Weeknotes S03 Ep11

Green shoots

Mei from Totoro

Overarching feeling of the week

Over the past few weeks I have been struggling to find meaning and to make sense of some complex, difficult problems and situations. I’ve also been learning about a whole new set of things and getting to grips with new cultures and new ways of working.

It’s been difficult, and I’ve been aware that in my weeknotes I’ve been trying to work through these things and falling short. Feeling a little like I’ve just been spiralling on issues rather than getting closer to solving them.

But I have had inspiring conversations with people this week who have given me hope. I hadn’t managed to find that before now but it really is the thing I needed; to see how things could start fitting together and imagining a better world.

This has been pushed along by Morgan who has been brilliant council and who has helped me to frame and explain what I’ve been struggling with and shine light on it. Thank you!

On a personal level I had some space this week which meant that I could drop my little one at nursery in the morning and I really appreciated that. I also picked him up on Tuesday, something I haven’t been able to do for ages and which I’ve really missed.


I’ve felt like I’ve really helped my team with some work they’ve been doing planning; working on team objectives and beginning to plan out our missions for the rest of the year. That’s been really great.

I’ve also been working on my first case, and I properly met Clara (one of our Digital Engagement Managers) for the first time as I will be lead assessor on a service assessment coming up, so she brought me up to speed with the work.


On Tuesday was the first outing of Culture Club, a premise I’ve brought over from DATT to my new team. When I set it up in my old job it was a way to get members of the team out of the office and doing something completely different from work, getting to know each other as people is so so important to making a team feel more cohesive.

Hattie, Steve, Tom and I went to see the Wes Anderson Isle of Dogs exhibition and it was brilliant. Really amazing, intricate models and sets, and also really great to get to know people better. We already have the next trip lined up so I’m really looking forward to that.

Pictures from the Wes Anderson Isle of Dogs exhibition.

I also continued my GDS coffee quest and met lots of new people this week: Jane, Paul, and Tom — all really nice people with interesting stories to tell. What they all had in common was that they were all really passionate about being in the civil service and doing the good thing.

I briefly saw Jonathan who is going to help me make some stickers, yay!

On Thursday night I had drinks with Morgan and Jenny, this is always a highlight because its good to be able to talk things through with them and get a different perspective on things. Jenny bought me this pin which made me have a little cry but which is a really lovely gesture. Thank you Jenny!

Live by the pin.

In other news…

Interesting conversations this week relating to the gender pay gap data that has been published by the Government. It’s been brilliant to see the coverage of this in the news and to hear people talking about it.

I’ve heard some responses which sadly don’t surprise me. And I’ve read about some of the excuses that have been made by companies which I wont repeat but you can read here:


But the opinion I hadn’t expected to hear was that the data isn’t useful enough. The way it has been published doesn’t tell us enough:

“We need more information to prove to us that this is a systemic problem. The information is incomplete. We want to see the pay gap at all levels before we will believe this.”

Seeing how some companies have misreported their data or the number who submitted the information right on the deadline show to me that companies haven’t been prioritising this.

It’s also very hard not to see charts like this, which seem to make the situation so very clear:

Proportion of women in each pay quartile This chart taken from Tesco supermarkets.

Or even this which is even more shocking (note, this isn’t a chart from a company in heavy industry or manufacturing but Ocado, the online supermarket).

Proportion of women in each pay quartile, Ocado.

But I think that the thing to remember is that we are the first country to ever legislate this and make transparency a legal requirement, that is a huge step.

I honestly believe that eve though there might be negative conversations happening, there are probably just as many positive ones. Discussing “women’s work” the value of care work, talking about representation of women and women’s progression. That can only be a good thing.

GDS is part of the Cabinet Office and Cabinet Office data is published here:


Many people regard GDS to be it’s own department, it is certainly large enough. We also understand generally that there are challenges with hiring and retaining women in technology (for a whole host of reasons).

So I know a lot of people are frustrated that GDS didn’t publish it’s own gender pay gap data and are campaigning for that to be done. I would welcome that too.

Personally I would like to see more organisations following the lead of MoJ’s Digital and Technology team by producing their own diversity dashboard covering a lot more than just gender pay.

A screenshot from MoJ’s Digital and Technology diversity dashboard

On that note, here’s a great piece of reading:


Interesting discussions about accessibility here:

I also really liked this:

Finally, I personally think that Morriarty plays Hamlet much better than Sherlock did.



Till next week!

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