Previously, at UKGovcamp…

A new season of the blockbuster series ‘Govcamp’ launches on Saturday, so here’s a refresher of what happened in the last episode

Govcamp session pitching (photo by David Pearson)

Govcamp is like a whirlwind on the day, with hundreds of interesting people, 40 different sessions, and lots to talk about.

In advance of this year’s camp, I thought it would be useful to have a refresher of the main plot-lines from last time — so we can build on the energy and momentum, and move the story on from where we left off.

I‘ve included links to the session notes and/or blogs about the sessions where I could find them.

So, here’s what happened — previously on Govcamp…

A new guest star

Clare Moriarty chatting to a delegate at Govcamp (photo by David Pearson)

Early episodes starred mostly digital folk, so it caused a buzz when a new kind of cast member joined the show last year. Clare Moriarty is the Permanent Secretary at Defra, and didn’t just make a brief cameo — she stayed the whole day and even pitched & led a session on ‘making government open by design’. Everyone really appreciated a senior civil service leader getting actively involved. She later blogged about the experience.

But this was just the most visible sign of a wider trend — there was a higher proportion of non-’digital’ folk at govcamp, meaning that the message is going mainstream.


Alex Jackson led a session on government procurement, which she wrote up in a blog after the event. It was a very well attended session with buyers and suppliers alike finding plenty of frustrations to raise — many in common.


There was a really productive session on gender diversity, which resulted in a blog with a list of very practical tips. Another session looked at attracting BAME talent to tech.

Conversational UIs, chatbots and webchat

This session focused on sharing experiences, resulting in some useful and interesting notes.

Blameless post-mortems / Agile mindset

It was discussed how important it is to create safe spaces to be able to reflect and learn, and not simply apply agile techniques by the book. Another session on governance of agile projects was related to this.


People got together and shared recommendations for great books!

Recognition and Reward

A really important session on a tough problem in the public sector. What can leaders do to shore up the morale of their teams, while budget is so restricted?

Being a civil servant in the current political climate

If being willing to attend conferences on a Saturday wasn’t enough to show the dedication of civil servants, then this session really did prove the case. Stories were exchanged of the stresses of trying to work in user-focused, evidence-led ways in an ideologically-driven environment. But this wasn’t moaning — it was a very practical discussion of what should be done, ethically and practically.


A selection of experts, including a penetration tester, shared insights on where security weaknesses often occur, and there was discussion of the right balance with user experience.

Archiving digital government

This is an increasingly hot topic — how to balance the requirement on the civil service to maintain good records for compliance, historical purposes, and making future work easier and more efficient, with the diverse spread of digital information sources it now has. The session covered the scope of the problem, whether things like Slack or should be archived, and how information could be usefully retrieved if it was archived.

I’ve summarised the sessions above with the best notes, or blog posts, but you can view all the sessions from the last episode of Govcamp on this spreadsheet. Scroll down to see the ones from 2017, and you can even scroll back to previous years.

If you’re thinking of proposing a session it’s well worth searching in this sheet to see how that topic has been raised in the past, and considering how your pitch could move the discussion on.

Convivio is a digital agency that brings people together. We design and build digital services for government in a highly collaborative way.

If you’re coming to Govcamp drop by our stand in the sponsor area to pick up some healthy snacks to keep you energised during the day.

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