Category: News & thinking (Page 1 of 79)

Charming People Required

I’m looking to hire a few charming people to, well, charm other people. Sound like your cup of tea?

Democracy is struggling a bit right now, you might have noticed. Increasingly, traditional electoral democracy polarises as much as it represents, dividing as much as it includes. But all is not lost: democracy is multi-faceted, ongoing and more than a simple vote for the least worst option. Is someone proposing to move your bus stop? You have a right to have a word about whether it’s a good idea. Concerned about how the council spends your money managing services in austere times? They’re duty bound to consider your opinion. The process is called consultation, a key pillar of our democracy that you’ve probably never heard of.

The problem? A lot of people don’t know you can influence all of these decisions. Have you heard about a consultation or merely the negative press surrounding the decision itself? And if you have heard, were you then confronted by a web experience so horrible you recoursed immediately to the warm understanding embrace of the private sector? You might want to fill out a response but if it involves downloading a Word form on your phone or trawling through swathes of government language, I imagine you, like most normal souls, would give up and quite reasonably do something more interesting.

Delib is helping to change all of that.

We make technology platforms used by hundreds of governments and public bodies around the world that actively encourage and support citizens to participate in democratic processes and decisions, for the benefit of everyone.

Governments can be a little tricky to cajole into changing the habits of a lifetime. In fact, their very nature, structure and thinking has been designed to resist change, so persuading them to use technology that actively subverts all of this is a job for charismatic people who are driven by a sense of purpose. Could you convince a turkey to vote for Christmas? Work with us.

The jobs are for people who’ve got a few years under their belt professionally charming people in any field, with demonstrable results. Applications will be judged against: past experience, attitude, aptitude to the role and the all-important cover letter outlining your charm in a compelling way.

Rewards? These roles are mid-level with the expectation of progression as your knowledge of democracy, technology and governance increases. Delib is a small team with a relatively flat hierarchy, reporting to me mostly (joy) and ultimately the MD, Andy.  We value autonomy, hard work, honesty and plain talking above all else. As such, if you’re a fan of ‘blue-sky thinking’ or want to ‘touch base’, I’ll 110% run your application up the flagpole and not salute it.

The job is based in central Bristol, England’s greatest city. Don’t live here already? Move, you’re missing out. We provide fruit, 25 types of (arguably pointless) tea, flexi-time, your own Mac, the odd company holiday and a simple dress code: wear clothes.

Salary is £24K-26K as a starting point.

We follow the HMG Baseline Personnel Security Standard and you will therefore need to satisfy basic eligibility criteria/certain conditions of employment (e.g. nationality rules/right to work) and provide appropriate documentation to verify ID, nationality, employment and/or academic history, criminal record (unspent convictions only).

If you would like to apply for this position, please note that the covering letter that you send with your CV forms an integral part of our selection process. Please send your CV and cover letter to jayne@teamrubber.com and if we like the look of them, we’ll be in touch.

We’re hiring! Systems Developer/SRE

Hello, we’re looking for an experienced systems developer or SRE to join us in central Bristol, UK. We’re a small company but we build software that makes a difference worldwide. Delib’s products are used to connect citizens with government; our flagship product, Citizen Space, is used by over 100 government organisations around the world. Have a look at our Citizen Space Aggregator to see thousands of issues on which our customers are currently consulting the public.

Currently Delib’s engineering group consists of four generalist developers (some say “full-stack”; we find that a bit buzzwordy) and one test engineer. At the moment we spend a lot of time working on devops/systems things when we should be shipping features for our customers. We need an engineer who can own the underlying systems stuff and find technical solutions to eliminate toil across the company.

In this job, your main responsibilities will include:

  • Developing and maintaining internal tools such as production dashboards and backup systems.
  • Working with off-the-shelf tools for building, testing and deploying our apps, such as Ansible configuration management and Jenkins CI test environment.
  • Maintaining and monitoring our staging and production fleet of around 200 (and growing) Linux VMs located around the world. For the avoidance of doubt, you won’t be responsible for looking after office IT, printers etc.
  • Sourcing and looking after vendor-supplied services e.g. VM hosting, monitoring, DNS, email delivery.
  • In general, if a task is too boring – find a way to automate it away.

You’ll get a fair amount of autonomy in your job, but we don’t want someone who will lock themselves in the basement and engineer everything in isolation.  The other developers will have to use, and sometimes maintain, the systems you’re responsible for, so it’ll all need to be version controlled, documented, and generally friendly for other people to work with. Where appropriate, we’d prefer you to use Python for developing internal tools, as that’s what we use to develop our products.

Typically we work well with people who’ve got a Computer Science degree and have been coding since at least their early teens. YMMV.  We prefer people who can communicate with humans as well as computers.

Speaking of which… all developers take rotating shifts as Developer on Support. For two weeks approximately every two months you’ll team up with an account manager to help our customers with their questions and problems. This means that, although you won’t be developing our products, you’ll need to know your way around them and generally know how to Internet.

Unfortunately being on support does also mean being on call. But calls/texts outside office hours are infrequent and if you do get called you get paid for it. Oh and don’t panic – you don’t get calls directly from customers.

You’ll be joining a group of developers who like going for lunches and drinking together – our city-centre office is super-convenient for nice lunch places and pubs.  We have grown-up things like Aeron chairs (or sofas to work on if that’s more your style), and you’ll get a decent Macbook Pro, or an equivalent Linux laptop if you prefer.

Hours and Salary

Full-time Monday-Friday is preferred for this role, but part-time Monday-Thursday is also possible. Currently all Delib’s engineers are part-time, with the option for scale-up days each month. We find that this arrangement suits our work/life/childcare/hangover requirements perfectly.

We’re offering £35k-£45k pro-rata depending on experience.

Closing date 31st June 2018

Contact Details

Sound interesting? Send us a covering letter and your CV to lorna@teamrubber.com.

We don’t place too much faith in CVs, the covering letter is really what we look at. If we like the look of yours we’ll get you in for a standard hiring interview.

We follow the HMG Baseline Personnel Security Standard and you will therefore need to satisfy basic eligibility criteria/certain conditions of employment (e.g. nationality rules/right to work); and provide appropriate documentation to verify ID, nationality, employment and/or academic history, criminal record (unspent convictions only).

No applications will be accepted via recruitment companies.

Cheers,

Andy (Director) and Jess (Developer)

 

We’re Hiring – Excellent Office Manager Wanted

Delib is a global digital democracy company of around 25 people, providing digital tools to connect citizens with government. We have staff based in central Bristol, Australia and New Zealand. We are a well-established and growing business. Here in Bristol we have a modern open plan office, which we share with our sister company.

We’re looking for an experienced office manager, who can nail the typical office management tasks, whilst being keen to take on extra challenges and responsibilities.

Typical Office Manager responsibilities:

  • Facilities management
  • Health & safety
  • Supplies and supplier management
  • General administration
  • Reception cover

Extra responsibilities:

  • Manage our devices (allocation, configuration and return)
  • Trouble-shoot Mac and other device issues for staff (you need to be tech savvy)
  • Human resources management and record maintenance
  • Manage various systems including password storage and supplier records
  • Calendar management for essential renewal dates and meetings
  • Manage the payroll and support the finance team as required
  • Work with the Information Security team to flag any risks, report and respond to security incidents and work to promote best practice.
  • Organise event bookings, trips, company away days and travel itineraries.
  • Be a master key-holder for the office and respond to emergency out-of-hours situations (this is just for our office floor, not the entire building)

You’ll have a big to do list and lots of autonomy and accountability. Your colleagues will be relying on you to keep all the plates spinning, so we need an excellent organiser. We have a welcoming and hard working team here; the working environment is open and friendly and you will work to support pretty much everyone across the company.

Delib is a registered company in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Due to differing time zones and being an emergency on-call contact for the building, you will need to be flexible and adapt your working hours to accommodate early morning and late evening work when needed (this is not very frequent but is a key part of the role).

In a nutshell, your role is to support the company and the people in it. Therefore, it is essential that you have a positive and helpful attitude so that the team feel comfortable asking you for help. You must be able to keep calm under pressure, problem solve and re-prioritise your workload at short notice.

Knowledge & Experience

  • 2 years of experience in a similar Office Manager role or with managing teams. You should have experience in a role with high levels of responsibility.
  • HR experience – dealing with sensitive HR processes/issues and being entrusted with confidential information.
  • Highly computer literate, specifically experience with using Apple Mac laptops would be beneficial. Must be very confident with setting up and using Excel and Word documents and generally proficient navigating systems and databases.
  • Confident and professional telephone manner.

Salary and benefits

  • This is a full-time position and we offer a salary of £22 – £26K per annum depending on experience.
  • 24 days of holiday, plus bank holidays.
  • Company pension scheme.
  • Enjoyable working environment in an excellent location.
  • Training budget.
  • Your own MacBook which you can take home if you wish.
  • Decent chairs and desk setup.
  • Fruit boxes delivered twice a week, bacon on Fridays and a kitchen packed with tea, coffee and snacks.

Recruitment Process

  • Initially, you may be invited to a phone interview, followed by a face to face interview and then a trial period in the office to give you a good feel for the role.
  • If you think you are the right person for this role, please send your cover letter and CV to Lorna@delib.net. We don’t accept applications without a cover letter.
  • We follow the HMG Baseline Personnel Security Standard and you will therefore need to satisfy basic eligibility criteria/certain conditions of employment (e.g. nationality rules/right to work); and provide appropriate documentation to verify ID, nationality, employment and/or academic history, criminal record (unspent convictions only).

 

Closing date: 30th May 2018 

We do not use or take calls from recruitment companies.

7 takeaways from our Edinburgh user group, April 2018

Last week, several members of the Delib gang headed out from our Bristol, England HQ and descended on Edinburgh, Scotland for the first Citizen Space & Dialogue user group of 2018. A great opportunity to meet some of our Scottish customers, hear how people are using our products and try haggis, naturally I jumped at the chance to go along.

For this user group, we were kindly hosted by the City of Edinburgh Council at their City Chambers headquarters. (Fans of the Avengers franchise may be as excited as I was to discover that the building makes a brief appearance in the latest film, Avengers: Infinity War. Not that I’m comparing the Delib team to the Avengers – but I bet you’ve never seen all of them/us in one room at the same time…)

Once we were over the grandeur of the building and had fuelled up on coffee, we got down to business. Here come some learnings I took away from the day:

1. GDPR compliance is the talk of the town
We heard from The City of Edinburgh Council about their extensive efforts to get ahead of the curve on GDPR compliance. Whilst they still have some things to tackle, it was clear from Emma Candy, the council’s Senior Policy and Insight Officer, that they have done some great prep.

She told us about how they’ve been collaborating closely with their Information Governance Unit to work out exactly how to archive and/or delete data from consultations in line with the new laws. And I can’t really not mention her appreciation for Citizen Space being GDPR-compliant, giving us some props for the work we’ve done to make sure that’s the case. (Thanks, Emma!)

2. Good practice needs cultural embedding
Sophie Marshall from Police Scotland’s Consultation and Engagement team told us about the ways they’re working to embed best practice within their organisation. For example, she talked about their commitment to ‘closing the response loop’ – making sure participants know what’s happened with their input at the end of an exercise.

She detailed the process they used in their 2026 strategy engagement exercise, which was spread over 10 weeks and split into a range of themes. She talked about how the flexibility of Citizen Space as a platform allowed them to both monitor outreach and manage internal needs in the same place. And she explained how the team are building a communications and engagement toolkit to educate staff on good consultation practice – so that it’s embedded in their culture and not a case of reinventing the wheel with each project.

This good practice includes encouraging proactive outreach and promotion of consultations – a habit which has already generated increased levels of responses.

3. The GDPR devil is in the details
Chris Connolly from the Scottish Government was determined not to let being ill stop her from helping people with GDPR! Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to join us on the day – but, in her absence, she still managed to send along a summary of her talk on everyone’s 4 favourite letters.

We kicked off a discussion around Chris’s suggestion that much of the purpose of GDPR isn’t new – a lot of it is simply about communicating how we store data. It became clear that people still aren’t quite sure on certain aspects of GDPR – which consent to seek when, for example, and whether or not it’s valuable to collect IP addresses – but it is generally understood that organisations must make sure they are collecting relevant information and handling it properly. Again, a consistent theme emerged from these conversations about the importance of forming organisational habits to handle data correctly once it is collected.

We were also pleased to hear from Chris’ colleague Lauren Tuckerman who kindly offered to tell us a bit about her work interning with the Scottish Government’s consultation team, which will form part of her PhD.

5. Centralising response data can have big benefits: from ease of use to response rates
We heard from Amber Souter at Food Standards Scotland about transitioning to running their consultations on a centralised digital platform. Compared with their previous methods of seeking consultation submissions via email or post, she said that switching to Citizen Space has led to increased response rates and a more professional feel to their engagement efforts.

When they needed to gather stakeholder views about a draft Regulatory Strategy, they had a wide audience to consult and Citizen Space’s ease of use and response publishing feature made it simple to engage people and feed back to them after.

5. Dialogue garners good ideas
Dialogue continues to be used in differing ways for some pretty cool ideas generating exercises. Delib colleague Natalie reported back on how the Isle of Man Government opened up an online conversation about their SAVE programme and HMCTS gave staff a voice on internal decisions. (My ears may have pricked up at this point as I’ve recently spoken with both organisations about their experiences using Dialogue!)

6. Experimenting & refining the approach to engagement is valuable
Kirsty Christie, Web and Digital Media Officer for Scottish Borders Council, told us how they’re using a trial and error approach to their use of Dialogue. Before, it was difficult to reach a broad spectrum of people due to a wide geographic spread in the area, but Dialogue allowed them to seek opinions online in a convenient and quick way. The communications team recognise the importance of getting the public involved in decision-making and found Dialogue to be an effective way to run quick experiments and test hypotheses. They found that contrary to their expectations, splitting their budget consultation out into discussions on specific topics and areas of interest did not boost response rates, so they’ve gone back to a more holistic approach of consulting on the budget as a whole piece.

7. Promote!
OK, this isn’t a new lesson but it’s a drum that always merits a bit more banging! In consultation, promotion is vital in engaging people. They can’t participate if they’ve never heard about the opportunity to get involved!

The folks at the Scottish Parliament – Ailsa Burn-Murdoch, Hayley Forrester and Steven Blyth – emphasised the importance of making consultation activity accessible and available to the public. The issues they’re dealing with can be complex and it’s vital to convey them to people in ways that they will be able to understand.

The Scottish Parliament chose to use Dialogue for their online engagement because it had been recommended by their peers (including the Welsh Assembly), and because it could gather views and opinions that wouldn’t be captured through other consultation activities. Similarly to Scottish Borders Council, they were also keen on the potential for a digital approach to more easily engage geographically disparate groups of people. They’ve been using Dialogue alongside offline outreach events, where they’ve found it’s added value and opened up more ways for people to get involved. They were also pleased to report that they’ve seen genuine discussion in the comments section of ideas!

So there we have it! User group number one of the year is complete and, as always, we learnt a lot from it. There’s just no substitute for hearing these at-the-coalface accounts of people’s experiences, so thanks very much to all the attendees and especially the speakers.

If you’re interested to see what people in your field are doing and are a user of Citizen Space or Dialogue, why not come along to our next one? It’s set to take place in Northern Ireland in September and we’ll release details closer to the time. If that’s too far away, we also have a training session at our Bristol HQ in July; there’s a handful of spaces still available but they’ll go quickly!

Introducing our newest Account Manager: Jessie Ashmore

Jessie AshmoreIn the least humble-braggy way possible, we do just keep on collecting more customers – so we’re delighted to bring another Account Manager on board to help look after them all!  Our newest recruit is Jessie, joining the team in our HQ in Bristol, UK. We talked to her about democracy, dodgers, dogs – and a contentious use of McFlurries:

 

What’s your name and where are you from?

HIYA, I’m Jessie Ashmore and I have lived everywhere… North, Midlands, South but now I’m very happily based in Bristol. My only regret is that I will probably never pick up an amazing Northern accent.

Favourite band and/or artist?

This is tricky because I basically like everything as long as I can (badly) sing along to it. For me, music is so mood-dependent but I usually listen to Kiss in my car – because feeling like you’re in a music video while you drive is a real thing, right?

Creature of habit or maverick thinker?

Routine bores me so I’d say maverick thinker. I dip my McDonald’s chips in my McFlurry (which is absolutely life-changing if anyone hasn’t tried it). But equally, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. (Stop trying to make chicken sausages a thing!)

You get mysteriously transported to a desert island, with only time to grab a couple of precious things to take with you. What makes the ‘keep’ list?

Kindle (always), my housemates (can they count as one thing?) and flip-flops because there is nothing worse than not being prepared for sand.

Biscuits – dunk or leave unsullied?

Now this very much depends on the biscuit. Chocolate hobnob: dunk. Bourbon: unsullied. Rich tea: dunk. Jammie Dodger: unsullied. I could go on!

Before joining Delib, how did you put bread on the table?

For six months prior to joining Delib, I worked in recruitment. I specialised in recruiting within the logistics sector across the South West. Before this, I worked as an Account Manager for a national waste management company so there isn’t anything I don’t know about recycling and flat-packed cardboard!

Why did you want to join Delib?

For lots of reasons! I think the people are great and after realising I’d talked about bins for so long being surrounded by great people, I knew that my colleagues were always going to be a really important part of any job. Striving towards a better, more democratic public sector approach to public communication is so important – why wouldn’t anyone want to be a part of that? Oh, and we get bacon every Friday!

Any shout-outs, comments or other musings?

To clarify the earlier question, biscuits are a pretty important topic for me so shout if you want me to run through my top 10… With explanations! Oh and I like dogs, more than I like people and biscuits… Put together.

Should you want to take Jessie up on that offer, or ask her a question about, say, effective online public consultation, you can follow her on the ol’ Twitter or drop her an email.

Casting the net wide: how the Environment Agency increased participation through online consultation

With declining salmon stocks in many English rivers, the Environment Agency needed to develop options to reduce the take of salmon by anglers and net fisheries.

As part of a wider project aiming to increase marine survival and tackle water quality and quantity, barriers to migration and poor in-river habitat, they wanted to seek views from those who would be affected by proposed new measures, to understand what impacts and benefits the changes would have.

These groups were varied and dispersed, from angling clubs to non-governmental angling organisations to netsmen with licences all around the country. EA’s aim was to reach a broad spectrum of people and so they chose to use Citizen Space.

Photo: Jason Dale

Previously, in order to consult people, the Environment Agency would have put a paper to regional fishery committees – who represented different groups – for feedback, as well as using local angling forums as a way of people giving their views. This was limiting as the reach was not as wide as it could have been and it meant that people weren’t able to get involved at an individual level.

With the increase in technology, social media and online activity in the past 10 years, digital platforms like Citizen Space have proven really useful in opening up participation to geographically diverse groups.

For EA, this meant that those who would be affected by changes in byelaws could help to develop measures that would form them, creating more of a bottom-up approach to consultation.

People from all over the country will travel far and wide to fish salmon; Citizen Space gave them all the opportunity to participate and created an atmosphere of transparency around the exercise. The feedback was representative of large groups of people, with over 1,100 responses given.

The proposed changes were, at times, incredibly detailed; the ability to include documents throughout the consultation, at the point of question, was invaluable in allowing people to make informed comments and suggestions. Participants were able to fully understand the situation and the potential consequences of the issues being consulted on.

Enabling people to give views on their phones and tablets as well as laptops made responding easy and accessible which led to increased numbers of participants. It also meant that people were more likely to give a quick answer showing their support, which gave a balanced view of how people felt about the proposed measures.

People are often more likely to engage with something if they are opposed to it, but the ease of giving feedback meant that people who wouldn’t necessarily log on to a computer could quickly express their support using their mobile phone. Even a two word response is more valuable than someone just not getting involved at all and Citizen Space provided the platform for light-touch as well as more in-depth feedback.

The surveys were intentionally lengthy to include all of the information in one place. Though they covered a vast range of fisheries in many different parts of the country, the Environment Agency chose to have all of the options covered in one consultation. Being able to split topics down into different sections of the survey meant that people were able to dip into the ones that were relevant without having to trawl through sections that didn’t apply to them. This kept response rates high and there was not much of a drop-off rate throughout the consultation. The last few questions saw response rates of around 80%, showing that most people remained engaged throughout.

The consultation was put together by The National Salmon Programme team. This was the first time they had set up an online consultation, and the first time they had used Citizen Space. They told us they found the system intuitive and easy to use, making the whole process straightforward. They could work collaboratively on different parts and were able to update documents in real-time once the consultation was already live, meaning it was completely up to date at all times.

The results of the consultation have fed into new proposed byelaws which have now been formally advertised, again using Citizen Space.

Manx views: refreshing public involvement on the Isle of Man

We recently got to chat with the Isle of Man Government about how they changed the way they communicated with citizens using Dialogue. Here’s what they told us:

The Isle of Man Government is continuing to modernise the way it interacts with citizens, as part of a commitment to openness and transparency.

Embracing digital media, enhancing web-based services and inviting public feedback via a new consultation hub are encouraging more people to have their say on important issues and to conduct their business with Government online.

Credit: Andy North

Many of the Island’s residents are active online, with an estimated 60% signed up to Facebook. A lot of discussion of political issues takes place on digital media channels and online forums and Government was keen to provide an official platform for people to air their views.

The Isle of Man Government first used Dialogue to help generate broad public engagement in its Securing Added Value and Efficiencies (SAVE) project. It was considered a good way to connect with the public in a space that could be monitored and regulated and where ideas could be formally recognized, reported and acted upon.

People were invited to submit ideas to help Government achieve multi-million pound budget savings and deliver public services more effectively.

The response was overwhelming. By the end of the first week the Dialogue site had 414 registered users who submitted 401 ideas and 770 comments. One individual contributed no fewer than 80 ideas during the course of the challenge – a level of engagement the SAVE team had not expected.

People also used the Dialogue site to communicate with one another and to collaborate on their ideas. Submissions could be refined and improved by combining suggestions. 

Screenshot of Isle of Man Dialogue

The SAVE team opted to moderate posts, but found that the site was largely self-policing and the conversation was mostly constructive.

A weekend working rota enabled responses to be checked outside of normal office hours. This proved particularly helpful as people were very engaged on Sunday evenings – possibly on account of being on their ‘downtime’, when they had an opportunity to really think about their ideas.

People could also feedback to the SAVE initiative on postcards and cut-out coupons from the local newspaper. Postcards were available at public locations around the Island and members of the SAVE team were on hand to encourage participation and answer specific questions.

Postcard and coupon responses were input to the Dialogue site, so that they could be viewed and commented upon by the majority of people who were contributing online.

The manual responses were not as detailed as those submitted online, suggesting that people found it easier to share ideas on the Dialogue site and were perhaps deliberating over matters more when they could provide their ideas in a considered way.

Users may have also been more engaged using the Dialogue tool where ideas and comments are shared, unlike conventional methods where suggestions are submitted in isolation.

By the deadline, there were more than 1,300 responses and over 2,300 comments – a fantastic result in terms of public engagement.

The Isle of Man team updated the site to confirm the exercise had closed and to inform people about the next steps in terms of assessing the ideas and selecting a number for further consideration.

Several suggestions submitted the SAVE challenge via the Dialogue site are currently being developed in partnership with the relevant Government Departments.

The Isle of Man Government is using Dialogue again to generate public feedback and ideas to improve road safety.

It has also been inspired by HM Courts and Tribunals’ use of Dialogue to generate internal staff suggestions and may consider a similar challenge to improve staff engagement in the future.

Overall, the Isle of Man Government’s experience of Dialogue has been an extremely positive one.

https://consult.gov.im

www.gov.im/consultation

Twitter – @IOMDigitaleng

‘Growing Ideas That Matter’: giving employees a voice at HMCTS

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is committed to giving its employees different ways of expressing their views within their organisation. This is fundamentally about giving employees a voice and seeing them as central to coming up with ideas and solutions to improve the way that HMCTS works. Employee voice is one of the key pillars of HMCTS’ approach to employee engagement; through the many channels that employees have to give their views, HMCTS hopes to create an environment where people feel engaged and committed to their work. HMCTS wants people to be able to suggest ideas that matter and that will be put in to practice to help the organisation be more effective in delivering justice.

Previously, HMCTS had tried a ‘Bright Ideas’ scheme, where people could suggest ideas by filling out a form on an internal intranet page. However, there was a perception that ideas would often sit on the platform and not be actioned, falling into an organisational ‘black hole’ with no feedback given and little sense of transparency. HMCTS wanted to enhance the way people could put forward their ideas for improvements and change to show staff that their opinions really did matter. 

They ran a survey to see what sort of scheme people would like and to gain insight into what employees wanted out of it; how they would want it to work and what they thought it should be called. A colleague suggested a working group that could work on ideas for functionality, a name, a logo and who could represent the wider HMCTS team. They looked at a few different systems and consulted cross-government networks to see what other departments were using for this type of exercise. 

They were aware of the Ministry of Justice’s Dialogue site, which had proven to be a huge success when used for a pioneering public engagement exercise (asking how to best allocate a fund provided by the government to support victims of male rape and sexual abuse). This challenge received so many thoughtful and constructive responses via the Dialogue platform that funding was reviewed and increased as a result, helping victims across the country through new support networks. HMCTS saw this success and the level of participation the challenge received, and through the outcomes of their working group and survey found that Dialogue fitted all of their criteria for functionality.

Using Dialogue, they created a new site called ‘Growing Ideas That Matter’, using an acorn growing into a tree as the logo to represent the idea of conversations developing. Ideas can start small and be built upon by everyone involved until a workable and beneficial proposal is generated. The team is making it as easy as possible for staff to get involved, encouraging people to contribute at any time, even on the bus on the way home from work using shortcuts on their phone. With responsive design, Dialogue has allowed employees to access challenges from anywhere, on any device, meaning conversations can carry on continuously. 

Under the previous scheme staff became frustrated at the lack of organisational response to ideas that were being submitted. This led to people taking to other channels to raise issues that were often off topic and therefore lost. HMCTS set up their new Dialogue in a way that would encourage genuine and positive interaction.

To ensure there is clear ownership, employees registering on Dialogue are asked to enter their name in a certain format. This is monitored to ensure people are commenting on ideas as themselves, which improves the quality of conversations. The underlying rule for suggestions is to make them count, make them matter, and to own them. 

New challenges are posted every four weeks and members of the Senior Leadership Team have been allocated as sponsors for them, commenting on ideas and ensuring the conversation is heard, and acted on where possible. Teams also have ‘team information board’ meetings where they can talk about issues with one person in charge of posting it on Dialogue and monitoring the level of response it receives. With 450 locations across the country, this has proven to be a great virtual workshop for geographically dispersed colleagues to have meaningful discussions. 

HMCTS has found that the new notifications function in Dialogue has enhanced conversations by keeping people updated on the ideas they have submitted. The single notification per day means that people can keep up-to-date on how their ideas are moving forwards, without being overwhelmed by email updates.

The current challenge is to gather ideas around updating internal guidance and it’s working well. The success of using Dialogue has already led to some ideas being taken forward and organisational changes which may have gone otherwise unheard and is helping HMCTS employees to feel valued and able to have a genuine input in improving their place of work.

“Dialogue has given HMCTS a platform to build our engagement and help take a broad spectrum of ideas and experience into account when delivering change. We feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface of what we could achieve with Dialogue and are excited to see where this leads.”
Lauren Waters, Customer Innovation Manager, HMCTS

We’re hiring – Excellent Account Manager wanted

Delib is growing, we have more new customers so we’re hiring for a new member of the team. We’re looking for a new full-time Account Manager to join us at our civic tech software company in central Bristol.

100+ government organisations around the world use our products to consult the public and involve citizens in decision-making. Your job will be to retain and grow that customer base by building relationships, identifying new opportunities for people to use our tools and services, and by providing fantastic support and training to our current users.

This role is equal-parts reactive and proactive work: often, you’ll be responding to incoming technical enquiries or helping admin users when they flag up an issue. However, it’s also essential that you’re able to actively go out and engage with our customers and market. We need you to have an eye for new business, an understanding of how to expand a network and an enthusiasm for introducing more people to what we do. You will be a part of moving Delib forward.

You’ll be responsible for ensuring customers are happy, retained and would refer us on to other organisations. If we get this right, it’s an all-round win: we’re happy, our customers like working with us, and together we’re helping citizens connect better with decision-making.

Delib is a small company (there are about 20 of us in the whole team) and account management is key to the business – sitting between our customers, sales, and software development.

A ‘typical day’ is varied and isn’t always ‘typical’: it might involve meeting with our developers in the morning, solving issues for our customers, speaking with them to ensure their needs are met and that they are happy, and more. Alternatively, you might find yourself in Whitehall visiting government departments, flying up to Edinburgh to present at a conference, or over to Belfast to train a team. To do this role, you need to be driven, inquisitive and open-minded. You need to be happy to be flexible to ensure that customer needs are met. We are looking for people who search out opportunities to make things better and who get things done.

You’ll need to learn product knowledge and also, in time, become an expert in the market we work with – digital in government. It helps if you have a hook of interest in Delib – whether it’s an interest in democracy, in digital, or just generally in doing a worthwhile job. We have colleagues in Australia and New Zealand and we often work with public sector organisations in Canada and the US as well, so your days will be nicely varied.

We will expect you to:

  • Be responsible for a specific set of our customers, and also assist our other account managers as needed.
  • Maintain and deepen the account relationship and ensure we retain the customer
  • Communicate with customers by phone, email, and face to face
  • Deliver product training, both face-to-face sessions and web-based screen-shares.
  • Work with sales colleagues and developers to take customers through our on-boarding process.
  • Build profile with our customers and the wider digital democracy/gov community by sharing news and thinking at events, via Twitter, blog posts, presentations etc.
  • Identify and grow opportunities within existing accounts where additional products/services can be useful to the customer.
  • Manage feedback on product improvement.
  • Help resolve support and account admin issues.
  • Work with the production team to get customers’ needs met; be able to understand and translate technical queries between customer/developers and vice-versa.
  • Seek references, recommendations & case study opportunities from customers.
  • Be aware of legal frameworks and statutory information pertinent to our products

To be considered for this role, you almost certainly will have worked in account or project management for at least a couple of years, with a good understanding of how the job works. We’re not looking for a fresh graduate (although we do hire those for other roles) or anyone else who needs the basics explained, so please don’t apply if that sounds like you.

We need you to be good with words and have a desire to learn. This is a consultative role, so warmth and personality count for a lot. All our jobs are pretty autonomous, so you’ll also have to be self-motivated, positive and determined.

Working with other time zones means, sometimes, your hours will shift (your day won’t always be a conventional 9-5:30).

Our office is a professional-yet-relaxed open plan environment. We’re a small, smart, hard-working team and you’ll be working closely with our team of account and territory managers, senior sales consultants, developers and marketers.

We’re offering a starting salary of £27-30k depending on experience.

If this sounds good to you, please get in touch. Send us a cover letter (to Jayne@delib.net) and your CV. We’re more interested in covering letters than in CVs. If we like the look of yours, we’ll get you in for a standard hiring interview. Closing date for applications is Wednesday 11th April at 12pm.

We follow the HMG Baseline Personnel Security Standard and you will therefore need to satisfy basic eligibility criteria/certain conditions of employment (e.g. nationality rules/right to work); and provide appropriate documentation to verify ID, nationality, employment and/or academic history, criminal record (unspent convictions only).

Recruitment companies – we don’t need help recruiting for this role and won’t accept applications via recruiters, thanks

Citizen Space v3.8 release announcement

Our latest Citizen Space release is here and as always it includes a handful of new features as well as some smaller, business-as-usual improvements to enhance security or fix minor bugs.

What’s new:

“Consultation completion” checkbox
There’s a new optional feature called “Consultation completion” which allows a consultation owner to indicate once they’ve finished working with the data and all work on that consultation is complete. When switched on, this tool appears on the consultation dashboard.

This feature was requested by the Scottish Government and is designed to help administrators from all organisations manage data retention periods. By logging the date that all work was completed on the consultation, it means your organisation will now have a record of how long it’s holding data for, making it easier to keep in line with data protection guidelines.

Automatic logout for internal admins after one month
To strengthen the security of Citizen Space, we’ve added an automatic logout period. Your internal admins’ log-in sessions will now expire one month after they last used Citizen Space. This time period is configurable so we can reduce it for your site if need be — if you’d like to make it a shorter time period, please get in touch with your account manager.

Changes to suspended users
Suspended users will now see an on-screen message telling them that their account has been suspended if they try to log in.

This message is editable by site admins, so your organisation can provide guidance about who users should contact if they want to get their profile reinstated. They will also no longer appear in the drop-down list of potential owners on the Manage Consultations page.

Improved reliability for response exports
A couple of customers with a high number of responses to their consultations recently experienced a problem exporting the spreadsheet of all responses. They found that the export would time out without letting them know that the request had failed. We’ve made some changes to the process so that the export is much more reliable, especially for consultations with a high number of responses, and the user will now be shown an update in real time of how many responses Citizen Space has added to the export so far.

Google Analytics removed from admin pages
A customer got in contact asking how they could filter out Citizen Space admin pages when viewing their Google Analytics data. We’ve changed Citizen Space so that only its public-facing pages will appear in Google Analytics data from now on, enabling you to concentrate on the more useful data about what your respondents have been up to on the site.

In other news…

Some helpful hints on GDPR
As you’re probably aware, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect in May this year. We’ve been busy doing prep work and have put together a list of useful resources that might come in handy when getting to grips with the new legislation.

Welcome to some new Citizen Space customers
In the last couple of months we’ve welcomed Scottish Water, the UK General Optical Council and the UK Gambling Commission to the ranks of our 90+ Citizen Space customers around the world.

Featured consultation

Talking of the Scottish capital, Edinburgh City Council recently opened a public consultation on a proposed new tram line in the north of the city. Running until 29 April, the consultation is well-presented with images embedded throughout and a nice example of the Events tool in action on the overview page.

You can keep up to date with other public consultations running in Citizen Space by visiting the Citizen Space Aggregator.

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