Nick Jones

Head of Digital, No 10 (@NickJonesCOI)

Nick Jones is the head of digital in the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office. His team is responsible for the Prime Minister’s digital communication and engagement across 10 channels – such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. They also deliver digital comms for the Deputy Prime Minister and the Cabinet Office. He is a member of the Social Media Council of the Interactive Advertising Bureau and chaired the judges at this year’s Marketing’s Revolution Online Awards.  In 2012, Nick completed four years as director of interactive services at the COI. There his team delivered hundreds of digital projects for public sector clients such as the Royal Air Force. Nick contributes to government guidance and standards on social media and digital engagement. A former Jupiter Research analyst he co-founded New Media Age in 1994. He first went online in 1992 after getting snowed in. He graduated from the University of St Andrews and holds a MA (Hons) in Geography.

Carrie Bishop

Director, Futuregov (@carriebish)

Carrie Bishop is a director at FutureGov, which works with local government to create better, cheaper public services using technology and design thinking.  She loves her job.

She has a background in Local Government, having worked at the London Borough of Barnet, first as a graduate on the NGDP in the role of Policy Officer and then as a Change Manager.  She was responsible for piloting the first social media project at the council.

Carrie has also worked with several other local authorities and public bodies, having been a consultant at the public sector consultancy Capita Consulting.

Since joining FutureGov, Carrie has led projects focused on using social technologies for better collaboration, open innovation and organisational change, including Patchwork, the multi-agency child protection app.

Nick Booth

Owner, Podnosh (@podnosh)

Podnosh is run and owned by Nick Booth, a former BBC political reporter and television and radio documentary maker.

Nick gives advice on social media strategy and is also frequently asked to speak at conferences.

In 2012 he accepted a Prime Minster’s Big Society award on behalf of the Social Media Surgery movement he founded and was listed in The Independent on Sunday’s Happy List 2012 of 100 “outstanding people whose volunteering, caring, fund-raising, mentoring, charity founding, or selflessness makes Britain a more contented, better-adjusted, supportive, and happier place.”

Nick was one of a couple of dozen bloggers invited to cover the G20 Summit in April 2009. He was among a small group who established the Birmingham Bloggers group in 2007. With this and his experience of telling the stories of active citizens through the Grassroots Channel Nick has been instrumental in establishing a thriving hyperlocal community in the Midlands.

Nick was also part owner and Community Director of Help Me Investigate, which allows citizens to ask civic questions and collaborate with each others to find the answers.

He is a trustee of the Birmingham Conservation Trust, on the board of Stan’s Cafe, on the advisory board of the NCVO and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Justin Griggs

Head of Policy & Development, NALC (@justingriggs)

Justin Griggs is the Head of Policy and Development at the National Association of Local Councils, the nationally recognised membership and support body representing the interests of 9,000 local (parish and town) councils and their 80,000 local councillors in England.

He has responsibility for NALC’s policy, public affairs and parliamentary work as well as improvement and development initiatives. Last year the leading local government journal LGC included Justin in their LGC50 publication on the most influential people in local government.

Justin has been advocating and championing local councils at national level on a wide range of policy and development agendas since joining NALC in 2000. Through a number of roles he has also played a key role in developing the services and organisation of NALC, securing significant funding and investment in a range of sector projects and initiatives such as the National Training Strategy.

Areas of work in recent years include influencing the local government white paper and subsequent legislation; the report of the Councillors Commission; the white paper on community empowerment; and the role of local councils in the Coalition Government’s localism and decentralisation plans, including the Localism Act and Open Public Services white paper.

Catherine Howe

Chief Executive, Public-i Group Ltd (@curiousc)


Catherine is an expert in social media and eDemocracy, with a background in technology delivery.  She has worked with online communities and social networking tools for over 15 years.  Initially developing learning applications at the London Business School, she was founder director of Etribes.com – an online community consultancy which specialised in working with third sector organisations such as Christian Aid, YMCA and YHA.

Catherine has worked with the Public Sector in the UK since 2001, looking at ways of using new technologies to deliver innovative democracy and engagement projects.  Though mainly focussing on Local Government, this work has also stretched into Central Government and the Police.  As well as working in the UK, she also leads on European project work.

Her research interest is the social impact of Web 2.0 tools in a democratic context and the creation of online civic spaces.  She explores the tensions between formal and informal participation, and online and offline engagement.   She is currently writing up her doctoral thesis on the civic impacts of new technologies.  You can read more about that on her blog:  http://curiouscatherine.wordpress.com/.

A regular speaker at conferences and events, Catherine is also a highly experienced Consultant and workshop facilitator.  You can contact Catherine on Twitter @curiousc

Ken Eastwood

Founder, Director Digital Nomads (@keneastwood)

Digital Nomads Limited is an independent consultancy specialising in mobile and digital innovation and supporting the public sector improvement and efficiency agenda.

Formerly an Assistant Director at a progressive, metropolitan local authority and with 26 years local government experience, Ken has a passionate interest in mobile and flexible working and digital innovation.

He was a board member of UK Government’s Project Nomad, the local eGov project promoting mobile working in local government. He has written published articles on transformation, efficiency and the future of work and has been an advisor to government on data sharing and new work styles.

Digital Nomads Limited facilitates the www.publicsectornomads.com membership community, a forum for sharing experience and expertise in connection with new ways of working, enabled by technology.

Ken has a long history of speaking at and chairing events and conferences and he organised LocalGovCamp Yorkshire & Humber and LocalGovCamp North West, as well as running an ongoing Public Sector Nomads events programme.

contact@digitalnomads.co | @keneastwood | @nomadbuzz

Alison Smith

Founder and Director of Pesky People (@peskypeople)

A creative digital start up who’s mission is to use digital technology working nationally with disabled people, digital providers/innovators, the cultural and commercial sector to seek and create solutions that improve digital access and inclusion.

Harnessing digital, content and social media to profile Pesky People challenges and change the lack of inclusion and access culturally and in society particularly for Disabled and Deaf people. The focus is on finding creative solutions and positive action whilst highlighting discrimination.

Pesky People campaigns and takes up digital discrimination on behalf of disabled and deaf people to raise issues and seek solutions (with considerable success) utilising social networking extensively to achieve great results in three days what would take three weeks to just solicit a response. 

Successes include multi-nationals such as Orange, Virgin Trains, BBC Doctor Who Experience, Orange, One Call Insurance, Empire Cinemas and IKEA. Notably in 2010 Alison persuaded The National Digital Inclusion Conference 2010 & 2011 to stream live with British Sign Language and onscreen subtitles (after they refused to) following a social media campaign. No such event has been as accessible since.

The most recent campaign launched by Pesky People #subtitlesnow highlights the discrimination faced by 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people online who have no access to video content due to the lack of subtitled content provided by UK broadcasters. A social media day of action on 6th June 2012 using Subtilesnow facebook page and twitter hastag #subtitlesnow saw it reach over 50,000 people using social media and joined it’s sister campaign #CAPTIONthis in the USA. Evidence collected during that day using Scraperwiki has been sent to The Communications Review.

Pesky People started off as a blog in 2009 by Alison after the realisation that there was no digial voice for disabled people with it’s first post “The future is not Orange” about being mis-sold a mobile phone that didnt’ work with her digital hearing aids and the support from Talk About Local and Podnosh’s Social Media Surgeries helped transform it’s development.

Go Genie is our flagship product to make the world accessible with a website, mobile and web apps and widget to improve the way access information to locations are found and presented online.  Developed with funding from Arts Council England, NESTA Reboot Britain programme and NOKIA. Go Genie provides short cut information to locations featuring access, contacts, maps and pictures. It aims to be a collaborative resource with information provided by disabled people and visitors themselves.

Go Genie was developed with detailed user experience research with disabled and deaf people in the West Midlands providing crucial insights into how websites were used and they methods in which they displayed information.

Alison is also an arts consultant, arts producer and performance poet/workshop leader with twenty years experience working in the cultural sector with particular expertise in Disability Arts and social inclusion. Alison was a finalist in the Sheila McKechnie Foundation (Consumer Action) Awards 2010 and received the Inspiring Voices Award 2010 from the Media Trust.

Vicky Sargent

Director of Boilerhouse Media (@vickysargent)

Vicky Sargent is a director of Boilerhouse Media, a digital and communications consultancy that works with government departments and agencies, the NHS, trade and professional associations, and several blue chip private sector clients. She advises Socitm on communications and on its web, digital and customer access projects. She is a member of the Better connected and the Website takeup service teams and authored the 2011 report Better served: customer access, efficiency and channel shift.

Pete Jackson
IWM (@IEWM)  (@IEWM_pete)

Pete is currently working with Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands.

He is assisting with the delivery of leadership support for Adult Social Care and with the development of social media within local government.

Previously part of the senior management team at Telford and Wrekin Council he has a track record of delivery of improvement and has extensive current knowledge of local, regional and national local government networks.

Alison Hook, Coventry Council


Alison Hook is the e-Communications Editor for Coventry City Council. Alison manages the Council’s website, intranet and set up Coventry’s social media presence. She has a Computer Science degree and has spent time working as a programmer before moving into the Council’s Communications team.

Gareth Lewis, Coventry Council

Gareth Lewis is the Media co-ordinator for Coventry City Council. He manages the authority’s reputation through responding to enquiries from local, regional and national journalists, and increasingly through direct conversations with residents on social media.

With a background entirely in traditional media, he spent around seven years as a news and politics reporter on two local newspapers before joining Coventry City Council as a press officer.


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