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Getting together to talk digital

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Intranet and staff tools

A couple of weeks ago the team here at MOJ DS hosted 'Sprint Justice', an interactive event about the future of digital in the justice sector. We had a fantastic turnout with over 200 delegates from MOJ, Whitehall and small and medium enterprises joining us to ‘talk digital’.

The event started with Justice Secretary Chris Grayling who highlighted the progress the team here have made and how he sees digital being a central part of the future of the Ministry of Justice. Minister Simon Hughes then spoke about his personal experience using digital tools, and how important it is to design services that are simple and intuitive for people to use.

Paul Shetler, our Chief Digital Officer, then spoke about how services in the justice system will be built from now on: using agile project management to build world-class, user-centred services that are both quick and affordable.

Agile teams aim to achieve set goals within agreed time-frames, so it is very different to traditional project management and procurement. Agile uses regular ‘sprints’: short and self-contained segments of work – each usually lasting no longer than a couple of weeks – with a clear focus. This allows us to come up with collaborative solutions to fresh challenges, and create numerous iterations to hone and refine the product. The result? High-quality services rapidly delivered to standards that meet users’ expectations.

Public Guardian Alan Eccles gave his personal experience of using agile in practice to deliver the online lasting powers of attorney tool. Alan’s presentation was inspiring and the workshop that followed was also popular – leaving everyone enthused and wanting to learn more about the project.

Other workshops included a session on open policy-making, and an introduction to how open internet tools can change the way we work. We talked about Evernote, Trello, and Doodle, three tools we’ve adopted after speaking to more than 50 members of staff across MOJ HQ about their day-to-day work. Paul Kett, Director of Justice Reform, appeared on video to explain why he found Evernote especially useful. Open internet tools can change the way we all work for the better at little or no cost to the taxpayer.

The event closed with a speech by Mike Bracken, Executive Director of Government Digital Services. Mike explained how GDS was formed following Martha Lane-Fox’s report and Francis Maude’s response to it. He talked about how the digital agenda must go beyond “no more big IT” – there has to be an accompanying culture change to “no more big IT thinking”.

The event was a great success with lots of networking, cake and positive energy and I hope that people came away with a better understanding of what we’re doing for both the public and the department.

If you attended then we would love to know what you thought? If you weren’t able to make it, then watch this space to find out what we’re up to, or follow us on Twitter @MOJDigital.

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