There are many great reasons to work in government designing and creating services.

One of them is the way – and ways – of working. If not uniformity, there’s certainly consistency.

Another is the belief, the confidence in the way of working.

This tends to mean that across government there are a lot of genuinely talented and genuinely passionate people working well to create effective user-centred services.

Another great reason is that there are many of us that want to and like to talk about the work we do.

(Plug: Andrew Travers and I have republished our HMRC Digital focused pieces over on Medium. Feel free to read them, digest them, learn from them, react to them, share them, and talk to us.)

Within government this openly talking is super-handy. Why?


Citizens of the United Kingdom pay for this work through their taxes. This is us showing our thinking and work to you. We are working in the open. That simple.


By showing you our work, you know we’re not doing this locked away in a soundproof room. We are listening, reacting. Showing we listen gives you confidence in what we are doing. And hopefully it gives you confidence in where government services are going.


By talking openly, hopefully it makes government seem an appealing place to work. It worked for me, and I am still here. It’s worked for others.

The more top drawer thinkers, makers, doers we have working for government, the better.

How exciting is that we can entice people from the “private” side to the “public” side to make better services we use every day as part of our interface, our interaction, our conversation even with government?


Government has many arms.

Someone said a few months back it’s like an octopus. I’ve recently seen Spectre, where the octopus is a symbol for a disruptive organisation, albeit a bad-bad-bad one. So maybe not that analogy – but you get the idea.

There’s central government, and then around that there’s HMRC, DWP, the Foreign Office, Ministry of Justice, and so on and so on.

Maybe we – the government arms – are more like hubs, forked from the central bit, taking the central source and then adding our own needs into the mix.

Talking openly from one of those arms, on sticky web places like blogs, means the other arms can see what we’re all doing across government more, how we’re doing, maybe spark further cross-government discussions, maybe even cross-industry discussion.

(On the forking point I like seeing the variations on the theme other government arms take, especially as “working for the government” doesn’t necessarily mean you are working for another copy of GDS.)

On that point, GDS are good on that shizz. And DWP Digital are pretty close behind. And they’re not alone.


Last week, the immensely engaging and always-seemingly-impeccably-dressed Katy Arnold, over at Home Office Digital, recently added to that pot when Katy shared how she, her team, her “arm” are doing things. You can find the post here.

It’s an excellent read, especially as Katy has also given links off to supporting material for those who want a fully rounded briefing.

If you read one post this week, give Katy’s a go.