Weeknotes S8 Ep2

Cold season

Cartoon gif of a girl sneezing

I have a cold. I have a headache. I think these will be short as I can’t really concentrate. I spent a lot of yesterday napping, trying to eat, feeling sick, and then taking nightnurse before bed. As the kids have gone back to school this time of year is always germ soup, and getting caught in the rain on Monday probably didn’t help either.

I’ve been feeling a bit meh and a bit grumpy this week. Possibly it’s a comedown after last week’s excitement around the publication of the Radical Vision. Possibly it’s because I’ve felt frustrated about “inclusion week” (more later), or possibly it’s just because I was getting ill.

Anyway what have I done this week? 5 things that happened.

Everything in moderation

Monday and Tuesday were mainly dedicated to reviewing the last remaining submissions made to round 3 of the Local Digital Fund.

Our team managed to review all 60 fund applications and “2i” (review by a second person) in a week. This included scoring and getting in contact with any where there were clarifications to be made. That’s an impressive feat, it’s not a straightforward piece of work and it takes a lot of time to review any supporting information and to critically look at the propositions.

On Tuesday afternoon we all got together For a moderation session as a team to review the scoring, look at any discrepancies and discuss what we thought we would put forward to the panel to review as a shortlist. The panel will be meeting on the 9th October to look at all of the applications, but mostly the shortlist to make funding decisions as part of round 3.

An icon gif for shortlisted.

In the meantime, I’m looking at the submissions and putting together some thoughts about why some of them haven’t been successful this time around. We’ll be publishing this when we announce who has been successful, and hopefully will be able to provide applicants with some advice about what makes a good fund application.

One thing that I was really pleased about is that I think we are building a better picture of some of the opportunities and how they might overlap to provide bigger benefits to the sector, that’s an exciting prospect and I think a great story.

In sad news this week Adam is leaving us and that is a hard thing to deal with. It means that Egle and I are the collaboration leads now, and with round 3 applications currently in progress it’s looking like October and November will be a bit crunchy. Obviously that’s not the only reason to be sad about it, Adam’s been fun, and his local gov experience has helped me no end. He’s been a big part of this team for a long time and he will be missed.

Inclusion week

Linda in my team is involved with the Wellbeing network in our department, and she managed to wangle me an invite to our MHCLG diversity and inclusion marketplace. So on Tuesday I spent about 1.5 hours in our cafe with the One Team Gov banners talking to some people in the department about what One Team Gov is and inviting people to breakfast!

A gif representing inclusion with a cartoon of two women high-fiving

I was surprised that the marketplace was in our cafe and over lunch, the footfall wasn’t massive but at least it was in a nice and slightly confined space which gave people the opportunity to browse.

While I was there I discovered that the Home Office and DEFRA (who are also in our building) were running a marketplace the following day (Wednesday), so I managed to get an invite to that too.


It was in the main building atrium where people were coming in and out over their lunch. It was upsetting to see so many people just walk past with barely a look. Even when there was a lovely doggo to pet.

I’m not sure if it just hadn’t been publicised well enough, or if people aren’t interested, but I personally believe that networks are one of the greatest powers for the public service and I found myself getting a bit depressed at being ignored.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much work I did at the Cabinet Office with networks, and about hierarchy-ised diversity networks. I would like to do some more work to think about and map the diversity networks and groups within our department, because I have a suspicion that they’re very much more embedded in existing hierarchies and structures with deference to seniority, strategy documents and similar.

“Latent Radicals”

I sent our Radical Visions work to my CDO for him to have a look at and he come back with am email that surprised me asking me how it might be possible to find “latent radicals” within our department. I have SO MANY ideas, so I need to rein them in and make them more actionable.

While talking about Radical Visions, shout out to noelito for writing this great overview to the publication:

One Green Gov

The team behind One Green Gov published their first blog yesterday, you’ll find it below:

View at Medium.com

As an aside — how lovely is that logo?

This blog has been written by a number of people and there has been a huge amount of thought and background conversations happening in the run up to publishing it.

It’s honestly been a privilege to see those conversations play out, especially the discussions about One Team Gov’s role in all this; those conversations have been compassionate, thoughtful, positive. We must remember;

  1. There are people who are new to all this and feel guilt and shame for not doing more, who want to educate themselves. Guilt and shame aren’t good bedfellows with change, we need to make sure people feel safe, can learn and grow.
  2. There are others who don’t know what they don’t know. It’s important to work in the open so that our work can ripple out.
  3. There are people who have been thinking about and taking action on this for a long time. To think that there hasn’t already been really important work going on to address this issue would be ridiculous, not to acknowledge the different pockets of activity and action that are popping up everywhere to address this would be a waste of experience and expertise. But also, some of these people have been waiting for us to catch up, we have to respect and be mindful of that.

This all requires huge amounts of compassion and positive action on all sides. It cannot and will not be about individual ego, we don’t have time for that.

Pulling out my favourite happy earth gif again — yay! (a cartoon representation of the earth with a cute happy face)

I’m going to make it my objective to make sure that all of the comms the team do reflects this diverse group of people as much as possible. I fall into the first camp of feeling uneducated and dis-empowered. I want that to change and I know that there are more who feel the same way.

And, as I said in the below tweet, I believe if any group can bring together those diverse voices and give them the space to explore all this and move towards practical and sustainable action, I believe One Team Gov can.

I had a good conversation at One Team Gov breakfast in the week where I asked about whether we need a new set of principles for this work. But actually, I think the above are my principles, respect all sides of the work. Give each space and air.

James and I were also talking about this:

Anxiety — Convenience — Environment

There has to be recognition that we need to be compassionate with ourselves, if we are anxious and unable to cope, feeling like we have no time, this is when we lean on convenience, and those conveniences have significant impacts on the environment.

Side hustles

I thought that now Radical Visions was over that I would have some more room for side hustles but it seems not. There’s still a lot of One Team Gov stuff going on. I still have to finish writing the presentation for the Apolitical workshop with Miki and Nour.

View at Medium.com

I found out that I’ve had a presentation accepted for Ada’s List Conference in November which is exciting and outside of my comfort zone (so I’m starting to freak out about it) I’ll be talking about my experience with Weeknotes, so I have to work out how to tell that story in an engaging way!

I also found out that I’ve been accepted to speak at an event next year with some other excellent people, but I’ve been asked not to talk about that yet. Anyway, I’m excited about that talk because I think it’s an interesting perspective.

And that’s probably enough for now isn’t it? My brain is fried. More paracetamol and maybe a nap…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s