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Content Strategy for the UK Government (plus special guest Kristina Halvorson)

We often hear about content strategy for corporations, but can the same principles apply to an organisation as large and complex as the UK Government? Inspired by Martha Lane Fox’s report on government websites, “Revolution Not Evolution”, the Government Digital Service was launched in August 2011 with the objective of centralising all UK government websites under a single website domain. Yes, they’re serious: every government department’s website will be replaced by single, citizen-centric, centralised government website. As content strategy projects go, this one is huge.

We’re excited to welcome three members of the Government Digital Service to present about what they’ve done so far, what they’ve learnt, and what’s next. And they want your feedback too, so you’ll have a chance to debate the issues during an interactive panel.

Graham Francis—From Tired to Wired: What I’ve Learned (So Far) from

Graham is a content strategist, and currently manages the Directgov website. In this presentation he’ll give an introduction to the government beta site, and talk about how the team achieved change, revised publishing processes, and embedded content specialists within multidisciplinary teams.

Sarah Richards—Content Strategy for the Beta Project

Sarah is Editorial lead for the government beta site In this presentation she’ll talk about the role of content strategy in the beta, covering editorial strategy, process flow, analytics, content design, and usabilty.

Paul Annett—Designing Tools and Transactions for

Paul is a web and UX Designer, and is currently Creative Lead for the Government Digital Service. In this presentation he’ll explain the approach the team uses to redesign interactions between citizens and the government—from working out your maternity pay entitlement to applying for a passport. Paul will take us through the design principles, and explain how they relate to content and transactions.

Special guest: Kristina Halvorson

Kristina is widely recognized as the industry’s leading advocate for content strategy. She’s CEO of Brain Traffic, author of Content Strategy for the Web (2nd edition just released), and founder of Confab, the Content Strategy Conference. She’s in town for the UX London conference, and she’ll join us for a question & answer session after the presentations. So get your questions ready!


  • 6:30pm Arrive for a free drink and a slice of pizza generously donated by Forward (our venue sponsor.)
  • 7:00pm Introduction
  • 7:10pm Graham Francis—From Tired to Wired: What I’ve Learned (So Far) from
  • 7:30pm Sarah Richards—Content Strategy for the Beta Project
  • 7:45pm Break
  • 8:05pm Paul Annett—Designing Tools and Transactions for
  • 8:25pm Kristina Halvorson Q&A
  • 8:50pm Interactive fishbowl panel
  • 9:15pm - 9:45pm Drinks and informal networking

Thanks to our sponsors

We’re delighted to have three fantastic sponsors supporting this event. Be sure to check them out.

Gather Content: Get website content from clients, painlessly (event sponsor)

GatherContent is a simple online tool that helps web practitioners manage the collection, organisation and delivery of web project content, without the headache.

It’s completely free whilst in public beta. Make sure you check it out at

Magus: the leader in the field of enterprise website governance and compliance (event sponsor)

Magus is recognised as the leader in the field of enterprise website governance and compliance. The Magus ActiveStandards™ website quality monitoring software platform is the only automated compliance solution to give content strategists complete visibility across all their web properties, actively monitoring web content against a comprehensive range of compliance standards including: SEO, accessibility, usability, site integrity and mobile web standards. ActiveStandards enables enterprises to maximise their website effectiveness and have complete trust and confidence in their web content wherever it is being used.

Forward: our venue sponsor

Forward, our event sponsor, are donating their beautiful auditorium (and fridge full of drinks!) for free. So in place of a venue hire fee, we'll make an equivalent donation to Forward Foundation, their charitable trust.

Join or login to comment.

  • Angus E.

    Energetic, friendly and educational. If Carlsberg did meetups!

    April 24, 2012

  • Skinny Rich C.

    Excellent content! Thank you organisers, thank you speakers and great attendees. Can't wait for the next event.

    April 22, 2012

  • Rupert B.

    Good talks from GDS bods and the longish evening gave them room to go beyond PR/Raising awareness/soliciting feedback and get more into the nitty gritty of The Project. Some nice, subtle points e.g. the need to make some transactions more reflective, not: click, tick, click 'You have Power of Attorney. Options: A. End life support...' and lots of sound advice. I did occasionally think I heard an old, doctrinal maxim being torn up, only for a new doctrinal maxim to thud down in replacement.

    Kristina Halvorson was terrific. Very few presenters dare to step down off the pedestal or acknowledge that there may not be one definitive answer to an issue.

    April 20, 2012

  • Angie V.

    Both excellent and inspiring speakers. Many thanks to the people who made this happen.

    April 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Inspiring. Some seriously thought-provoking presentations from the team. Kristina Halvorson was as challenging as ever!

    April 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    The GDS team were professional, though I disagreed with some of their points. Kristina's presentation was much less formal and so I learned nothing at all about Content Strategy. The goldfish section was promising but needed a bit more structure - maybe the moderator should have had 3 or 4 headings to deal with which followed on from the main presentation, which the audience would be invited to contribute to.

    April 20, 2012

  • Anna W.

    Fascinating insight into the strategy behind

    April 20, 2012

  • Ros M.

    Full house again. Great venue, Pizza & beer :)
    Superb presentations from @nicepaul @gkfrancis @escmum and honest answers on the Q & A from @halvorson. Came away with lots of thoughts, insight & hope #cslondon12

    April 20, 2012

  • David F.

    Congratulations to Jonathan and Richard for arranging such an interesting and informative meeting

    April 20, 2012

  • John R.

    Terrific insight into how the UK government wants to be more accessible, useful and useable. I finally got to meet the queen of content and my hero Kristina Halvorson. She's the rock that was thrown into the internet pond and started this giant tsunami of content awesomness. I can't wait until it reaches the shores of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Got a bit drunk on free wine, so many many thanks to the hosts and sponsore for their kind generousity. 'til the next meet dudes.

    April 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great event, great venue kindly provided by Forward, great insights and run brilliantly by Jonathan and his colleagues.

    April 20, 2012

  • Jabir S.

    Fabulous presentations from the GOV.UK team. well done guys! I liked the fact that there was an excellent effort at demystifying content strategy by all.

    April 20, 2012

  • cleve

    informative and well delivered.

    April 20, 2012

  • Jennifer D.

    A brilliant opportunity to see a case-study of content strategy done incredibly well on a huge scale - really really interesting. Kristina was a great speaker and brought a lot of energy to the stage.

    April 20, 2012

  • Hanna

    She was amazing. Loved it god work.

    April 20, 2012

  • Sara W.

    Best yet!

    April 20, 2012

  • Kevin

    Good organisation - Started on time, brisk and informative. The talks gave great insight into people, politics, change as well as CS. Kristina's Q&A covered everything from winning business to self-development - very inspiring. The panel session worked!

    April 20, 2012

Your organizer's refund policy for Content Strategy for the UK Government (plus special guest Kristina Halvorson)

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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