Today was Govcamp day. There was a fashion a few years ago for quick list-based blog posts reflecting on the day. That might be an idea worth reviving.

  • I love talking to Catherine Howe. She’s always thinking about the same kinds of things I am, just three steps further ahead.


  • If you ever want an event launched with energy and elan, to say nothing of boldness, get Janet Hughes to do it.

  • She asked those for whom it was their first Govcamp to stand up. Many more did than I would have guessed. Which is excellent.
  • It was lovely to be at Govcamp with two work colleagues, Carla Groom and Richard Barton. Suddenly I am not the only one, which feels like a big step in the direction I hoped for after my first Govcamp, seven years ago.

  • It was great to see Clare Moriarty. Not because she’s a permanent secretary, but because she’s a leader of the change we still need, to stop digital being something separate.

  • John Sheridan always talks about impossibly difficult problems. But they are always fascinating and thought provoking. And he’s usually quietly getting on with solving them.

  • It turns out that having a bright blue cast on your arm is a perfect conversational ice breaker. I may need to wear one next year.
  • But it also turns out that eating sandwiches off a paper plate with one hand malfunctioning requires meticulous weight and balance calculations after every bite.
  • There was a fascinating discussion on civil service ethics in changing political times and whether the conventional ideas of election purdah and complete political neutrality are still sustainable. I am half tempted to write more on that. But I suspect I have already written quite enough, both recently in relation to the political shocks of 2016, and prompted by the last general election (to say nothing of the one before).
  • It’s not transformation if nothing changes.
  • “Is technology the problem?” asked Tim Davies. The answer to that from the discussion he led is pretty clearly that it isn’t. But our collective ability to respond socially and economically to the pace of technological change may prove to be a very real problem.

  • Govcamp does not arrange itself. The quality of organisation and attention to detail is extraordinary. We are very fortunate in the enthusiasm and sheer graft of those who put in the hard work to make it all look effortless

Picture credits:

Govcamp stickers, Carla and Richard , Clare and Session grid by Nigel Bishop

Catherine, Janet, John and Tim by David Pearson