Video highlights: Digital skills - "no army is going to ride in"

Sarah Prag, Digital Consultant working with Bristol City Council

"There was a big promise in central Government that the Government Digital Service (GDS) would introduce new ways of working and by osmosis the rest of central government would embrace it and the whole of government would be transformed", says Prag. In her talk, she asks: how could we make that actually happen day by day by introducing staff to new techniques and refocusing everybody on citizen needs for better outcomes? Prag, who has worked at BBC, eBay and was the product manager for GOV.UK at GDS for two years until its launch, tackles several myths about local government digital skills. Her advice for tackling the challenges includes:

  • Understand the principles and practices that work - ironic T-Shirts and open-plan offices do not count.
  • Understand what it is to have a multi-disciplinary team and get people with the right skills in the room - but know the gaps first.
  • Understand 'Agile' working, but mainly understand 'agile' working.
  • "It's not about sheep dipping everybody and sending them off on some course" - you've got to instil a new way of working based on trust and collaboration.
  • Look 'sideways' to your local government peers - "there's no army that's going to ride in and help".

Follow Sarah Prag on Twitter.

Event: Hot Topic on Building Digital Capability

Prag spoke at Local Digital's 'Building Digital Capability', one in a series of events that focuses on key topics within local digital public service delivery. Held in Bristol earlier this month, councils' digital practitioners showcased work to upskill their workforce in front of an participative audience of local authority senior managers, heads of service, change managers, CIOs, CTOs and heads of HR. The event aimed to help participants to prioritise learning and development activities and uncover better ways to share resources and good practice.