Insights from across the pond – Everyone is defaulting digital

Digital government goals are not just something that federal agencies in the US are striving for. In the UK, any new or redesigned service introduced after April 2014 will also have to meet a new Digital by Default standard.

The Guardian notes, "Making the billion annual transactions between government, citizens and businesses "digital by default" will see accelerated savings, as more driving test bookings, tax payments and other government-related transactions go online."

But implementing a Digital by Default mandate is easier said than done.That is where GovDelivery's annual UK Digital Communications event comes to the rescue. 

During the event you can hear from private sector thought leaders and public sector experts, including some of your most successful peers in government, who will provide insightful communication strategies and tactics that you can use to drive customer actions and help you meet channel shift and mission goals.

Mary Yang is a Senior Communications Manager at GovDelivery. She sat down with me for a quick Q&A to discuss what the annual summit offers:

When and where can I find the event?

  • The physical event location will be the National Audit Office in London, but for those of us stateside who don’t have the budget to jet off across the Atlantic (like myself), we’re also offering a livestream of  the conference. Register for that here, and you’ll be emailed a confirmation with a link to the livestream.

I am in the states, can I still listen to the archived content?

  • Absolutely. Once we get the video from the livestream, we’ll break it up into sessions and post the session recording and slide deck to our UK website. We’ll also be blogging about the event in the next few weeks, so you can take in each session in smaller doses. Sign up for updates when those posts go live, here.

What does collaborative communications mean?

  • For public sector organizations (or, rather, organizations), there’s an amazing ability to work together to meet mission goals. There are many agencies with missions that are closely aligned, and also many agencies with overlapping stakeholder groups. For instance, in the UK, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) – a Central Government authority – has a mission to promote “safe driving for life.” If you’re in West Sussex County, this message and mission is going to resonate with you, especially if you have a teenager who’s just learning how to drive. It benefits West Sussex County Council to promote the DSA’s content, and vice versa.

How can you use them to optimize your communications?

  • Working together with other organization helps UK authorities reach the stakeholders they want and need to reach more easily. By offering up content from other public sector agencies – and having those agencies share your content – you can spend less time and energy on trying to build an audience or figuring out what kind of content they want. With this kind of system, they opt in and choose the information that’s important to them. There’s inherent optimization in this process.

Can you give me some examples of collaborative communications in this way?

  • One great example is the Office of National Statistics (ONS). They were using a private sector communications solution but found that they just weren’t reaching people the way they wanted to with digital communications. That’s where we were able to help them. The GovDelivery platform makes it super easy for government organizations to connect with each other and promote content to stakeholders.
  • For ONS, this meant that they could receive stakeholder subscriptions for their communications from other government agencies, such as Parliament, Health Safety Executive, the Met Office, the Food Standards Agency, and others. In October, ONS saw 662% of their new subscribers coming from this kind of collaboration! They even wrote about this success on their blog.

What can attendees expect to take away from the event?

  • When I’m attending an event, I look forward to learning from people who’ve been in my shoes. So, I think the most exciting part of the event for attendees will be the peer case studies. We’ve got an amazing line-up of government speakers this year, including Carl Haggerty from Devon County Council, who recently won the excellence in Leadership award from the Guardian in its Public Service Awards. And we’ll have Neil Williams from Government Digital Service, the agency that manages the GOV.UK portal, which has been a massive hit for digital government communications. I’m excited to hear about what they’ve done and what they’re planning to do in 2014 to push government communications forward.

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