For many organisations being active on social media is a comms and engagement activity which has grown organically and is part of the daily to-do rather than something which gets a lot of strategic attention. And if your efforts are paying off, that’s great – but sometimes you need to stop and look around to make sure your effort is in the right place, in the right way and is helping you reach your outcomes.

By giving 30 minutes to look at your social media you can create a basic audit and understand what actions you need to take in just seven sessions. This post gives you an overview of the steps and what you’ll need to capture in each one but if folk are interested I’ll blog each step in more detail with examples of the outputs – leave me a comment below or catch me on Twitter to let me know if this would be useful to you.

Your seven step social media audit

Session 1 – Know your objectives

The first 30 minutes you’re going to spend on this audit aren’t about social media at all. They’re about your organisational objectives, and your comms objectives. Hopefully these are clear and available to you (great! You might not need the full 30 minutes) but in some organisations you’ll find the strategic direction is less visible, or in some cases is very changeable or vague.

Whether you are clear or not it’s important to spend some time capturing this information or having conversations with others in your organisation about it as it sets the scene for everything you’re going to look for in this audit (it’s your WHY) and what you put in your plan at the end. Set out what you’re aiming for, why, and how you’re going to know you’ve achieved it and keep this in mind throughout the next steps.

Session 2 – Map Your Social Media

In this 30 minute social media audit session you should create a spreadsheet detailing the social media profiles for your organisation. Make sure you look beyond the core corporate accounts on the main networks and search out any profiles run directly by departments or which have been abandoned over time / because a project ended.

It’s also worth noting any individual accounts which are speaking on behalf of your organisation (your CEO’s Twitter account for example) and any political accounts you may not have your hand on but which relate to your organisation.

Make sure you capture the profile name, the platform (eg Facebook), the URL, and the top-line stats (followers, likes) as well as who is running it (if you know) and how often it is being posted to. You may want to look at whether it uses your correct branding and has a completed profile information too.

Not finished and the 30 minutes is up? Don’t worry – as long as you’ve got the key accounts you’re spending the majority of your time managing you’re good to go. If you want an exhaustive list and you’re not quite sure you’re there then add in another 30-minute session to carry on.

Session 3 – Map the Environment

In this 30 minute social media audit session you should expand your search to capture useful social media profiles in your area. This could be geographic, or communities of interest but they’re places where people you may want to reach are already hanging out.

Make sure you don’t just look for Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages but also search for Facebook Groups, Mumsnet chats, YouTube vids or Reddit threads – it all depends on what is relevant to you. For larger organisations you may want to capture some top level profiles and then think about doing a deeper dive later on to look for relevant conversations to specific services (so, you might want to capture the ‘Spotted Townsville’ Facebook Group in this audit, but a deeper dive for Libraries might lead you to capture ‘Townsville Book Swap’. You’ll also want to take a look at LinkedIn Groups, hashtags across Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and events like Twitter Chats.

Just like with the look at your own profiles make sure keep a spreadsheet (I suggest a new tab in the one you’ve already started) to capture profile name, platform, URL, top line stats, and any info on who is running the account.

In 30 minutes you’re unlikely to map everything in your area but you should get a good start and enough of a feel of what’s around you to carry on with the audit. If you want to create a more exhaustive list of competitors, allies and profiles of relevance then add in another block of 30 minutes to carry on with the work.

Session 4 – Understand Your Audience

This 30 minute social media audit session is about understanding your audience and putting this in the context of social network demographics. You’ll probably already have an idea about who your customer / citizen is (and no, it isn’t ‘everyone’) but for larger organisations like a council you may want to create a couple of different personas linked to different areas of service, or for an eCommerce business different personas for different product types.

This is also where we start to delve into the data around the profiles you’re running and have captured in session two. At this stage it’s good to capture anything you know about your audience – age, gender, location, eduction level, affluence, digital usage, accessibility needs and also anything you might know about their mindset around your service or product.

The example I always used in local government for this was the difference in mindset between someone thinking about adoption or fostering, and someone looking for car park charges at the country park.

In the first case – adoption and fostering – the person may be feeling nervous, may have a lot of questions, may not be ready to talk to anyone and may have a lot of emotions about what has led them toward adoption and fostering. The are likely to be incredibly focused on the task and not open to ‘cross-selling’ or interested in general organisational news.

In the second – country park – the person is likely to be more relaxed (although also likely distracted if they have kids or an excited dog wanting to get out in that country park around them) and getting them the key information fast means they may be more open to other information, for example an event that’s coming up at the country park for families, info about a hashtag to use on Insta to share pics of your walk.

In both cases it’s important to think about the typical attributes of these people – not just their demographic information, but their emotions at the time you’ll cross their path on social media, and their personality type. Not everyone in an age bracket is the same – so try and refine to know who you’re talking with online.

Session 5 – Understand who is where online

Once you’ve got this – match it with the overall demographics for each social media platform. There’s a good resource here where you can get the headline stats.

To refine this take a look at the stats for any of the profiles you have running. For a Facebook Page, for example, you’ll find information on the average age of people who’ve Liked or interacted with your posts, as well as gender, location and deeper information about what time of day you get the best results. Don’t just look at social media profiles but look at any stats you can get along these lines for your website, service users, customers etc.

There is a huge amount of data out there and it’s hard not to get sucked down into the swamp and lose sight of what is useful and what is just interesting. To help with this keep in mind your objectives from session one, but also the customer personas from session four. Where we want to be is with a clear picture of who you’re talking to and where you should be talking to them online.

Going back to the adoption and fostering example – if you know most adoption enquiries comes from women, aged 28-40, single, career-minded, home-owners (and I’m making up this example – it might not be accurate at all!) and you also know that the majority of Facebook users are women aged 30-55 you can see there is a cross-over here and an opportunity to reach the right people. It’s less likely you’ll reach your target audience through Snapchat, in this example, where the audience is much younger.

Build the right picture of people in your audience, and then match to the most relevant places online.

Session 6 – Understand Your Activity and Performance

The previous two steps have hopefully shown you’re already on the right platforms for your audience but whether you need to adjust course or not it’s time to look at how content is performing for you.

You’ll be going back into the data swamp for this session and looking at your performance on your existing profiles. Each platform gives a slightly different set of stats but there is a key measurement you’ll want to look for on each: engagement rate.

By all means capture the number of followers / Likes you have, and the number of posts you’ve made, but to really start to understand how you’re doing you need to look at this engagement rate figure. This shows you out of your total followers how many are interacting with what you do.

It’s useful here to get some context too – engagement rates are falling sharply across all social media so you’ll need to look at how you compare. This report gives you up to date information for 2019 on engagement rates across key platforms by industry.

Session 7 – Create an Audit Report and Plan

In this final 30 minute session you want to bring together everything you’ve learned and turn that data into actionable insight. Open up a Doc and create headings from the sessions you’ve undertaken and capture the headline results beneath each one. If you’ve got longer to spend you can think about how to visualise some of these results but for now, just making sense of the data is the key thing.

If you can see you’re on the wrong platforms for the people you’re trying to reach, you need to consider where you would be better placed. If you can see you’re on the right platform but you’re not reaching or successfully engaging with people, you need to consider whether your content is right or what you could do differently. If you can see you’re in the right place and what you do is getting results but you aren’t consistent so you’re treading water rather than building, you need to consider priorities and resourcing.

Doing an fast audit allows you to quickly understand whether what you’re putting your effort into now is paying off with your audience, and also look for ways to optimise what you do as well as understanding why.

If you’ve got more time to spend on auditing you can get deeper into the mapping by looking at who your micro influencers are, exploring paid social media (advertising), and looking at customer journeys onward from social media through your website or app. But if you only have a limited amount of time and you’re worried you have too many social accounts or you aren’t getting the most from the effort you put into them this quick audit will give you an indication of where to focus for best results.

Need a hand?

If you need a hand with a social media audit, strategy or with anything else content or communications do get in touch to see how I can support you. Want to see who I’ve worked with recently? You can find them here

Original source – Sarah Lay

Mark and Zubair chatting at a desk

Mark and Zubair

Zubair: the opportunity to lead a project for DWP Digital

I joined DWP on an 8-week work placement after meeting Nagesh Reddy, DWP Programme Director, Finance Transformation programme at one of the many business analysis workshops, conferences and events I like to attend – I really love business analysis!

Nagesh was impressed by my passion and enthusiasm for working in this field and was keen to support me on my journey into work. He helped me to find out more about the role and hopefully helped me on my way to learning new business analysis tools and techniques and to help me on my journey to become a business analyst. Working with the Capability and Talent team within DWP Digital, who helped to make this happen, he introduced me to Jamie Toyne, Head of Business Analysis and Marie Franklin, a business manager and practice support for Product Design. They worked together to devise a mini project for me to work on which would support their work and help to develop my skills under the mentorship of Mark Young.

Working as a business analyst with my mentor, the recruitment team and the learning and development team, I analysed 2 staff systems and their processes to offer solutions which could increase efficiency, remove any potential business or reputational implications and improve the working lives of DWP Digital colleagues.

I thrived in the positive working environment of DWP Digital and developed many new skills, a major one being agile working which was eye opening and kept me on my toes. The interactive fast paced environment brought a dynamic approach to everyday tasks. No 2 days were the same and every day a new skill was learned and my network of colleagues strengthened.

The feeling that no person was left to stand alone resonated. No day was boring because every day was different and this is what I loved about my time there. I’m really grateful to Nagesh for making this opportunity happen and to Mark for being my mentor and managing me through the project.

Mark: providing opportunities to the next generation of analysts

When the DWP business analysis leadership team approached me and asked if I’d mentor Zubair, I immediately agreed as I have a real passion and enthusiasm for business analysis and think it’s really important to provide opportunities to people to gain experience.

I provided advice and coaching to ensure Zubair was in a position to set his own career goals and forge a path into business analysis. I also introduced Zubair to some learning and development such as the IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis and BCS Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis and helped him to build his networks in the analyst community so he can pragmatically continue his journey beyond his 8 week experience.

I shared a variety of business analysis techniques with Zubair, including: problem definition, business process mapping, business activity modelling, SWOT analysis, CATWOE, eliciting and defining requirements, stakeholder workshops to understand ‘As Is’ and ‘To Be’ process, GAP Analysis, Three Amigos, use cases, writing user stories using Gherkin, Scenarios, MoSCoW, personas and business cases.

Taking part in this experience has taught me that learning is a lifelong journey. As Joseph Joubert said, “To teach is to learn twice”.

I’m grateful to the people who took time in my early career to support me and to help me navigate my way into a profession I love. So I feel very lucky to be able to pay this forward and support the next generation of analysts in finding their own path into the profession.

I wish Zubair every success in his journey to become a business analyst and look forward to being involved with more schemes like this in the future.

We’re hiring

Be part of the one of the largest and most exciting digital transformations in the world. Apply now by visiting our careers website.



Original source – DWP Digital

Wellbeing at work (when your workplace is your home) and the experience of music listening…

#weeknotes S06 EP13 – week ending 19 May 2019

Working on

This week has been a sort out week – I’ve finally moved back into my home office (it’s been a stock room for the label for quite some time) and having a dedicated workspace rather than perching on the sofa, sitting at the kitchen table (or any time the sun is out) laying in the garden has made a huge and positive difference. While freelancing gives me the work / life balance I’ve longed for (I LOVE doing the school run and checking on my veggie patch while the kettle boils between jobs) it can make it easy to blue the line between what is a home and what is an office. Sorting out my workspace has been overdue and I’m glad I braved the spiders, the records, and the broken blind to get myself sorted.

As it was Mental Health Awareness Week there were a couple of other things I pulled myself up on and finally actioned: getting some houseplants (and trying seriously to keep them alive), and giving myself time to do things for my wellbeing. This week that was time to read (and sitting under our apple tree reading a big thick hardback was definitely good for my soul), but I’m intending to pick up the exercise again. After injury and illness I’ve been off my game but I want to be back up and running again – who else has re-started Couch to 5k multiple times?

Music wise this week has been about production and campaign for the new LIINES single. This is their first new music since last year’s debut album Stop-Start and comes off the back of their 30 plus date tour with Sleaford Mods, and ahead of their headline shows in London, Nottingham and Manchester. Securing the 6Music premiere for it was a pleasure and I’m hyped to hear it get more airplay and coverage as we head into release week.

I’ve also been working on pre-production details for a new format for a single from Mark Morriss. I can’t say too much about this (we’ll announce soon) but I’m so pleased we’ve found a way to create a unique piece through an independent business which will provide a really lovely product experience for fans. I’m really keen to explore different ways to get music out – particularly where a smaller run is right. Vinyl is amazing, CDs are still popular and digital is certainly convenient – but both artists and fans deserve imagination and brilliant experiences around the magic of the music they create and choose. If anyone wants to have conversations with me about music products and listener experiences please let me know – coffee is on me.


Fiction wise I’ve borrowed Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust from my eldest child and am slowly getting back into the Dark Materials universe – just in time for the BBC adaptation.

I’ve not managed to find a consistent way to log what I’ve been reading online yet – maybe returning to an RSS reader is the way. Much of my reading online at the moment is around Facebook Ads to make sure the latest info is going into the Vital Facebook Skills workshops I’m running with Dan Slee next month – get the details and snap up one of the last few places here.

Listening to

I’ve been listening to the Other Labels podcast this week and loving hearing from other label managers and founders about the reality of running an indie record label. There’s a lot of resonance with Reckless Yes but I’m also hearing lots of experience outside of our own. If you’re looking to dive in I recommend the Team Love episode. I was lucky enough to deliver a campaign on the labels behalf a few years ago in the UK and love their ethos and their thinking on the how and why of modern labels.

What’s next?

Second week of campaign for LIINES new single and we’ll be following up on the 6Music premiere with lots of coverage elsewhere. This is part of my work as Head of Creative at Reckless Yes but if you’re a musician or band in need of some help you can find me over at Noble and Wild – I’d love to chat with you.

And of course it is election week next week too. I’ll be using my vote and hoping for the best from a personal perspective, while looking over how informing and reporting goes from a professional one.

Original source – Sarah Lay

3 things I learned v04.jpg

On my consultancy and training travels around the UK I get to learn so much from other people. Plus, there are comms lessons all around us if we look closely enough. And so, I thought I would begin sharing these lessons more regularly via the somewhat obvious blog post title of ’Things I learned this week’ 😊

I hope you enjoy volume 04

by Darren Caveney

1. The Power of Puerility


My good pals at top Birmingham agency, One Black Bear, organised an evening with advertising great, Mark Denton.


Mark has one hell of a back catalogue and it’s fair to say he’s a creative genius. He’s also a brilliant storyteller so if you get a chance to see his ‘Power of Puerility’ talk get yourself there.


There’s a book to follow soon too ( a whopping 450 pages, I’m told) so I’ll be grabbing one of those.


He are just a couple of gems which really struck a chord during Mark’s hour-plus talk…


Pedal harder than everyone else


If the headline is rubbish make the full stop beautiful


Don’t settle for ‘No‘ – just keep on going back with better and better


Defend the fun, hold on to the silliness


Great creativity isn’t about data and insight – it’s about having a bloody good idea

and making it happen. The power of puerility.


And my favourite… (which could be a mantra for life itself)


If the client says no and nails up the front door find a way of nipping around the back

and kicking the door in.


My learning?

Every so often the ‘Communications: Art or science?’ debate gets discussed within our industry. I have always said that it’s both, and that comms without the art very often lack the creative edge, the heart, the passion, that something just a little bit different which can stand out in a cluttered market.

Mark is very much an artist. But he’s turned it into a science.

Big thanks to him and One Black Bear for a great experience.


2. The Comms Unplugged Taster

The excellent Saranne Postans, of Fresh Air Fridays, and I ran the first ever Comms Unplugged Midlands Taster event at Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park.

The taster event aimed to give a mini slice of the Comms Unplugged experience – time to think and talk away from screens, meetings and other online distractions. We had a full house and even the Brum rain did the decent thing and disappeared as soon as park walk began.

I know first hand how difficult it can be colleagues to get time away from the office. But with mental ill health on a sharp increase find it we must.

I knew some of the attendees but many were new faces and it’s amazing how much ground you can cover when we’re not ploughing through Power Point slides, live tweeting or checking emails instead of chatting.

A big thank you to everyone who came. It felt like we could have extended it to a full day session and there was a real appetite for more time to connect (watch this space)

My learning?

We had some lovely feedback from attendees but I’ll share this one with you:

“From here on I’m going to take more time to do the things I enjoy with those I love. Thanks to Comms Unplugged for creating the environment for much-needed reflection.”

Enough said.


3. My weekly rant: Boy, there’s some daft, strange and bad behaviour out there

It’s been a busy old week and I’ve chatted to literally dozens of people in Manchester, Birmingham and Norwich.

Now I like a little moan as much as the next man or woman but some of the things I’ve heard this week – some serious, some just plain daft, are enough to make anyone moan.

Here’s just a small sample…

§  Two brilliant comms pros I know well have been made redundant this week without a hint of notice. They will both be snapped up quickly but it’s a reminder that we are all expendable.

§  The organisation who won’t trust a comms pro to work from home every now and again to get away from office distractions.

§  The organisations adding to the mental health epidemic spreading across our industry by heaping on the pressure instead of protecting and supporting their staff

§  The people who behave badly on social media and comms pros suck it up

§  The people who just behave badly

§  And the daft – The organisation who allow dark denim in the workplace but not  lighter shades (I know, I was stumped too)

My learning?

There’s a lot to moan about some weeks. But do you know what was most amazing? Not one of the people who shared this stuff with me moaned. They were taking everything in their stride and moving forward positively.

Bravo, People of Comms.

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


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image via U.S. National Archives

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

I’ve been away this week – walking on the Isle of Wight which has been lovely. This post is a wrap up of what I’ve been working on in my head while I was yomping along by the sea.

Nearly 6 months into the year I wanted to check in with the three areas of enquiry I set out on at the start of the year. In short:

  • Democratic innovation; My work in RBKC has kept this at the front of my mind as has my work with Demsoc and the Centre for Public Scrutiny
  • Networked social movements: Less progress and this is where I need to focus next
  • Technology and change: Much more progress which is good as this is the day job!

But this post is about the liminal spaces and ideas which sit between three three domains.

My first point of connection is in the changes that we see to how we get stuff done. In all three realms we see a shift to more design based thinking and iterative practice against a backdrop of a world of work that is moving quickly away from the industrial construct of the human as a cog in a machine to more systems and networked based models. Linked to this – and more specifically – I’ve been thinking a lot about multidisciplinary practice; partly from a personal perspective but also partly because we are talking a lot about ‘t shaped’ practitioners at work. I have a slight disquiet that helping people be ‘t shaped’ isn’t enough without a strong grounding in how to work in multidisciplinary teams. The intent with the t shaped model is that people are able to collaborate across disciplines. My concern is that is gives different ‘tribes’ the model they need to show that they can cover the territory or expertise that is held more deeply in other teams. This is part of the 9 tribes of digital hobby project as well as being one of the connecting ideas for this year. I’m looking for other people who are doing work on this and particularly on the cultural aspects – can you contact me if you have any ideas on this?

The second point of connection is around decision making and accountability; and by implication trust and transparency. I want to look at work being done to look at innovation around democratic decision making and accountability and explore opportunities for alignment with some of challenges faced by digital government practitioners which are wrestling with questions of agile practices at scale. I believe that while digital democracy is often discussed, the action of digital service development on democratically delivered services is less well understood. By better understanding how we make decisions I believe we can strengthen and accelerate work in both realms.

My third connection is made by what is emerging as my theory of change which centres on the need to create systems which are able to devolve power and action to the people closest to the problem but still be able to manage the system scale problems and the trade offs between the more specific problem holders. In short; evolution of change is too slow, revolution is to be avoided and so effective devolution is the best way to acknowledge the needs of the system as well as the needs of the humans which live within it.

It’s less a point of connection and more a powerful point of difference but I am still amazed by the power of the singular mission of an organisation like CRUK compared to the wicked issues faced by local and other parts of government. Beating Cancer is not easy – but it is a singular good compared to the competing goods that colleagues looking to make change happen in government organisations wrestle with. It gives us a clarity of mission which is remarkable.

Creating clarity of mission connections some of my reading this year which has been about reframing the purpose of economics – and particularly the work of Kate Raworth + Marianna Mazzucato on reframing economics as this is such a foundational discipline and one I don’t know much about. The reframing I think I am moving towards in my own thinking is how to reframe the challenge of digital and democracy to be more about how we work as opposed to what we produce. This works against the digital mantra of ‘show don’t tell’ but so many of the ways of working in a digital team resonate with the changes we need to make in the way we work in other realms – if we can close the accountability gap caused by many teams working in parallel with high levels of autonomy and without the organising force of a shared mission.

So here is a half way through the year conclusion: Transformation – in any realm – has to mean power, agency and devolution of tools to people closer to the problem. It needs local control with system shaping and accountability. This only works if we also have people looking after the health of the system and this is where we have the most gaps in terms of rebuilding trust and accountability as new ways of working have made more ingress in smaller spaces.

Next up is figuring out how to test this…..

Original source – Catherine Howe

These are notes from Commscamp 2018, held in Birmingham 12th July 2018.

Session: Public Health Campaigns

The general view is that public health messages often fall flat.  One public health team not keen on meeting the public, instead they do a leaflet.   Often the message comes better from the GP, not the council.  At one council they have data which says the messages don’t work on our channels.. so we stop doing it.

It is also often “messaging for morons” – often patronising.

How do we have a different conversation with the public?  One always checks messages with real people first.

Health and Wellbeing boards should have their local priorities.  One described putting people in a room to discuss a topic, eg neglect.

Session: Stress and Mental Health

Problem for blue light comms in terms of stress and impact.

The problem of always-on digital comms and the impact of being trolled.

For some public services who receive many online complaints or criticism (for example the courts) means that staff deal with large levels of negativity. One charity offered subscriptions to headspace app and other ways to look after your head.

Find the people at work you can trust and talk to.

Keep the work limits clear, when you stop work stop monitoring social media.

Employers have legal obligations for your health and safety – if you’re expected to work 24/7 or something big happens like the Manchester bomb, the employer is obliged to assess risk and make sure you’re alright.

TRIM Trauma risk incident management happens after major incidents in the blue light services, but comms people don’t always have that option.  Some roles. like family liaison officers, have to have it but comms teams are only just starting to use it.

“I sobbed all the way the home after a suicide – but hadn’t been troubled by anything else in 3 years”

Session: Co-production and engagement

One way to think about this is councils getting out of the way, help support people create spaces where they can connect.

Community reporters collect information and report it back to services. Community information champions. Training on how to offer information.

Some of the best co-production work happens with vulnerable people and personalising what they receive, thinking about the individual. The way to measure the success is through whether the individual feels they have been listened to.

Get real people in and expose them to the management team,  it’s rare

Software building is iterative, not try and fix the services, keep asking, keep changing, keep iterating.

Improve the system, don’t create a fix.








Original source – Podnosh


Sophie presenting at the Digital Urgent & Emergency Care conference. Repeat after me to the tune of Kraftwerk’s ‘Trans Europe Express’: “human. centred. design.”

1. What inspired me this week?

  • The GDS Sprint Leeds event: So many of my favourite people were there! There were service jammers, GDS people, DWP people, Leeds City Council people, NHS people. I’ve known many of them for years, but in separate bubbles. Seeing Eve Roodhouse and Lisa Jeffery co-hosting the event at the Queen’s Hotel brought home to me how those worlds are finally converging as part of a shared agenda to make public services better. Among the participants were some of our NHS Digital graduates, who I firmly believe will carry this agenda even further forward to places we can’t yet imagine.
  • The Digital Urgent & Emergency Care conference: Sophie and Dom presenting the service design work they’re leading together as a blended NHS Digital and Futuregov team. The whole conference had a stong design theme running through it, including me being on a panel skillfully produced and chaired by Emma Mulqueeny. Also at the event, we heard from Simon Eccles, Sam Shah, Terence Eden and Hadley Beeman. I was videoed talking about my impressions of the event…

And there’s more…

  • Practice leads meeting for the Digital Services Delivery profession. Everyone had reasons to be cheerful, and things we needed to work through a time of organisational change. I couldn’t be profession lead without this crew.
  • Chats with Wendy and Helen, who both helped me channel some of my frustration about slow progress and obstacles into constructive next steps and proposals. They’re both really busy people and I appreciate them taking the time.

2. What connections did I make?

  • GDS Director Kevin Cunnington came in to meet with people from a couple of our NHS Digital teams. He got a demo of the Manage your referral service, and toured the Digital Delivery Centre, which runs and continuously improves some vital national NHS live services. I’m proud to have profession members working in both areas.
  • I met some more people in the Building a Digital Ready Workforce team, who asked me some challenging (in a good way!) questions. We talked about my own family’s good and not-so-good experiences of care, and also how we might help each other, given our complementary networks in the public sector digital capability world.
  • After a meeting earlier in the week, I’ve been thinking about how we often look at the tangible output of our work – websites, standards, guidance, and so on – and overlook the value in the knowledge, skills, confidence, and relationships gained through the process of making those things together with our colleagues and users.

3. What capabilities did I build?

  • Pleased to see a couple of people from our Leading in NHS Digital Leadership programme getting started on projects that will benefit my profession, and allow them to develop their own skills.
  • I recommended GDS Academy courses to a couple of senior colleagues, in particular Hands on Agile for Leaders which I used to facilitate when I worked in the Academy.

4. What goals were met?

  • Made progress getting a small team together for a proposal I need to write, but still waiting for some important data before I can get on with it.

5. What goals were set?

  • After my chat with Wendy, I had another proposal to work up. I put together a first draft, with a little help from my team.
  • I had a performance review chat with Ian, my line manager. We talked about the past year, and also about my objectives for the next few months. I had proposed some objectives but have tweaked them based on his helpful input.

6. What do I need to take care of?

  • In my performance review, I talked about the trust I place in others. I trust my executive leaders to decide when they need me in the room. And I trust my team leads, who are better than me at many of the things they do. This is the only way I know of working as a senior leader, short of having to be everywhere all the time. I can’t really compute how people who don’t do these things get by without burning out.
  • I’ve been thinking about the balance of my time spent inside and outside the organisation. I need to work in the open to advance the cause of user-centred design across our complex health and care system. I also need to be present for my team and NHS Digital’s own leaders. It’s not an either/or: everything I do in the system also makes me more effective as an operator inside my own organisation. As a learner, I frequently share work in progress, and things that are puzzling me, with my network inside and outside the organisation. This is not so much external influencing as using people’s collective brilliance help to shape my own thinking and challenge myself. It plays directly back into the work I do with our own teams. But I need to be mindful of how this may come across to others who have not had the privilege of being able to work so openly for so long.

And that’s a 10 week streak of public weeknotes! I’m probably going to take a couple of weeks off public weeknotes as I pause to reflect on the past 6 months, approaching my 2-year anniversary at NHS Digital. A lot has happened since I wrote my 18 month reflections.



Original source – Matt Edgar writes here

Join us for our series of summer workshops at our London office in Shoreditch’s Hoxton Square. These will take place in the afternoons from 1-4pm. Each workshop focuses on one of the key skills or capabilities that form an important part of the mix in making transformation a reality in organisations across the public sector.

We’ve drawn on our latest experience and learning from working with local and central government, housing and health. We want to share some of the practical skills, approaches and thinking that we’re using to address the issues we regularly experience in our work with public sector teams. You’ll hear from some of our leading experts who have helped to deliver better public services over the past 10 years.

The workshops

Kicking off the summer series and in conjunction with London Tech Week, will be our cyber security workshop in which Harry Metcalfe, Founder of dxw digital and CEO of dxw cyber will be covering the basic processes and principles for establishing an effective security culture. 

Grab your early bird tickets for £45 plus VAT before 10th June!

June 13th: How to start being more secure (free as part of London Tech Week)

Harry Metcalfe, dxw digital Founder and CEO dxw cyber

June 20th: Making user research count

Hilary Chan and Vita Mangan, Senior User Researchers

June 25th: What makes a good roadmap?

Dave Mann, dxw digital Managing Director

July 4th: Incident response: failure happens, how you deal with it is important

Bob Walker, Senior Operations Engineer

July 11th: The new Government Service Standard and Local Digital Declaration: adopting design standards to improve the customer experience

Coca Rivas Director of Strategy and Service Design, Alex Yedigaroff Transformation Manager

July 18th: Prototyping for non-designers

Gaz Aston, Lead Designer

Why we’re doing this

Our aim is always to transfer skills and help build the capability of the teams we work with. We want organisations to be able to keep improving their services, and to make the efficiency savings that mean resources can be invested elsewhere in increasingly challenging circumstances. We’ve deliberately kept the costs of our workshops down to make sure they are accessible to as many people as possible.

Looking forward to seeing you there. Follow @dxw to keep up-to-date with our latest news.

The post Summer workshops at dxw appeared first on dxw digital.

Original source – dxw digital

Hazel Norris presenting at the Digital Voices launch event

Hazel Norris, DWP Digital

I have been with DWP Digital for a year now and what a year it has been. I had previously worked in the Civil Service so I thought I knew what to expect when I turned up, about an hour too early, on my first day. I was wrong…

I joined as a Tech Support Team Manager based in Southampton. I knew that I would need to travel a little and that there would be some on the job training. What I did not expect was the level of support I would receive and the number of development opportunities that would be open to me.

Learning the ropes

I had an excellent buddy from day one, who showed me the ropes and made me feel welcome. It was great to have someone to ask the little questions that are really important like ‘How do I get into the car park?’ and ‘What do all these acronyms mean?’.

My buddy also used to meet up with me before big meetings so that I did not have to walk in on my own and not know who anyone was. This helped me settle in as joining an organisation as large as DWP can be daunting.

Lots of learning opportunities

As I started to find my feet in my role I found out what other opportunities there are. I have been on various management and leadership training courses, which being a new manager, have helped me. They also highlighted the focus of diversity and inclusion at DWP. It has been so refreshing to work for an organisation where you are encouraged to be yourself.

I was successful in joining the latest Digital Voices cohort, which has been amazing so far and has helped me build my confidence. It is an incredible programme and I have not seen anything like it in any other organisation that I have worked at. So far, it’s been great to learn about techniques to develop my digital skills such as doing video interviews, being the credible voice in a meeting and tips on social media and blogging.

Hazel chatting with a fellow Digital Voice

Hazel chatting with a colleague from the Digital Voices programme

I also found out that DWP has a library which has lots of interesting books on development and leadership. I’m a lifelong book lover so this has been a real treat for me and another good way to learn.

New challenges

As I was nearing my first year anniversary here I spotted an ad for a role in the Digital Workplace Transformation Team. This is an area that I wanted to get involved with but I wasn’t sure if I should apply. However, I thought about everything that I’ve learnt so far this year and the emphasis on continuous development in DWP. My manager and colleagues were supportive too, so I went for it.

I was over the moon when I found out that I was successful in getting the role. It’s because of the excellent support I’ve received that I felt confident enough to push myself out of my comfort zone.

I’ve learnt so much in the past year. I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn in the next 12 months!

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Original source – DWP Digital

As dxw grows, we want to continue to build an inclusive, diverse company based on our valuesWe recognise that different people have different needs and want to provide a working environment that is welcoming and empowering for all. We work at a sustainable pace and want everyone to feel supported and included.

A really important part of how we do this has been defining our flexible working policy and what it means for our team. We believe that if we adopt and offer flexible policies it improves the wellbeing of our team – and that in turn improves the service we provide for our clients – and research backs us up!

dxw digital’s office has video-conferencing available in all its meeting rooms

What is flexible working?

Flexible working gives our team members flexibility over how long, where and when they work. It can mean different things but we have chosen to include full-time, part-time and compressed hours, as well as working remotely.

Working from home or in the office is made effortless (most of the time!) with our various well-established methods of communication. These include things like Slack, Google, and video conferencing.

A few tips on working away from the office

Here are some of the things we’ve learned.

Finding a suitable place to work: Think productive and comfortable. If you’re working from home and other people are in that space, you may need to find somewhere away from them to help you focus and create boundaries. If you’re in a co-working space, find out about the different working options open to you. You’ll also need to think about your posture, if you’re working from home or another site regularly you may need an office chair and a good desk set up to prevent any neck and back issues in the long term.

Communication is key:  it’s your responsibility to let your team know what you’re working on and stay in touch throughout the day if you’re working solo. Planning your work in advance and having any in-person conversations ahead of working from home or at another site should help with this, but there shouldn’t be many things you can’t achieve by phone or video calls.

Good AV: If you are going to join calls, check that your laptop microphone and camera are working well and you’re in a space where echo and other noise isn’t going to lessen your ability to participate in the call. Follow up with the team at the other end and ensure they have tested their set up too. On a busy day this can get overlooked and may impact on the effectiveness of the meeting (we’ve all been there while 10 minutes is lost fiddling with the IT kit). It’s much better to be proactive beforehand.

Take regular breaks: In the office, you’ll probably take breaks more organically or as part of your regular routine, than when you’re working at home or in another location. But they are just as important. Remember to get up, have a stretch and a cup of tea/coffee/water, etc  regularly. If you can, getting outside at lunchtime will reinvigorate you for the afternoon.

Finish on time: It’s tempting to work longer when you don’t have the commute to worry about. This is your call, but remember that sustainable pace is important and if you do longer hours this can impact on you later in the week. It’s much better to be more focused with your working hours, than to work longer and tire yourself out.

Returners’ Programme

This year we’ve launched our Returners’ Programme, offering return to work opportunities for experienced people who are looking to re-enter the workplace after an extended period of time away. To support people who work varying hours, we’re offering roles which have flexible and part-time options.  All returners will be fully supported as they refresh, test and build on past skills and experience.


We’re looking forward to trialling some new wellness approaches during our 2 Wellbeing Weeks in June. We’ll be hosting a variety of activities, including cooking classes, painting and sketching, spin classes, singing, geocaching, beer tasting, and board games (among others!). We’ll blog more about that soon.

If you’d like to have a chat with us about what we’re doing or have any ideas to share, please get in touch.

The post Our flexible working policy at dxw appeared first on dxw digital.

Original source – dxw digital