Monday, 28 January 2013

BIS – redundant situation vacant

Reprinted below is the job description of a post currently being advertised by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Not a bad job really. You get between £40,000 and £55,000, you don't need a medical, there's no Criminal Records Bureau check and you start at Grade 7, the bottom rung of the senior civil service.

There is one issue you might bear in mind before sending in your application.

"We are a busy team of digital specialists responsible for managing the Department’s online presence, including our website and social media", says the job description, and "this will mean identifying our online influencers and forging relationships, creating digital content and opportunities for online engagement, and helping to develop the way BIS uses the web".

The issue is this. BIS don't have a website. Not any more. http://www.bis.gov.uk has been consigned to history, it is no more than a fond memory, time has been called, on the web at least, on the venerable Board of Trade, 1621.

BIS has now been swallowed up in GOV.UK, its identity erased, along with the Attorney General's Office and five other ministerial departments. The department no longer publishes its own information and no longer issues its own press releases. That is all handled now by the Government Digital Service, prop. ex-Guardian man Mike Bracken, under the Constitutional eye of Martha Lane Fox.

It's not a reason not to apply of course – if anything, this turn of events makes the job a lot easier. But you should be forewarned.
Head of Digital Outreach Communications Directorate
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is making a difference by supporting sustained growth and higher skills across the economy.

Everything that BIS does – investing in skills, making markets more dynamic, promoting trade, boosting innovation and helping people start and grow a business – is about growth.

We are a busy team of digital specialists responsible for managing the Department’s online presence, including our website and social media. We create digital content: blog posts, video, audio and social reporting, but we want to go much, much further than that.

We want to listen to, and engage with, our audiences using the digital channels they prefer. And we want to work with the online communities who help our audiences.

We’re looking for a head of digital outreach to drive this work forward. This will mean identifying our online influencers and forging relationships, creating digital content and opportunities for online engagement, and helping to develop the way BIS uses the web.

You will have an online profile, be comfortable as the face of digital outreach for BIS and have useful online contacts and knowledge to draw upon.

You will have some really interesting examples of online communities that you have set up or helped to facilitate. We are looking for a practitioner: someone who is hands-on with digital and focused on delivering activity that helps our audiences. Experience within the science, business, skills or education communities is a definite bonus.

We like to contribute to digital communications across Government, so you will be expected to network with peers in other departments and help raise the bar for digital communications in the public sector.

If you have the experience and drive to help us deliver outstanding digital outreach, send a covering letter and CV to tim.lloyd@bis.gsi.gov.uk

Closing date: February 8, 2012
Reports to:
Head of Digital Communications

Responsible for:
SIO Digital News Editor
SIO Digital Engagement Manager

Main responsibilities:

• establish a strategic approach to digital outreach for departmental consultations, announcements and marketing campaigns – intervening early in projects where digital can add most value to policymaking or behaviour change

• ensure that we are using the most appropriate channels for our audiences

• build a body of evidence and best practice to support the digital tools and channels that we use

• commission and create effective digital content, working closely with the team’s Digital News Editor and Digital
Engagement Manager

• manage long-term relationships with online communities and influencers

• help moderate online discussion and answer questions

• evaluate the impact of digital
outreach projects

• build capability for digital outreach within the digital team and across BIS

• share in open innovation as part of the team: writing up tools and approaches, meeting colleagues from BIS family, OGDs and beyond, speaking at events etc.

• be a credible voice for digital within BIS

4 comments:

Poor Bloody Infantry said...

Actually, being paid £55,000 for doing a non-job for a non-website sounds like a good deal to me. Thanks for the tip!

David Moss said...

Very tempting, PBI, I agree, haven't quite made my mind up but maybe see you at the interview – they're a jobshare arrangement, you may have noted. It's just that I'm not sure I could do all the engaging required.

The latest Private Eye, by the way, have got a related story. Helots at the Dept for Education serving under the yoke of Gove's oppression are spending £100,000 on a new website, which will be thrown away some time this year when that Dept also disappears into GOV.UK. Something to do with austerity, according to the Eye.

Anonymous said...

You do know that departments still actually manage their content on GOV.UK, right?

"The department no longer publishes its own information and no longer issues its own press releases. That is all handled now by the Government Digital Service."

So this is a bit of a non-story, really.

David Moss said...

departments still actually manage their content on GOV.UK

Keep whistling.

The Head of the Digital Outreach Communications Directorate at BIS no longer has his or her own domain, bis.gov.uk. Gone. They can't vary the layout of content on the web, it has to abide by GDS standards. No BIS-specific logos or mottos.

Martha Lane Fox specified that:

A new central commissioning team should take responsibility for the overall user experience on the government web estate, and should commission content from departmental experts. This content should then be published to a single Government website with a consistently excellent user experience.

and

Ultimately, departments should stop publishing to their own websites, and instead produce only content commissioned by this central commissioning team.

and that's the way it seems to be going. The Head of the Digital Outreach Communications Directorate at BIS publishes by invitation only. On the web at least, he or she has lost any autonomy.

GOV.UK is meant to be hosted by Skyscape, chosen by GDS. Would BIS ever have made such an odd choice? It doesn't matter now. BIS don't have a choice any more.

BIS finds itself advocating the utterly incoherent midata initiative. That can't be their choice. But the Head of the Digital Outreach Communications Directorate at BIS will no doubt be commissioned to provide supporting web content.

Check in with your Digital Leader each morning, won't you.

And don't worry, keep your spirits up, it's all going to be alright.

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