The challenge is fairly straightforward: how can we use digital tools and techniques and internet culture to help deliver the objectives of the Department of Health?
I joined the Department in August, and I've been on a crash course since then, working it out, learning how the Department operates, what the organisational challenges are, what the quick wins and long term projects are, what has worked in the past and what hasn't, who the digital champions might be.
I have a few ideas, and I'm pleased with some of what we've done so far, but I'm still working it out. That's what this blog will be about - working it out.
This is definitely an interesting time to be working on digital communication for the Department.
The health and social care system - and the Department itself - will look and feel very different in a couple of years time. The white paper on the future of the NHS, published earlier in the year, will soon be followed by a white paper on the future of public health. And we are currently consulting on an information revolution. Things are not going to stay the same.
All of this presents opportunities for digital communication. It feels to me like it's all up for grabs. That's exciting. Maintaining an existing approach to digital communication, with an associated set of offical channels and campaigns, is not an option for us.
And then there's all the stuff others are doing elsewhere in government, elsewhere in the health and social care system, and elsewhere online. As someone very wise said to me on Twitter the other day, there's so much happening at the moment.
I'm intending to use this blog to talk about all of this, from the big strategic stuff to the daily delights and frustrations of working in government digital communication.
I've long been a fan of official blogging. I think it can be incredibly useful. I like the constraints. I wrote an official blog in my last job, and I intend to spend at least some of my time in DH advocating the value of staff and ministers publishing personal-but-official digital content. Doing it myself should make that a bit easier.
I promise to post regularly. I promise to be as transparent as I can be about what we're doing, and to admit where we've got things wrong as well as go on about what we've done well. And I promise to read and respond to the comments you make here and elsewhere.
There's more about me and what I'm hoping to use this blog for on my about page.
BTW for those that are interested, this blog sits on the fledgling DH blogging platform. It's good enough, but we're doing a bit of work to make it better, and to use it for other things - a subject for a future blog.