Tour of Duty?

I was interested to read about this Number 10 meeting with ‘big tech‘. It kind of reminded me of the whole ObamaCare ‘Tiger Team’ thing that basically spawned the USDS. I know I have taken a few pokes at Dominic Cummings but this doesn’t sound like a dreadful plan – the focus on getting talent to come in and help rather than accessing data bodes well.

I suspect there is an underestimation of how much talent sits in the NHS(X and elsewhere), GDS and across Government but there is never enough and a massive health crisis like this is going to stretch things all over the place. Nationally and locally.

The scale of this issue and the extent to which it is happening with internet-era expectations from people in an age of rampant misinformation means there is a LOT to do on the digital side even if the the front-lines are elsewhere. The NHS Digital teams have been doing amazing work so far but maybe they do need back-up – especially if their people get ill.

I know it isn’t really a thing here but I’ve always been interested in the US model of ‘tours of duty’ (some quite short) with things like the Presidential Innovation Fellows , 18F etc to boost capability in Government for the short-term.

Anyway if I thought I could help I would cash in my vacation days or whatever to volunteer and I suspect others would as well. The question would be whether it would be a help or a hinderance?

Honestly I don’t know but the offer is there.



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