All change – A new government, a new job and a new home

'Seedlings in peet pots' by Jackal of all trades

A lot has happened since my last post.

I’ve moved house, there’s been a general election (resulting in a new government) and I’ve changed job. That all happened in one week.

Now I’m almost a month into the new role. It’s a 2 year secondment to the FCO, where I am Head of Networks in the Digital Diplomacy Group.

Stephen Hale is a well-known member of that team, who blogs about the Group’s digital engagement with the department’s Ministers and officials. His recent digital diplomacy briefing sums up the function and format of the Group. It’s well worth a read as an introduction to our work or as a reminder about a really quite unique central government digital team.

Digital Diplomacy supports policy making and service delivery by the department. We manage our corporate site and support 250 sites covering our overseas posts and missions. As Head of Networks, I direct the teams managing the Platform technology and our Hub teams based regionally around the globe to provide 24/7 publishing and support of Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions.

It’s exciting times for us. We have a new FCO Ministerial team drawn from the coalition government forming a new foreign affairs programme. We are operating in a ‘more for less’ environment. We are looking to consolidate and develop our reputation for innovative and practical use of digital.

Undoubtedly these are challenging times for us but the combination of a new director and management team and a young team that is creative and passionate about the policy puts us in a great position to take on those challenges and impress.

As the work unfolds I hope to share the learning and attract the assessment of others taking an interest. But for starters, I thought I’d share 10 principles that will frame my work and that of my team:

  • Focus on users and the business needs
  • Do fewer things with higher impact (as a result of better planning, resourcing, monitoring and evaluation)
  • Encourage simplicity, don’t over-engineer
  • Work in lightweight, cross-discipline project teams
  • Give staff time, task and technique autonomy
  • Evolve, don’t change (seed, incubate and then mainstream or kill-off ideas)
  • Locate your data and use it to optimise
  • Share and learn across team, department and sector boundaries
  • Ask users to include challenges in their feedback
  • Be professional, take pride, enjoy

Now to get on with it! Will report back on progress.

One thought on “All change – A new government, a new job and a new home

  1. Hi Ross,

    congratulations on the new job – I look forward to catching up and working with you.
    I like your 10 principles – true for all of us!


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