Postbureaucrat

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

Featured posts

On freelancing

April 1, 2014

The giant of local government social media at the coalface, Dan Slee, has gone freelance. I’m not sure why I’ve not written up Dan as one of my digital heroes here before, because he certainly is one. He’s the kind of innovator it’s hard to dismiss – someone with deep journalism and government experience, Zen-like…

What holds people back?

March 6, 2014

What holds people back from using digital tools and techniques at work? Is it that they need someone to tell them what Twitter is for? Or is it that they couldn’t tweet if they wanted to: the system would block it and their boss would look disapproving. Maybe the Press Office runs a tight ship…

Helpful Tips for 2013

December 1, 2013

After a little blip last year, I’m really pleased that we’re able to bring our series of advent tips for smart digital communicators  back for 2013. Helpful Technology was a freelance business when I first started the tips, but now we’ve grown to a gargantuan four people, so this year there are tips coming up…

Whither digital communication?

October 8, 2013

If GOV.UK is delivering the website, what’s the purpose of digital communications teams in government departments? That’s one of the interesting issues tackled by the Cabinet Office’s Digital Communication Capability Review, whose draft report is online for public comment for another couple of days. It’s a fine piece of work, led by some creative thinkers…

Fêting failure

September 12, 2013

I’ve always suspected there’s a damn sight less success around than people claim, and a damn sight more dumb luck and hidden failure brushed under the carpet. There’s a lovely piece by John Coventry on failure over on Wonkcomms today that really struck a chord with me: I’ve always thought that being on the frontline of communicating the work…

Keeping up with our clients

September 12, 2013

Our clients do some jolly interesting things online. Of course, I would say that, but they really do: everything from podcasting about alternatives to Trident to fighting dodgy landlords, arguing for involving the public in deciding how to deal with Syria to arguing the case for reorganising A&E departments. Like a lot of digital agencies,…

What public consultation can look like

September 10, 2013

I’ve been a bit grumpy lately that use of digital tools to engage the public creatively around policy consultations has stalled. Sure, there’s some good tweeting, and some creative ministerial webchats, but not much that tackles the showstopping barriers of impenetrable language, lengthy response forms and boring or loaded questions. What BIS has done with…

All the news that’s fit to print

August 19, 2013

It’s silly season, so here’s my contribution. A few months ago, my mouse hand slipped and I found myself the owner of one of Berg’s Little Printers, a small thermal printer which prints on receipt paper and connects to the internet. It delivers ‘publications’ like the weather forecast, a crossword puzzle, or a quote of…