The Exemptions

This afternoon I attended the Government ‘Heads of Digital Communications’ meet-up for the first time. Hosted by Tim Lloyd at BIS it was a nice change of pace from my recent meetings – I am less and less digital ‘communications’ these days and increasingly something a bit undefined but broader and more strategic (maybe…).

There was a really interesting presentation from a couple of the Aldermore Bank digital team. I’ll be honest I’d never heard of the bank but I enjoyed the presentation (what I saw of it anyway – had to take a couple of calls – very rude and I should have apologised.) I have come away with a couple of interesting ideas – not sure you can hope for much more than that!

There was some discussion about the Government Digital Communications consultation that is about to complete. I’ve been careful not to comment too much on the topic – as far as I can ascertain ONS wasn’t included in any of the initial evidence gathering and as a ‘manifesto’ I think it doesn’t really represent a particularly wide idea of Government comms – there is a lot of good within it but generally I was disappointed with it but perhaps I am not the audience.

That brings me to my main point. Nick Halliday, from the National Audit Office, and I have chatted a couple of times about maybe bringing a group together made up of those of us who were given ‘exemptions’ from the single Government domain – and thus continue to exist outside the warm embrace of the Government Digital Service 🙂

Now GOV.UK has sucked in all the Department sites and is starting the process of bringing in the 100s of ‘arms length bodies’, ‘NDPBs’ etc it has left a rather select group of us in Government with a slightly different set of priorities for discussion (just read the comments in the afore mentioned consultation to see an example of the preoccupation with GDS amongst those already migrated).

Clearly we all have, and need, a relationship with GDS but it is very different in nature than for those who publish through the platform and who are involved in the transactions work. We have all the old challenges for Gov digital teams plus the additional expectation created by the very success of GOV.UK.

I think it would just be interesting to have some kind of forum where we could share experiences and ideas? I certainly know I’d find it helpful but maybe I’m on my own!

Maybe it is something to kick-off at the Govcamp in the new year if not before?

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