It all starts with discovery – getting going on our intranet work

We’re now in the discovery phase for our intranet and employee engagement workstream. We’ve already completed content inventory work on our current intranet (read more about the inventory we did on our public website here) and to help us with other parts of the discovery phase we’re working with an external expert, Ann Kempster.

Ann has previously worked at the Cabinet Office and other parts of central government as well as on a number of digital projects elsewhere.

Here Ann describes how she’s approaching the discovery work and the activities we’re undertaking.


One of the work streams for Digital First includes a review of internal digital communications channels, including the intranet. That’s what I’m working on over the next few weeks.

Previously I’ve managed intranets at the Cabinet Office and I’ve also worked on delivering intranets in number of other central government departments, including the Department of Health, Defra and Communities and Local Government.

I’m really excited to be working on this project with a council that is bought into the process of digital transformation. Nottinghamshire County Council is at a very interesting point in its journey with a new Chief Executive shortly to come into post and the support for the Digital First project at all levels, from the elected council members to staff at the council.

What I’m trying to find out

Is the intranet working for users?
Does it help staff do their jobs?

Is there space for engagement between senior leadership and frontline staff?
Is there space for staff to talk to each other?

Are staff getting the right information?
Are they getting information in a format that helps them?

What about frontline staff who don’t have regular access to the intranet? How does Nottinghamshire County Council make sure they are included and receive the right information?

How am I doing this?

I’m spending a lot of my time talking to as many members of staff as I can – both through one-to-one interviews and group workshops. I’m looking for what is working well, what isn’t working so well; what tools and processes people need to do their jobs. I’m also looking for any potential blockers, things that might stop a new intranet being used.

A few themes are already starting to emerge in my early round of interviews with key internal stakeholders and I’m keen to see if these themes are backed up in the workshops being run this week.

In the workshops with frontline staff and managers, we’ll be doing some activities and exercises to look at positives and negatives of the current system and what might help them do their jobs better or easier in the future.

I’ve also been talking to other people in the public sector who are doing good work on intranets, as well as experts in the private sector to see what trends are predicted for intranets.

Then what?

All of this information – nearly 20 one-to-one interviews and workshop outputs from almost 40 frontline staff – will be analysed with the help of hundreds of Post-It notes to see where clusters and themes emerge.

These will then be synthesised into a report that will be delivered to the Council for consideration, along with findings from my chats with intranet experts. I’ll be proposing a set of recommendations and a series of objectives, time scales and metrics for success.

I will also share some of the finds, key themes and ideas in another blog post here.


Ann is a freelance digital projects manager and you can find her on Twitter.

If you’re interested in getting involved in testing or giving feedback on the new, the Council’s public website, then get in touch.