Week 4

It felt like I wasn’t in the GDS office much this week, a theme that may well continue over the next few.

Monday started with a really good workshop reviewing the skills and teams DWP are going to need for their exemplar services. It was one of the first opportunities for the group of us who are leading the various disciplines within GDS to work as a team, and as a result the session felt really helpful for us as well as (hopefully) for the folks from DWP who joined us.

From there, I raced over to Ministry of Justice where we were beginning to sketch out next steps for the Lasting Power of Attorney service. The Lasting Power of Attorney beta launched on July 1st and has been really well received, but there’s quite a bit more work the team are aware of to improve the core of what’s there and to prepare for ongoing development of all the Office of the Public Guardian’s systems.

On Tuesday, Richard and I took part in a focus group session on technology for local neighbourhoods hosted by the Open Data Institute. It was a really interesting conversation that quickly moved from some proposed top-down schemes into a range of ways to connect people with existing activities, groups and so on. Good stuff. Being at ODI also meant I got to have lunch with Kari and check out Salvation Jane, which was a very pleasant place to eat on a sunny day.

Wednesday included a trip to RubyBiz UK for some good chats with Chris, Tom, and others, and then beginning to let people know about the new line management arrangements we’re bringing in for all the developers and webops folks at GDS.

Thursday I was in Reading visiting Defra to learn about the Common Agricultural Policy Delivery Programme. There’s some fantastic work going on there (and I’m very pleased Simon will be speaking about it at Strata London in November) but also some huge challenges building a system that distributes vast sums of money through rules created by numerous bodies and with stringent auditing requirements. It was a busy day meeting lots of people involved with the programme and also talking about how they can share some of the code they’re building with colleagues from Land Registry.

I raced back from Reading to see Nils Frahm perform at St. John at Hackney. It was a wonderful set and sitting in the church listening while dusk gathered around us was a good way to unwind and let the day’s observations take shape in my head.

Friday was actually a day in the office, catching up with people, and then Saturday was all about the school summer fair. We’re entering a new phase with our eldest starting school in September and so far, it’s rather fun.

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