Weeknote w/c 3 December: Pipeline hits a hundred (and then races beyond that)

Using Pipeline as a foundation for Local Digital collaboration

I was really chuffed to see Pipeline mark an important milestone this week – reaching 100 projects and collaboration opportunities on Wednesday and then leaping to over 130 by the end of the week!

I’ve been keen to see Pipeline succeed ever since it was first launched by the Local Gov Digital network in 2014. I think it could well be the single most important component for delivering on the commitments made in the Local Digital Declaration – driving digital collaboration across councils to genuinely transform local public services for our citizens. Connecting digital teams who are working on common challenges will help us harness our collective effort, skills and experience so that we can take significant steps forward with our digital services, as well as helping us all to share learning together. I’ve already spotted a few opportunities which look like they’d be useful ones to follow up from a Hackney perspective.

I’m very pleased that Hackney has been able to play a role in helping to evolve Pipeline. The projects posted so far cover 14 organisations, 4 of which have posted more than 10 projects. The potential for this is huge and I’m hoping that other councils across the country will be joining us in committing to publish their projects on Pipeline so that this can become an indispensable shared resource and hub for future collaborations.

Senior Managers’ Network

I had been looking forward to Wednesday’s Senior Managers’ Network meeting and it didn’t disappoint. As well as interesting updates from a number of different areas of the Council’s work, the highlights for me were listening to updates from colleagues in other services talking about work that our teams have done together over recent months.

These included adults’ services who have been looking at initial contact with the Council for people with care needs. As well as learning more about this really important service, it was also great to see how the focus on user research and service design have helped to identify different ways that the Council might meet people’s needs and support people to live independently (improving their quality of life and also reducing pressure on more costly services). Hearing colleagues in other services explaining the benefits of using Agile and design led approaches to peers from across services is hugely encouraging.

We also heard from colleagues in children’s & families services who have been using the tools that we’ve made available through G Suite to rethink how some aspects of the intranet are used and make it really easy for their colleagues to find up to date guidance and policy information wherever they are working. I was particularly pleased that this had been self-started (without waiting for an ‘IT project’ to be ‘done to’ them) and that they have also made a point of working collaboratively with our teams and colleagues in Comms to make sure that we’re thinking it through together and identifying aspects where corporate standards might need to apply (eg where these are important so that users get a consistent experience and know where to find information).

Other topics I worked on last week included:

  • Discussing ways that we might make our guidance for information management ‘good enough’ (recognising that perfection probably isn’t a realistic goal) and continue to develop our advisory approach for colleagues across Hackney’s services.
  • Joining this year’s ‘Oslo Meets Hackney’ event with colleagues from other Hackney services and peers from the City of Oslo, where we looked at ways that we can learn from one another’s experience and build on Hackney’s long standing relationship with Oslo.
  • A quick-fire (and fun!) workshop run by Phillippa and Susan to look at our HackIT.org.uk website, reflecting on the user needs it’s intended to meet, identifying priorities for us to work on so that we meet those needs and agreeing the next steps for doing that.
  • A really useful walk through of our commissioning plan, which Steve led during Wednesday afternoon’s divisional management team meeting. This will help us to identify the priority contracts that we will need to look at over the next 18 months, giving us the time to think more strategically when we do that.
  • Agreeing the high level plans for our ‘web first’ network redesign. This included looking through the feedback that was given at the recent external challenge session that Kameel and Keith hosted, which brought out some useful things for us to consider so that we can make sure we’re getting the design and approach right.
  • Catching up with former colleagues from Lambeth Council, comparing notes on the way that we’re each approaching ICT and digital delivery.
  • And I continued my introduction meetings with people who’ve recently joined our team, with some great conversations with Morad, Mercy, Thea, Bruno, Thaddaeus, Andrew and Liam who’ve all joined our apprenticeship programme this autumn. It was really interesting to hear the wide range of different backgrounds they’ve had prior to joining Hackney which ranged from studying at college through to fine art.

Something I’m learning

I’ve been mulling over the ‘This is how I work…’ posts that I’ve seen a number of people posting recently. I’m not sure that the layout which people have used quite works for me but it has made me think. In a recent conversation someone mentioned that it was helpful to understand how colleagues prefer to consume information and get their work done, and I’m wondering whether it might be something that would be useful for us to do across the HackIT team to help us understand one another’s working preferences, especially as we are still a relatively new team in our current form. I’m going to have a crack at a blog post and see where that goes.