Personal blogging by Steph Gray, founder of Helpful Digital and erstwhile bureaucrat

Featured posts

What standards and legal requirements do government websites need to take account of?

May 26, 2009

As well as the questions on social media that Neil asked of his recent interviewees, he also grilled them on some of the practical issues of being a jobbing government webby (something he has also covered brilliantly recently). One particular question – to which we didn’t really hear a corking answer from any of the…


May 12, 2009

Forgive me a slight deviation from the usual fare here: I’m just back from my summer holiday to Italy and wanted to share a couple of tips on travelling by train to Europe: Tip #1: The truly revolutionary thing about the internet isn’t that it enables millions of people to crowdsource information, but that…

Whiteboarding Whitehall

April 22, 2009

I’m on a panel at OpenGov today: ‘a practical one-day conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities of social technologies to enable engagement, collaboration, and transparency in government’. Alongside some impressive luminaries including James Crabtree from Prospect, Paul Evans of the Local Democracy Blog and Mark O’Neill (loosely) from DCMS, we’re tackling the topic of…

Who snoops?

March 25, 2009

Interesting coverage in BBC News and Metro this morning of two examples of ‘government snooping’ on conversations and profiles in social networking services: BBC News: Social networking sites like Facebook could be monitored by the UK government under proposals to make them keep details of users’ contacts. and: Metro: Benefits bosses are trawling profiles on…

Civil Service jobs, your way

March 17, 2009

The Cabinet Office has recently relaunched its Civil Service website and job search function, including a little ‘Developers‘ page tucked away in the footer. That page describes a rather lovely little API which lets anyone – with a freely-available key – retrieve a list of departments, vacancies and vacancy descriptions, including RDFa markup to the…

How to open source your stuff

March 7, 2009

One of the most rewarding things about open sourcing your stuff – for example, some code we developed for an internal project – is seeing what clever people do with it in ways you wouldn’t expect. At my talk at eDemocracy 08, I put up the chart below to try to illustrate four of the…

ConsultationXML goes open source

February 27, 2009

As Harry’s explained over on The Dextrous Web, we’ve just open sourced the code behind ConsultationXML, the tool we’ve been working on which turns consultation PDF files into XML. It’s a 0.1 release so still full of bugs, but at least it’s out there. You can download the (documented) code, and/or have a play with…