#weeknotes 15 — time off, telling our story, more yoga

I gave myself the week off from writing over the bank holiday weekend and focussed instead on the sunshine, being outside and exercising. I decided when I started writing weeknotes that I would plan in some breaks, so that it didn’t start to feel like a chore.

This did mean though that I didn’t write about a great day spent in Bristol with Sarah Prag and Gavin Beckett, meeting people from the web team at Bristol City Council who were happy to share their experiences with us. And I also didn’t write about discovering the incredible http://www.hartsbakery.co.uk.

Cardamom buns . . . yum

Or the great show and tell on our latest user testing we ran at the end of sprint 5, led by Michelle Bayley and Charlotte*.

So, back to this week — feeling energised and refreshed . . .


I caught up with Paul Dowse, our head of Digital Data and Technology to look at our budgets for the coming year, ahead of a discussion about priorities and business planning with Board colleagues. The rest of the day I spent with the beta team preparing for our assessment in a couple of weeks time. We’ve got loads to show the assessors and lots to say — and Philippa Newis has done a great job of organising our thoughts into a trello board that the whole team is contributing to. We’ve only been working with our colleagues from Digi2al since March and it’s felt very much like #oneteam from the start. Huge thanks to all of them, and to Roo Reynolds for helping us build this project team.

Pikachu’s dancing (not sure who with)


Started early with a coaching session with the awesome Sarah Gornall. I’ve been working with her for a few months now, and it’s been hugely useful and impactful. We talked about leaving — people, systems, processes, organisations, and she helped me think through some ideas that have been going round in my head for a while.


Wednesday evening is yoga @ acas. Our second in house yoga course is well under way — and popular. We’ve iterated and improved our admin processes, signing colleagues up for a 6 week block has made it much easier to manage! As ever — it was a great way to relax at the end of the day.


I worked from home which meant I could catch up on emails, bits of paperwork I’d put off and finalise our GDS spend control submission for the beta phase of submit a notification. Charlotte and I caught up via skype about how it’s been going for her on user research (really well) and her training provider for her apprenticeship (a tiny bit frustrating tbh).

Later on I popped over to Hackney to catch up with Rob Miller and talk about their (our? at what point do I say that?) apprenticeship programme, which is very exciting and ambitious. I’m really looking forward to starting my new role at the end of June . . . Recruitment for the apprentice roles will be in June and July.

Coding week 6 was all about javascript and jquery — including some discussion about boolean values. A tiny bit hard going at times, and def out of my comfort zone, but that’s the point of learning something new** .

aah, possibly the greatest film ever


Lee joined us — he’s from our comms team and is going to be spending every Friday with us to learn from John and Luka Alexander during the rest of the project. It was great watching knowledge sharing and shadowing in action — sat round our communal workspace.

We were testing the coded pages today with users — they’re looking awesome thanks to the hard work of all the team — partic the fabulous Luka Alexander who worked over the bank holiday to make sure they were all ready in time. Next week is our accessibility audit — testing the code and the designs to make sure we’ve made it fully accessible.

Fridays are often quiet in the office so it’s a good chance to catch up with people who are there and find out more about what’s happening in other teams. I had some good conversations with people I haven’t seen for a while. First off with Jon, our head of research, analysis and insight about building internal user research capability. And also with Gill Dix our head of workplace policy around bigger picture policy themes for Acas.

What did I learn this week?

Many many coding things — how to add twitter bootstrap, how not to commit to github (and subsequently how to).

I read this via Helen Bevan and Harvard Business Review:

‘We cannot change anything unless we first see our own self as powerful enough to act” (oh so true)

Also over the bank holiday I read a novel — A line made by walking, by Sara Baume. Beautifully written and haunting.

*our snack vision was fruit. And cake.

**said through gritted teeth



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Cate McLaurin

Director @PublicDigitalHQ. @madebycatem. alumni @IIPP_UCL MPA graduate. Views are my own. Interested in change, innovation, leadership and digital