Have just a read a brilliantly candid description of the headless chicken state of the Civil Service just before recess over at Whitehall Webby who says,
Unfortunately, the week or so before recess is a nightmare for people running government websites. Policy officials all over the department suddenly remember that they were supposed to have something published online months ago and they’re going on holiday for three weeks at half four.Ah yes, a priority that has been left in some idiots inbox because he's been too busy on Facebook, we Ops people know all about that! The next bit sounds eerily familiar too.
‘It simply must be published’ , ‘It’s one of the department’s priorities’, ‘The minister has insisted that it goes on the website today’, are all commonly heard phrases from anxious harassed officials on the phone during weeks like this.
(us) ‘Alright, we’ll do our best, can you send us the documents in question together with the form we send out for all publication jobs’ (this covers things like metadata, where on the site it should go etc etc).I've been there Webby, I feel the pain. I feel the frustration. I do though take solace that there non-techie to techie interfaces are just the same in the public and private sector.
Nothing heard back by lunchtime. We called them - out to lunch. Left messages, still nothing.
Finally made contact at around 3pm. (them) ‘Why haven’t you published it yet?’ - (us) ‘You haven’t sent the documents to us’.
Wait a bit longer, call back - (us) ‘Is this still happening, we assume its not as you haven’t sent anything’ - (them) ‘I’ll send it in five minutes’.
Forty five minutes later, the email arrives. No documents attached. Try calling back, no reply. Send an urgent email ‘we tried calling you, need the documents urgently’. Twenty seconds later, we get an out of office message, on holiday for three weeks. Urgently tried calling, eventually somebody else picks up the phone, ‘Sorry he’s gone, don’t know anything about the documents’.
Three weeks later, (them) ‘why didn’t you do that thing I asked you?’ (us) ‘you didn’t send it’.