Personal blogging by Steph Gray, former digital agency founder and erstwhile bureaucrat


The New Boy

May 20, 2011

So Mike Bracken, former digital boss at Guardian Media Group is the new Executive Director for Digital for the UK government. Welcome, Mike. In times as tough as these for the public sector, it’s a real coup to have recruited someone of your calibre to the role. The post was recommended by Martha Lane Fox…

A window on the wormery

November 23, 2010

Once upon a time, I managed a team who were struggling to crack a tough problem. They needed to improve the dreadful user experience of a major online transaction, but the ‘owners’ of the transaction – a ‘partner’ organisation, in Government-speak – refused to let them have access. The ‘owners’ talked about the extensive user…

The Minister, the Entrepreneur and the Civil Servant: a cautionary tale

October 27, 2010

I’ve come across this little situation enough times now to make it worth a quick post here. It’s the story of the innovative SME, the minister, and the civil servant. And it’s not exactly a fairytale. The story starts well enough: an enthusiastic entrepreneur develops something clever. They think it could have a great public…

Goodbye websites, my old friends

October 19, 2010

I don’t know what I think about website convergence any more. I used to think it was premature, driven by people without an appreciation for what the web could do, risking crushing small but smart teams doing good work online, and subsuming them into sites like Directgov and BusinessLink which were still feeling their way.…

Digital Heroine: Jenny Poole

October 14, 2010

Sir Phillip Green, efficiency advisor to the government, recently reportedly challenged public sector workers to treat public money as their own. One person who’s been doing this for a while is Jenny Poole, Head of Digital Engagement at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. She’s a former team member, and now client, of mine,…

The Problem with WordPress

October 14, 2010

Linus’ Law says that, given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. It’s one of the paradoxes of open source, community-driven software that we can know it is good on the strength of how much is known about its frailties. Simon Dickson opened and closed the first WordUp Whitehall event yesterday with a reminder that WordPress…

Some definitions

September 23, 2010

I’m sure others cleverer than me have done this better elsewhere, but as part of some work I’m doing (and as a precursor to potentially revisiting That Venn Diagram on this blog later) I thought I’d try and write down some definitions of digital stuff: Digital Communications involves the use of digital channels – yours…

Digital Hero: Luke Oatham

September 23, 2010

As part of an occasional series on this blog, I want to introduce you to a few of the digital heroes and heroines doing great work inside the UK public sector. It’s not often my jaw literally drops open while reading a blog post, but it did when I read through Luke Oatham’s piece on…

Where do the good ideas go?

September 20, 2010

It’s been interesting to see the development of the UK Government’s first major forays into crowdsourcing, in the form of HM Treasury’s Spending Challenge, the drive for cost-saving ideas,  and Your Freedom, a mechanism for proposing unnecessary regulation to be repealed. But even more impressive is the approach being taken in the US with,…