Really Useful Day

When the beta of GOV.UK was released, it naturally provoked a huge number of questions from people working in local as well as central government.

We’ve written before on this blog about how important local services are to GOV.UK so I was delighted to be asked to give the keynote speech at the Really Useful Day event over at DCLG. The second of these events, it is a gathering of digital people from local authorities around the country and the theme of today’s was linking GOV.UK and local services.

As well as talking about the genesis of GOV.UK and GDS, I gave a live demonstration of local services on the site. As one of my colleagues pointed out, this was a brave move, although luckily in this case, the technology was on my side.

Questions from the floor included how we work across government departments to develop GOV.UK. I explained how, as a multi-disciplinary team, we have had editors and digital specialists from other departments embedded with us here. Fortunately for more technical questions I was ably supported by GDS developers Jordan Hatch and Dafydd Vaughan. They explained that we use the open source MaPit geocoding and information service from mySociety to handle location and place names on the beta. There was also an impromptu Q&A about cookie policy, ably handled by Dafydd who has written about it on this blog before.

Thanks to Abby Rudland, Sheenagh Reynolds, Louise Russell and team for organising the event and giving us the chance to connect with some great people. Collaboration and engagement across the public sector are vital to the aims of GDS. Today’s event marked the first stage of, hopefully, a long-term collaboration with our digital peers across local government.

You can follow today’s event on Twitter using the hashtag #ReallyUsefulDay


  1. Before going to this event, I commented to colleagues that Government calling one of its events “Really useful” was in danger of being like North Korea calling itself a “Democratic Republic”. HOWEVER, it was genuinely very useful.

    For me knowing we can access code via github and take page content from online calls is exciting.

    I’d like to experiment with tagging GOV.UK content according to the same (LGSL and LGNL) references as used by local government to assess the feasibility of automating inclusion of GOV.UK content in local government web pages. (Rather than just linking back as some councils now do with this kind of tagging).

    Thanks to GDS and Local Directgov for a good day.

  2. I guess they are doing a Q/A session on twitter using #NCPW as part of the National Consumer Protection Week activities

  3. This is really quite interesting, how would I get an invite to future events/conferences like this one, would it be best for me to email either Abby Rudland, Sheenagh Reynolds or Louise Russell ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s