out more about what’s happening in DWP Digital by subscribing to this blog and following us on Twitter @DWPDigital and @DWPDigitalJobs.

Original source – DWP Digital

Today we were delighted to announce that our Future Digital Inclusion programme, funded by the Department for Education (DfE), has helped over 1 million people, since 2014, to gain the basic digital skills they need for life and work. This has been the result of a great partnership with DfE, whose staff genuinely understand the wider social impact of basic digital skills on the lives of socially excluded people, and with thousands of hyperlocal community partners across the Online Centres whose special abilities both engage and support people in the heart of their communities for whom digital blended with great human face-to-face support is the lifeline they’ve been looking for.

It’s been an incredible journey to get here and I’ve met so many amazing people along the way. Here a few of them:

  • Bertram Henry was a learner in Manchester. He suffered a breakdown and could barely bring himself to leave the house. Eventually, he felt up to visiting the Jobcentre and they recommended he go along to his local Online Centre, First Asian Support Trust (FAST). He completed lots of courses on Learn My Way, improving his knowledge and confidence. Now he’s been able to find a job as well. Bertram says: “I feel bright in the morning now, because I’ve got somewhere to go, and something constructive to do. I’m not down in the dumps anymore”

Hear Bertram’s story, and how happy he was to win one of our 2 Millionth Learner Awards: 

  • Edith Ball from Preston learned digital skills at her local Online Centre – The Intact Centre. She was cautious about getting online but now there’s no stopping her – she’s using Skype and emails to talk to family abroad, surfing the internet to find out all sorts of information, and much more. She’s delighted with her new skills and is much less lonely as a result. Edith says: “Before I came here, I just sat in the house on my own, but coming to the IT classes brings me out of the house and gives me something interesting to do. I’m never bored and I enjoy everything I do there. I do still get a bit nervous using the computers but I would recommend it to anyone. The whole world is there online – you’ve just got to have the courage to go in and look!”

Hear more about Edith’s journey from the lady herself in this video, released as part of Get Online Week: 

  • Rory Whittaker from Lincolnshire is a young contract farmer. He learned digital skills with his local Online Centre Lincs Training to diversify his business in new and exciting ways, meaning he can be profitable all year round. Rory says: “For all businesses in today’s current climate, evolution is vital, and even more so if you’re a rural business. You don’t want to get left behind. You need constant financial and time investment and you need to learn how to do things more easily. I think the best way to grow a business is to find a model that works and apply it to what you know. Having great people and great projects supporting you like Rich and the team from Lincs Training makes that journey even better.”

See more of Rory’s story in this video, released as part of the Get Online Week campaign: 

An incredible journey

It has been a real journey to get to 1 million, made possible by the hard work and dedication of the 5,000-strong Online Centres Network. 80% of the people they’ve supported face some form of social exclusion, including poverty, low skills or a disability.

The programme has helped people to achieve a range of positive outcomes, with 86% of learners progressing to further learning, 76% increasing their employability, 60% improving their health and wellbeing, and 84% able to use public services online.

Our recently released Economic impact of Digital Inclusion in the UK report found that the benefits of learning digital skills are endless. From time savings (undertaking financial and government transactions online could mean an estimated value of £1.1bn saved by 2028), NHS savings (the more people that can use the online world to help manage their health, the more savings can be made – estimated at £141 million by 2028) and transaction benefits (being able to shop online, taking advantage of discounts and more, could collectively save people across the UK an estimated £1.1 billion by 2028).

Digital skills are so important in many aspects of life and reaching 1 million learners through the Future Digital Inclusion programme is an incredible achievement. I am so proud. Thank you to the Good Things team, the Online Centres Network, but most of all, the learners for being so brave and having the confidence to take that first step into online life.

There is still more to be done though. 11.3 million UK adults still lack at least one basic digital skill and 4.3 million have no digital skills at all. We will continue supporting Online Centres to help learners to make the most of the online world, but this is something that needs collaboration and, of course, the ‘F’ word (funding).

It’s not just about supporting people to be more digitally able and it’s not just about the new skills they’ve learned – it is what people can do with these skills that matters, and how they can apply them to their lives – to be digitally active – to apply for work for example, or to email a family member who lives far away, or join an online forum to help them lose weight and reduce their risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

At Good Things, we want everyone to be digitally equal – so they can participate in the digital society like others can and do. If people aren’t digitally equal, they’re excluded from an increasingly digital society. We don’t want this to happen – and so we’re campaigning for a 100% digital nation. These million people we’re celebrating today brings us that one step closer.

Original source – Helen Milner

Extract from Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organizations and Society by Betty Sue Flowers, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Peter M. Senge

I take joy from moments when things connect to create clarity of a bigger and more complex picture.
The picture above which talks about the seeds being a gateway for trees to emerge helped me make connections to the learning I’ve been doing around vulnerability.
The connection I’ve made is that just like all new emerging life, it starts in a very vulnerable state – in this case a seed – it needs a safe space for that vulnerability to be secure, to allow the growth to emerge.  That safe space needs to allow for the ingredients of growth to be present so that the seed has the best chance of reaching it fullest potential or in this case a tree.
I’ve understood this using the assumption and logic shared in my previous post which are:

1) Adults continue to learn, develop and grow and can be supported to do this,

2) In order to learn, develop and grow it requires me to be vulnerable,

3) In order to be vulnerable it requires a safe and trusted space in which to be vulnerable.

We are all fragile like seeds and the best way for us to reach our best versions of ourselves we need to safety and nurturing environments like seeds require that allow them to develop and transform into something unrecognisable as a seed…

The question we need to ask ourselves how much of what I do is contributing to the lack of safety? What are we really afraid of?

Instead of trying to write something profound, i’m borrowing from other wise people.

Our Greatest Fear
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.

By Marianne Williamson

I’ve learnt that the biggest contributing factor to my development is my own view of what is possible and what the story is in my head…reframing and understanding the stories I make up has started to help transform the relationship I have with the way I want to be as a human and as a leader.
I feel i’m starting to sprout out of the comfort of the seed environment and that will require me to let go of those things that held me there.  I now need to sit back and observe the world for what it is and notice what is happening, be more present and simply allow myself to be.  Its not easy, in fact it is truly the hardest thing I’ve ever done so far, but the joy and love i feel makes it worthwhile.
I’ve included a video of Dr Brene Brown who through her books and videos has helped guide me into the space of vulnerability.

Original source – Carl’s Notepad

We’re really excited to share that the Department for Education (DfE) and dxw digital team officially met all eighteen points in our beta service assessment for our work on the Teaching Vacancies service. In its report, the assessment panel said: “The team should be congratulated for the significant progress they’ve made.” 

We’ve been working with DfE since 2017 through an alpha and now beta phase as part of delivering on a manifesto commitment to “[create] a single jobs portal for schools to advertise vacancies in order to reduce costs and help them find the best teachers“.

Schools spend an estimated £75 million annually on advertising recruitment vacancies. Designing, building, and delivering the Teaching Vacancies service has been a steady effort in helping schools shift the costs of online job advertisements to enable them to be able to have more control over their recruitment budgets and to make it easier for job seekers to find teaching jobs.

Take a look at DfE’s end of year round-up for more details of our progress throughout 2018.

Understanding user needs

Having met all of the eighteen points in the beta service assessment also means that we’ve designed and built a service that meets high-quality standards of GOV.UK. That means building a service that is based on understanding user needs, addressing security and privacy issues, using open standards, and puts in place performance indicators that will help the team improve and iterate upon it as more users engage with the service.

Posting once and being found in many places

One of the key components we designed into the service was ensuring all listings created in Teaching Vacancies generated structured job listing data in line with the JobPosting Standard. Structured job listings data allows each listing to be picked up by other job listing publishers and allows more candidates to reach the largest possible audience even if they’re not directly using Teaching Vacancies. Creating listings using the JobPosting Standard allows the vacancy information that school hiring staff post on the service to be found on other services such as Google Jobs and Indeed search results as well as to Teaching Vacancies.

Building a public service that helps users connect to each other

Teaching Vacancies is different from conventional digital public services because its primary function is to enable two different user groups, school hiring staff and job seekers, to connect to each other. In contrast, a service like Hackney Council’s Report a repair for council tenants is about citizens connecting to their local council. The difference is that only Hackney Council can respond to a repair, whereas the Teaching Vacancies service plays more of a bridging role between schools posting teaching roles online and teachers searching online for new opportunities.

Being a good bridge means focusing on doing in-depth user research with our primary user groups. Our research activities included:

  • Conducting exploratory research to identify the lifecycle of posting a job online and search for a job online
  • Prototyping and usability testing several iterations of the service with over 250 research participants across different devices, including desktop and mobile
  • Putting the service through a digital accessibility audit
  • Conducting assisted digital support research and building out the support model
  • Running participant workshops where school hiring staff and users are the main designers

Teaching Vacancies roll-out plan

The work doesn’t stop at passing the beta assessment, currently over 2500 schools have registered to use the service with more being added on a regular basis as they are taken through the registration process on-boarded by DfE’s support team, whose aim is to have invited all schools across England to sign up by the end of January.

Here is DfE’s provisional roadmap for when the service will be available in your area. If you are:

  • school hiring staff: you can find out when your headteacher will be invited to start listing vacancies on the new site
  • a job seeker: you can find out when teaching roles will be listed in areas where you want to find jobs

If you’d like to learn more, you can search the interactive map and full information about the next stages can be found on DfE Digital’s latest blog post.


The post Teaching Vacancies Service – our work with the Department for Education appeared first on dxw digital.

Provisional dates Regions included Status of roll-out
From May 2018 Test phase – participating schools in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and North East England Complete
From July 2018 Remaining schools in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and North East England All schools invited
From August 2018 Schools from:

(3a) RSC region South Central England & North West London

(3b) RSC region East of England & North East London

(3c) RSC region North England

3a (all schools invited)

3b (all schools invited)

3c (all schools invited)

From November/ December 2018 Schools from:

(4a) RSC region South East England & South London (4b) RSC region East Midlands & Humber

(4c) RSC region Lancashire & West Yorkshire

From January/February 2019 Schools from RSC regions West Midlands and

South West England

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Original source – dxw digital

“Just wow”: your TICTeC submissions are amazing

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Friday was the final date for submitting a paper or workshop submission to TICTeC, our conference on the impacts of civic technology — and it’s official: you’ve blown us away.

In this, our fifth year, we’ve received so many high-quality submissions that we’re already wondering if there’s any way to cram more sessions into the agenda. If not, we’re well aware that we’ll be turning down some presentations that, in previous years, would easily have made the grade.

Right now, we’re assessing all the proposals and finding the emerging themes that will allow us to shape the agenda. With over 50 more submissions than last year, Head of Research Rebecca says, “I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s going to be a massive struggle to decide what goes into the programme” — so please bear with us if there’s a slight delay in notifying you of our decisions.

We want to thank everyone who’s taken the time to submit a proposal, especially given the high quality that runs right through them this year. We’re taking this as a sign of TICTeC’s growing recognition as the must-attend conference for all involved in our field… and we’re very grateful for all those who come together each year and help to make it just that.

Original source – mySociety