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UKGovCamp attracts record attendance in 10th year

Popular ‘unconference’ celebrates enters its 10th year by talking IoT, open government, making agile stick and archiving records in a digital age

More than 200 people attended this year’s UKGovCamp, including permanent secretaries, civil servants and geeks, all coming together to learn.

Now in its 10th year, GovCamp was launched in 2008 to create a place where people working on digital government could share ideas and help each other.

This year’s event featured 40 sessions covering subjects such as the internet of things (IoT), how to make government more open, creating an agile environment, and how to archive records in a digital age.

Janet Hughes, former head of strategy, policy and departmental engagement at the Government Digital Service (GDS), said the event was often “the first place you hear about something really important that we should all be thinking about”.

“I learned a lot about open data at GovCamp, for example,” she added.

This year, 600 people applied for the 200-plus spaces at the event. In view of the high number of people who were not able to attend, Hughes said the organisers were looking to scale up the event in future.

“We are looking at options to have a much larger-scale event, and working out how the logistics for that would work and if we could retain the same basic approach with a lot more people,” she said.

Hughes said GovCamp was the reason she began getting involved with digital government. “I wouldn’t have ended up working at GDS without it,” she said.

“I first tested out my ideas about being bold at GovCamp before blogging and talking about them more publicly. I presented about Gov.uk Verify a few years ago and got some incredibly useful questions in feedback from my peers that helped me hugely in my job.”

Clare Moriarty, permanent secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, also attended this year’s event and led a session on “open by design”.

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