Work stuff

A lot of my focus this week was spent on Direct Debit. GOV.UK Pay has planned to develop and launch Direct Debit as a payment type for some time, and there’s a pilot version being used by one service now. However, due to a complication with issuing service user numbers to central government departments and arms-length bodies, we’re having to rethink the strategy a little.

As part of the work, I had to estimate how many heavy goods vehicles might pass through a city zone each year, and it took some digging to find the numbers. In the end though, I was able to estimate that about 50,000 HGVs pass through a Clean Air Zone in Leeds each year, which was helpful for the strategy piece.

I also ran a 2-hour strategy workshop using some techniques and tools I picked up from the IDEO course. Ideally you should spend a week working through the exercises with a team, but I condensed it down into a couple of hours. I think the session was helpful in working through the problem, but 2 hours definitely wasn’t long enough as you didn’t have a chance to step back and consider things holistically.

Next week I’ll be drumming up some evidence to help us make a decision on what to do about Direct Debit.

Not-work stuff

The Muslim network at GDS held a fast-a-thon, encouraging non-Muslims to join in with Ramadan by fasting for a day. Since I’ve always been around classmates and colleagues who are fasting but have never given it a go, I figured I’d try it. Though I was tired in the afternoon, the pangs of hunger I was expecting didn’t hit me. But I found myself appreciating my evening meal even more. There’s a blog post about it on the Digital People blog.

I’m quickly finishing these notes off on the bank holiday Monday and the weekend has been filled with a particular news story. For the record, we weren’t symptomatic when we arrived in North Wales and we quarantined ourselves for two weeks on arrival. We’re here to help others, not be helped. And we definitely didn’t visit a local tourist spot during that time.

Saw some porpoises and seals in the bay yesterday, it was wonderful!