Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

WorkSmart!

worksmartJust to let Kind of Digital readers know about a new blog I’ve launched, called WorkSmart.

It’s all about how we work in organisations and will cover stuff like use of technology for personal productivity and better team working, and also other non-techy tools and tips and thoughts on organisational culture.

You can follow WorkSmart in a number of ways:

I’m also trying something a bit different with the site itself. I’m offering a free membership system on the blog, which gets you the email newsletter but also access to member only resources which I will be adding over time. If there’s demand I might also add some kind of community forum – but we’ll see.

In the meantime though, do check the blog out – there’s a few interesting posts up there already – and subscribe using whichever is your preferred method.

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

A red tape challenge for public servants? Or an internal GDS?

At the DH digital champions summit on Tuesday, during the afternoon open space session, an interesting discussion broke out. One among many, I’m sure!

Anyway, what was being discussed was the sheer unusability of government systems and processes. Only, not the ones that the public uses, but the ones that civil servants use.

I’ve worked in enough local councils, quangos and central government departments to know that the vast majority of IT systems in use are pretty dreadful. Clunky, and rarely fit for purpose, they seem to exist just to make life more difficult for those using them.

Likewise those processes yet to be digitised. How hard is it to bring in a temporary member of staff to get a job done? Sometimes the paperwork is so over the top, it’s quicker to do whatever it is yourself rather than get the extra body in.

It’s absurd and clearly must be a factor in the difficulty in getting stuff done within government.

The Red Tape Challenge is a crowdsourced effort within government to get rid of the burden of bureaucracy on businesses and citizens. It appears to have had some success in identifying areas where things could move a little quicker, smoother, and maybe with fewer dockets.

There’s also been a lot of focus – rightly – on the user experience for citizen and customer facing interactions. The work that GDS is doing in this area shows that it can be done.

I do wonder though whether a similar approach ought to be being taken to internal systems, across government. Maybe a red tape challenge style thing, where public servants can identify the particularly crappy systems and processes that make their lives a misery – and get them fixed.

Or maybe we need a black ops style skunkworks, wielding the knife on some of the more monstrous forms of obstructive paperwork and dreadful databases. Taking a similar user-focused approach to that which GDS – and many other public facing services – are using to such great effect.

There must be at least much opportunity here, to improve efficiency and save money, as there is in making things easier for the citizen?

Update: This here looks interesting – via @pubstrat

Launching the DigitalCllr survey

surveyI’ve been doing work with local councillors for some time now – helping them see how they can use the internet to better engage with citizens, and communicate with them too.

This takes the form of running training workshops usually. There’s probably a better way of doing it, but they are probably a bit tricky to procure.

Anyway, I’m interested in finding out where we are up to with digitally savvy elected local representatives, so I have thrown together a quick survey. The main aim to to find out what councillors are doing on the internet, and try and spread the word to their less keen colleagues about how it’s working.

So, if you are a councillor, or you know one, spread the word about the survey. Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/digitalcllr – I’ll be blogging about the results, so we can all benefit.