Weeknote: 4 to 8 April 2022

3d printer printing a tiny white plastic boat
My son assembled a 3d printer for his birthday

What did you enjoy?

I joined in with a Twitter chat under the hashtag #StartWithPeople, as a precursor to a virtual conference coming up on 28 April. Over the years I have seen some good practice in inclusive user-centred design and different ways of bringing people into national NHS decision-making, but there’s so much more that we could do, and I have lots to learn from people who are experts in this.

It was also publication week for Ben Goldacre’s review into the uses of health data for research and analysis. I wasn’t involved in this work, but found it a great read, with some inspiring principles and practical recommendations around openness and safety.

From Monday through to Thursday, the Digital Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) transformation programme for which I am Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) was subject to a gateway review. It’s a credit to the review team, made up of delivery leaders from other government departments, that I put this under the “enjoy” category. In retrospect, we made the reviewers work harder than necessary. If the review had come a few weeks later, we’d have given them a more complete picture to assess. Despite this, their insights and recommendations were incredibly helpful and sensitively delivered. See also, what I learned.

What was hard?

My team are working to support a changing service model in UEC. That takes careful navigation to meet both the policy intent for the service, and what’s right from a digital and tech strategy point of view. I think we found a good way forward by the end of the week, but I know this isn’t easy, and am grateful to the colleagues working together to set some new work up for success. It was timely for this Government Service Manual guidance to come out this week: Understanding and meeting policy intent

What did you learn?

I put two sticky notes on the virtual board in our Friday morning team retrospective. The first building on my learning from last week’s prioritisation activity, the second around the gateway review:

  1. While everyone else is willing Digital UEC to succeed, we must be our own toughest critics
  2. We can control the clock on governance gates and make the process work for us.

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