Director of Digital Engagement – Cabinet Office.

Posted on 17th February 2009 by

I’ve always thought encouraging the active use of social media in government is a patient game. Culture change takes time and asking people to start listening in new ways, joining new conversations, collaborating with new people is a substantial culture change.  What it can lead to is a step change again.

Fortunately the Cabinet Office is quite impatient to see progress. They are looking for a Director of Digital Engagement (salary £81,000 – £160,000) who will take on “a new role charged with getting Government to work differently.

This will require Government and individual departments to change the way they do business – from consulting citizens to collaborating with them on the development of policy and how public services are delivered to them. It will involve supporting Ministers and senior officials in entering conversations in which Government does not control the message or the dialogue.

Within six months the Head of Digital Engagement will have developed a strategy and implementation plan and be able to show concrete signs of momentum in executing the plan.

Within a year the Head of Digital Engagement should be able to point to two departments whose use of digital engagement are recognised in the digital community as being world class

Within two years the use of world class digital engagement techniques should be embedded in the normal work of Government”

Umh. Is Tom Loosemore really ready to leave 4ip or perhaps Richard Allan wants a change from Cisco?  Steph Gray from Dius has already begun thinking about what this “poor soul” should do first and with uservoice has begun voting on just that problem (No 1 appears to be promote the use of small contracts and contractors for govt IT). Even Jeff  Jarvis noted the job. So there’s some names. Who else do you think ought to be sharpening their pencil?

Update: 1 Dominic Campbell fleshes out the role: “the Digi Director must also avoid becoming embedded in government and spend as much time out and about as possible, out with the policy makers, politicians and social innovators. They will also need uber executive back up from somewhere in government to make the change happen, with experiences such as those of the recently ex-civil servant Jeremy Gould highlighting the distance the government still has to travel before it truly gets the web and is willing to invest appropriate amounts of time and attention in it.”

2 I fear that Dave Briggs coinage of blogging tsar might catch on. Twould be a shame.

3 A campaign, begun to get the job for darrenbbc, as already had cold watered poured on it by Tom Watson. Sheesh – the job applications will be crowd sourced, why not teh job itself!

4 Paul Evans toys with the Robin Williams problem, do ‘they’ really want to be that engaging.

3 Responses to Director of Digital Engagement – Cabinet Office.

  1. On one level, it’s a lot of money – the application pack puts the starting salary at £120k. But for the highest fliers, that’s probably a pay cut, and maybe too big a cut to stomach.

    A couple of other names to throw in: maybe DJ Collins, European comms director at Google, a man with good Labour connections. Or Ashley Highfield, ex BBC, although he’s just started a new job at Microsoft.

    But the election date looms large over this. The opinion polls would suggest that you’ll start working for one boss, then suddenly have someone else coming along midway through. That’s going to put a lot of people off.

  2. Nick Booth says:

    Interesting. One person I reckon would have the brains, tact and gravitas to get peoples attention in the right places would be Stephen Fry. Think on.

  3. Andy Mabbett says:

    Heaven forbid that this job might stop Stephen Fry doing the things he already does.

    Are we all sure that Jo Geary is really off to The Times?

    Seriously: I haven’t seen one woman’s name put forward.

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