Why I’m #OfTheGovernment

“So this is our phoenix moment. GDS doesn’t just need to sit inside one building. We have the responsibility to work not on the Government, but of the Government.” – Jason Caplin, Digital Director of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) [Saturday 15 August 2015]

I joined the Government Digital Service (GDS) on Tuesday 18 September 2012, a date I know off by heart. Back then there were a couple hundred of us.

We were preparing to switch off DirectGov and Business Link. In other words make GOV.UK live.

It was a frenetic time. People were busy, stressed and loving it.

The only other work experience I’ve had that comes close was at Lehman Brothers, a now defunct investment firm. I did trading floor technical support in 4 different countries for them back in 1997.

In government I know I’m making my country a little bit better everyday.

I never felt that way in Lehman Brothers.

This is why I’m #OfTheGovernment – because I know I make a difference.

I left GDS in January 2015 to work in the Cabinet Office Transparency and Open Data team.

But I’m still a GDS’er – that spirit will live in me forever.

User research, user needs, agile, sprints – all this I learnt at GDS.

In Jason’s blog post he askes us to:

  • make a commitment to remember why we got into this in the first place
  • announce when we, as a government revolutionaries, are ready to move on to out next in-government contract

I went to work for GDS because I:

  1. saw alpha.gov.uk and thought, “wow” – I remember that moment with crystal clear clarity
  2. was frustrated with Birmingham City Council’s (BCC) internal and external digital services
  3. wanted to learn from GDS and return to BCC to digitally detonate it

I’ll make good on #3 one day, but not yet. There are still many roles I need to learn.

Then I will move back to Birmingham and blow it up.

Jason – thank you for reminding me why I got into this 😊


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