Govcamp is into its 11th year and we were happy to be sponsors again this year. This meant we had two spaces to attend for the day so Louise and I went along to get stuck in. Here are 6 notable things that happened while we were there:

  1. My train was so delayed that I missed the session pitches, but luckily Louise was there on time and is a Govcamp veteran so was able to fill me in (Craig David style) when I arrived. I grabbed a quick coffee and got into the swing of things.
  2. I learnt a bit more about the ‘women in tech’ movement. My first session was on this subject and what is being done in different organisations to ensure that women are empowered and have equal opportunities. I was interested in this, still being fairly new to this industry and having come from a publishing background where two of the directors of the company were female and most of the editorial team was made up of women. It was really encouraging to see a very diverse group in the room and to hear that in most organisations, things are actively being done to ensure women and men have parity in the workplace and that women are well represented in tech roles.
  3. It became clear that people are very passionate about tech and digital not just being in London in the session appropriately named ‘#NotJustLondon’. People from all over the UK were in attendance to tell tales of all the good that is being done in their organisations in Yorkshire, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Manchester, Cardiff and, indeed, Bristol, Delib’s UK office hometown. We discussed how companies need to make it easy for people to be able to apply for jobs and work remotely, or from other offices, so that tech opportunities extend beyond the M25.
  4. There was an excellent lunch. Sometimes at events the lunch can be underwhelming. Not at Govcamp. Triangle sandwiches with loads of different fillings, cartons of apple and orange juice, fresh fruit. Did you even go to a work event if you don’t review the lunch offering afterwards? That’s a rhetorical question.
  5. We talked all things social media. Steph Gray from Helpful Digital wanted to get people’s views on social media at work but also in people’s personal lives, because he wanted some tips for how to deal with it at home with children who are reaching an age where social media could start to take a bit of a hold. It was really interesting to hear about people’s Twitter feeds becoming ‘polluted’ with celebrity news and overt political opinions and how that was affecting their experience/interest in it as a platform. People seemed to think that maybe Twitter was ‘over’. I thought this was a shame because in my experience, your Twitter/Instagram/Facebook feed can always be what you want them to be. If you don’t want to hear about celebrities, don’t follow them! It was also intriguing to hear about people’s experience of social media at work, with some companies being very particular about what their staff are allowed to share and others having slightly painful situations to deal with in their communications roles that involve using Twitter. The general consensus, both at work and in people’s personal lives, was to approach social media with a healthy dose of common sense. 
  6. I had a glimpse into the phenomenon that is Weeknotes! There were a group of people who knew each other from their Twitter and Medium activity around Weeknotes (see, Twitter’s not dead!), a weekly round-up blog post of what people have done with their time. It’s a chance to share triumphs and low-points with people and is a cathartic way of summarising a week’s activity. Support can be found where it may not have been before and a network of people has grown out of it, a self-professed ‘cult’. I am going to start my own (at some point, when I get around to it) since I love to write and am in a new role so want to share what I’m doing with people. Watch this space…

Govcamp provides a great chance for people to meet up and discuss/ponder/chat/vent about all things public sector and digital. For people to come together on a Saturday for the event means that it is a truly passionate bunch of people who just want things to work better. We had a great time and will look forward to next year’s event!