Hi, I’m Azrael Grey – an analyst in HMRC digital’s Cyber Security Team. Have you ever spent a long time trying to solve a problem, only to find out later somebody else has already solved it? Don’t you wish you could have known that before you spent all that time? I know I do.
That’s why I and twelve other intrepid civil servants from across government met earlier this month to form the Yorkshire and Humber Digital Network. Hosted by Civil Service Local, the idea was to promote digital collaboration across departments throughout the region. Basically, we wanted to learn from one another.
Our first meeting
From the get-go, we found we were all facing (or had faced) a lot of the same challenges. For example we learnt HMRC, The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are all transitioning to Office 365 – a suite of collaboration tools. Yet we also learnt there hadn’t been much communication between our departments - at least not at our level. We were doing the same things in isolation.
We realised how much HMRC could learn about using Skype from DWP, and how much we both could learn from CPS about Team in Office 365. Just from this one meeting, it was clear how much we can help one another. We’ve also formed cross-departmental links which as time goes on and relationships develop we’ll be able to use and all benefit from as a result.
So, if you’re battling with a problem, look for someone else who’s in the same position as you. Or better still, find someone who has already been there, battled through and succeeded.
There are loads of ways to reach out:
- face-to-face networks - like our own Yorkshire and Humber Digital Network
- digital networks - Slack has government groups for just about everything
- conferences and events - HMRC regularly holds Market Stall events
- newsletters and blogs - like this one
- colleagues - reach out to your colleagues next door, next desk. We all know someone who knows someone who could help
In the end, two heads are better than one. Don’t hesitate. Collaborate.
If you'd like to find out more about our Yorkshire and Humber Digital Network, leave me a comment at the end of the blog.
Azrael Grey, Cyber Security Analyst and founding member of the Yorkshire and Humber Digital Network
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