Westminster Abbey

The view from my office is a big improvement on previous locations

Well, almost a year.

I started drafting this post on the eve of switching off bis.gov.uk and launching gov.uk/bis. It feels like a critical point in my first 12 months.

Moving to gov.uk has, in fact, been the relatively easy part, mainly because everyone else has done the hard work. All credit to John Turnbull and the rest of his team, and GDS for providing the simplest CMS ever, and loads of support.

The hard part has been everything that isn’t about The Website: social media, policy engagement, digital capability (within the digital team and across the rest of the department) and setting some clear priorities. We’ve also lost a few people along the way.

The best days have been those that involved a specific piece of activity, such as one of our webchats, or training colleagues, for instance during Social Media Week. I’ve enjoyed getting stuck in to the BIS digital strategy and thinking about better use of digital tools for open policymaking.

There’s even been some progress on delivering a new intranet, and its been good to see other members of the team blogging.


I’m not sure the team is known well enough within our own department. As one of my colleagues said the other day: ‘we’re better known outside the department than within’. I don’t want our team to have profile just for the sake of it, but colleagues need to know we are here, if we’re to support the commitments made in the digital strategy.

We’re better at owning up when we try things that don’t work out, but we will need to do more of this if we are to keep improving, and not forget to celebrate success either.

And while the team is lucky to have lots of people with specialist digital skills, we’re lacking a baseline for everyone.

In the past I’ve been good at dreaming about digital press offices. I now have a chance to make this a reality.

All of which is a rather long-winded and unconventional way of summarising my objectives for 2013. Advice, hints and tips gratefully received.