I’m leaving the Department of Health in a few weeks time, to join the digital team at Business, Innovation and Skills. I am very excited to be joining BIS, but at the same time sad to leave Health.

I joined the Civil Service in 2009, and this was my first foray into the public sector. I didn’t know what to expect other than a massive change in working culture and practice.

I came from a background of journalism, small publishing businesses and creative agencies, where I’d be tasked with everything from writing interviews, to managing cashflow, human resources and making tea. Sometimes successfully, often by the skin of my teeth, and with some notable failures too (an upside down magazine and the web project from hell among them).

But I was wrong about the ‘massive change’.

In actual fact, the challenges of communicating information, of publishing, of embracing new technology, are pretty much the same. Sometimes I miss not having a profit margin to focus on, but I don’t miss the roller coaster of small business.

Sure, I still get frustrated by some of the bureaucracy I encounter. However, it strikes me that these same mechanisms ensure staff and suppliers are, for the most part, paid on time, and contribute to a professional atmosphere. These are some of the things that create tremendous pressure when running a small business.

Bowler hat on a bench

I've seen very few of these around Whitehall

And the Civil Service isn’t the old fashioned institution that my friends would have had me believe, back in 2009 when I told them where I was going. I realise I am lucky, because digital is interesting, evolving and Government has a reputation for innovation. But I also spent a short time in private office and never once saw a bowler hat or anything produced in triplicate.

Call me naive or challenge me on any of this. I’m keen to hear your experiences.

I hope I can bring a bit of my first-hand experience of the front line of business to my new role in the Civil Service, and build on the good work that’s already happening. If you’ve got ideas about business, Government and the web, then drop me a line.

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicohogg/