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The GOV.UK content team structure

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Content, How we work

It’s been a while since we last blogged about how the GOV.UK content team is structured. Our 2015 post about changes to the content design team explained we created 4 teams in order to develop knowledge in a subject areas and build relationships with departments.

We have 2 new content leads since the last blog post. We’ve also made some changes to how we work and introduced some additional roles in the content team in order to help these 4 teams work more effectively.

The 4 topic teams

Team 1: business, defence, energy and the environment

Topics: businesses and self employed, employing people, commercial driving and specialist transport topics, energy, environment and the countryside, competition and innovation, intellectual property, defence and the armed forces.
Led by Andy Keen.

Team 2: personal life, education, culture and international development

Topics: personal tax, benefits, education and learning, children, housing and local services, disability, births, deaths, marriages, culture and international development.
Led by John Turnbull.

Team 3 (Red team): immigration, driving, health and justice

Topics: visas, immigration, driving as a citizen, medicine, health, devolved administrations and regions, statistics, insolvency and debt, crime, security and intelligence services, justice and the law.
Led by Jon Sanger.

Team 4: working, citizenship, travel and running government

Topics: work, jobs, pensions, citizenship, living in the UK, living abroad, passports, travel, the Civil Service and running government.
Led by Abigail Waraker.

The wider content team

These 4 teams are supported by 2 performance analysts and 2 user researchers. They're helping us test and monitor content so that we can get evidence for user needs and evaluate the work we do. The team is also supported by 2 delivery managers, who track the efficiency of our processes.

We work closely with the new Content Tools team who do the development work on interactive tools, like getting married abroad, and ways of evaluating content, like A/B testing.

How we work

In order to improve response times on content requests, we created a dedicated team. Members of the 4 teams take turns to monitor content requests.

This team triages the content requests, from the public and government, that come into GOV.UK. They will do small, simple changes to content there and then. They pass more complex requests to one of the 4 topic teams. If the request is not something we can resolve, they will forward queries to government departments and agencies.

We define a simple change as something that can be done in under 20 minutes. The other requests move into a topic team’s backlog, which is prioritised by the team lead. Then content designers will work with department contacts to work through these more complex requests.

We want your feedback

I’ll blog more in future about the types of work we’re doing. If you have questions about how the content team works, let us know.

If your department or agency has examples of good practice you want to share, please get in touch.

Cat Gordy is the Deputy Head of Content at GDS. Cat does tweeting on that Twitter, you can follow her there.

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  1. Comment by Gillian posted on

    It would be interesting to know how you work on cross-cutting issues. And what size is each team?

    • Replies to Gillian>

      Comment by catherinegordy posted on

      Hi Gillian,
      thank you for your comment.

      Although the 4 teams have responsibility for different subject areas there is a lot of cross-team working. For example, Team 1 handles personal tax and Team 2 business tax so the 2 team leads have a joint weekly call with HMRC. When content cuts across government departments content designers will work together, combining their knowledge of the subject and contacts with departments. The teams all sit together. Members of different teams also participate in content crits and review (2i) each other's work.

      There on average 7 content designers per topic team. Each team has a mix of junior, middleweight and senior content designers and a team lead.

  2. Comment by Anne posted on

    I'm interested in how you manage the time of the team members who are taking their turn to monitor content requests. Do they dedicate all of their time to monitoring/ making simple changes/ triaging requests, or is this role performed alongside other content work within their usual topic team?

    • Replies to Anne>

      Comment by catherinegordy posted on

      Hello Anne
      thanks for your comment.
      Team members are booked for a day at a time on the content requests rota. If you are on a rota that is your priority for the day. If all of the requests have been assigned or resolved, then content designers will return to their topic team's work.

      • Replies to catherinegordy>

        Comment by Anne posted on

        Thanks Catherine. I work for the Open University, as part of the team that delivers online help content to students and tutors. We've tried different approaches to how we manage our content, and I'd love to hear more about your experience of restructuring the team/your content workflow. I'm wondering whether there could be an opportunity for me to visit you and talk further?

        • Replies to Anne>

          Comment by catherinegordy posted on

          Hi Anne
          Thanks for your comment.
          I've sent you an email to find out a bit more detail.