Leaving the Civil Service

I’m leaving Business, Innovation and Skills in July, to join Helpful Technology. I’m sad to be leaving government, but excited about my new job working alongside Steph Gray and his very clever colleagues.

The past five years working in the Civil Service have been amazing. I have learnt an awful lot about digital, management and getting things done in the public sector. But I have also missed the imperatives that came with working for a small business.

I am hoping to capture the best of both worlds, by delivering exciting things like the Social Simulator, Digital Gym and brilliant intranets, to public and private organisations.

The world of digital in Government was very different, even as recently as 2009. The arrival of GDS and gov.uk soon after I started was a relief for someone like me, who doesn’t know their HTML from their Linux (just don’t tell my new team). Government digital was a really welcoming community back then, and continues to be so today. I’ll miss not being on the inside of that community, but I suspect there’s plenty of room for people who are a tiny bit more patient than I.

Personal highlights from my time in the Civil Service include:

And what wasn’t so good?

  • I learnt the hard way that I was definitely not cut out for private office.
  • My web chat for Andy Burnham on Mumsnet was a baptism of fire.
  • I only wrote five papers in my whole time in the civil service. The rest of my work is on this blog or this one. I probably should have written more papers.
  • Pushing through things like hot desking, new skills and spending less time worrying about hashtags, was, I think, the right thing to do in the long run. But in hindsight I probably made a lot of people’s lives quite difficult for a while, and I don’t feel great about it.

So, plenty of experience to take with me to my next adventure and lots of new friends made.

My current role is being advertised, and the deadline is 11 June. Let me know if you have any questions about it (and sorry about the hot desking).

5 thoughts on “Leaving the Civil Service”

  1. It didn’t feel right ‘liking’ this post…so I thought I’d comment instead 🙂

    It’s always a shame when people who ‘get’ digital leave government – the numbers of those are still too low – particularly those who have generously shared their learning.

    (I quoted you and Mr Gray quite extensively in a conference presentation I gave on Monday, btw :-))

    I do understand your motivations though. And you’ll stlll be around, so that’s good!

    So, all the very best in your new role!

    Yours, a fan 🙂

  2. Congratulations Tim (and Steph/Helpful)! As others have said, it’s a real shame when the good digital people leave government, but I’m sure you’ll still be hugely influential even on the outside, and I’m sure we’ll see you around Whitehall for a while yet!


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