Bethany Musgrove: my year in Service Transformation

Bethany Musgrove, Content Advisor at the Communications and Marketing department (C&M), completed a one-year secondment as a Content Designer in Service Transformation (ST) in December 2023. After re-joining our team for a brief period before her maternity leave, she generously shared her invaluable experience and learnings in this blog post. 

Over to Beth.  woman working in kitchen with laptop, cup of coffee, spectacles.

Okay, here is my ‘what I did on my holiday’ style blog post. I’ll skip the mundane and focus on key aspects.  

Key projects I worked on 

Updating processes 

The Content Design team had just taken responsibility for changes to content on These requests were sent to an inbox. ST wanted to create a new process using a form. I led the project, working closely with Mikaela Silk who was also managing the inbox. 

This project involved: 

  • an inbox audit to look at the average amount of emails, the types of requests and how long they would take to complete 
  • creating a Microsoft form 
  • user research and engagement - this included (1) sending a feedback form to regular requestors about the current process, (2) holding 1 to 1 user research sessions and asking them to complete a request with the new form, and (3) another feedback form about the new request form so we knew what worked well and what could be improved 
  • setting up a process flow on Power Automate to link the form to planner-boards and a new inbox for replying only 

And let me tell you, working with Power Automate was no easy feat. I spent hours scouring tech forums and troubleshooting to try to figure it out. I learnt more about writing JSON script than I thought would be necessary! But I persevered and conquered the flow, and that’s a new skill I will hold on to. 

New intranet 

I spent the last 6 months of my secondment deep in the new intranet project. This project involved: 

  • content and document audits 
  • working closely with the User Research and Product teams 
  • redesigning and creating a huge amount of content 
  • fostering stakeholder relationships and engagement 
  • testing and iterating content 

I came away from this project with a better understanding of content design principles. I also made some really valuable relationships with people and teams across the council.  

Highlights of my secondment 

Working in an inclusive and open project team 

The intranet project team was made up of a few different disciplines, but we had a really strong sense of unity and teamwork and made sure openness was a top priority for check-ins. Being open with issues or blockers as soon as they arose allowed us to sort through problems before they became too challenging. There was also a huge sense of psychological safety. We knew we were able to share our thoughts, ideas and concerns without being shot down or judged. This led to more constructive conversations. This style of project management is something I would love to encourage in all projects I work in. 

The ST team spirit 

I admired the way the teams within ST work together for a common goal. It’s really clear what each team is responsible for. Though there are times when it’s not necessary to bring in a member of dedicated team, they all respect each teams’ expertise and always ask each other for advice. 

The SDinGov conference  

My biggest highlight from my secondment was having the opportunity to attend SDinGov, a 3-day conference in Edinburgh. I was able to see some inspirational and informative talks and learnt a lot of techniques that are easily transferable back to my Content Advisor role within C&M. It was great to meet other people from local authorities who have similar challenges to us and share knowledge and experiences that can benefit us. 

Learnings and skills I bring back to C&M 

What I learnt from ST: 

  1. Content design principles around best practice for structuring content in a meaningful way – this can easily be used for all content we produce or sharing with stakeholders that produce content. 
  2. Effective working in MDTs and setting clear responsibilities, crossovers and being transparent with any blockers or issues that arise as soon as possible. 

What I learnt from SDinGov: 

  1. Psychological safety and how working in an inclusive team helps you produce inclusive content – this includes openness, bringing in voices from all backgrounds and experience and removing the idea of hierarchy from decision making. If teams feel safe it leads to more innovation and better comms. 
  2. Writing for people with Dyscalculia (people who struggle with numbers) – we used this learning in Content Design to change some of our content writing practices around numbers and I would like to bring these over to C&M as well. 

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