Travel from England and beyond

If you are travelling to GovCamp Cymru from outside of Wales, please be aware that the Severn Tunnel will be closed which may cause delays when travelling by trains. Trains will still be running and replacement bus services will be in place but your journey will take a little longer. Be sure to plan ahead and check your timings when booking your travel.

The good news is that Flybe (other reputable companies are available) are currently advertising reasonably priced flights between London and Cardiff during that time. Flights can be found from around £85 return on the camp weekend which is comparable to train ticket prices. Here is a link for Flybe Early booking is advisable.

We appreciate everyone who is making the journey to join us in beautiful Wales this September. We are certain that your slightly extended journey will certainly be worthwhile and if nothing else, it will give you a little more time to prepare your pitch to make it even more brilliant!

When you plan your journey, remember you are welcome to join us at the pre-GovCamp meet-up on the Friday so why not start your weekend, and your conversations, early.

If you need more information about travelling to GovCamp Cymru, please visit our Venue page.

What is GovCamp Cymru – By Barod

Gov Camp Cymru is a day for people who want to make Wales a better place.

We do this by:

  • meeting up for a day
  • creating new ideas together
  • going away and using the new ideas

Gov Camp Cymru is always on a Saturday. This means people come in their free time.

This year it is on Saturday 24th September. It is at the Pierhead in Cardiff Bay.

It is free but you need a ticket. You can get a ticket from

Anyone can come. (yes, anyone – if you have a ticket!)

Everyone is equal at a Gov Camp. No-one is more important. No-one is unimportant.

Last year, 150 people came. Some were:

  • public service managers
  • computer coders
  • members of the public
  • from community groups
  • from charities and businesses
  • from Welsh Government

We even have some people who came from London and Europe!

We all went because we wanted to meet other people who want to make Wales a better place.

Who runs Gov Camp Cymru?

It is run by a team of 12 volunteers (so far! Still time for more people to volunteer, and they probably will). Anyone can volunteer to help organise Gov Camp Cymru.

First timer?

Here’s what it will be like on the day.

We meet from 9:30am at the Pierhead, Cardiff.

We sign in and get our packs.  The packs tell you:

  • What time we start
  • What time we have lunch and breaks
  • What time we finish
  • Where we are going for drinks afterwards

Then we go into the main hall to get a drink and meet the other people who have come.  The room will have some stalls you can look at too.

There will be people taking photos and people tweeting about the day. You can take photos and tweet too.

Please tell us if you do not want your photo taken.

Please ask before you tweet someone’s name.

At 10:00am, someone will call us all together and say ‘welcome’ to us all.

The day starts with saying who we all are.

Then someone explains the rules and thanks the people who have paid for everything.

Next, we all agree an agenda. Here’s how we do it:

  • Anyone who wants to run a workshop or lead a discussion gets in a queue.
  • When it is your turn, you have 30 seconds to say what you want to do. This is called a ‘Pitch’. Someone will write down what you want to do on a post-it.
  • There is a big board with times and names of rooms.
  • Your post-it will be put next to a time and a room.

Everyone is welcome to ‘pitch’.  But no-one will try to make you!

Some people have great ideas. But they have never seen a ‘pitch’. So they don’t feel confident to join in. If that sounds like you, talk to us! We can help you think how to do a ‘pitch’.

When people have finished ‘pitching’, you need to:

  • look at the board
  • choose which workshop or discussion you want to go to
  • check which room it is in

Someone will stand by the board to help if you get stuck.

You need to follow the signs to the room. If you get lost, just ask a volunteer.

When you get to the room, the person who ‘pitched’ will welcome you. Then it’s time to join in the discussion or workshop.

If you change your mind, you can get up and go to another room. No-one will think you are rude. It is polite to do this at Gov Camp Cymru.

Your pack will tell you what time each workshop finishes, and what time the next workshop starts.

You do not have to go to every workshop. Some people get tired and want a longer break.

You might want to miss a workshop so you can:

  • sit quietly
  • think
  • talk to someone they have met
  • go for a walk to get some fresh air

At the end of the day, we all go out for drinks. Usually, the first drink is free

What are the workshops about?

We don’t know! Anyone who comes can ‘pitch’ their idea for a workshop.

There are always a lot of pitches about digital.

Digital is jargon for:

  • The internet
  • Apps on phones and tablets
  • Websites that let you do stuff (like fill in forms)
  • Things like Facebook and Twitter
  • Any electronic information (like a digital clock or radio)

Some people at Gov Camp Cymru can make apps and write computer programmes.

Everyone at Gov Camp Cymru is interested in digital – some of us use it a lot, and some of us are a bit scared of it!

Last year the pitches were about:

  • ‘open data’.

‘open’ means anyone can have it and use it.

‘data’ means the information that someone has collected (like how many people use the website GOV.UK, or answers people give to a questionnaire about Social Services)

  • Ideas for how government, politicians and public services can use ‘digital’ to do things better
  • Citizens having more power
  • Ways for public services and members of the public to work together
  • Using ‘digital’ to get involved in politics

What are your GovCamp Cymru highlights?

With the third GovCamp Cymru quickly approaching, conversations will be starting around potential pitches. Hopefully you’re all bursting with ideas, conversations and problems that you’re raring to pitch. If not, a good starting point for ideas is to explore the topics that have been discussed in previous years.

Previous pitches and session notes can be viewed here :

Click on the individual session note links to view the conversations from the day. Hopefully they will inspire you. Please also take a look at the pinterest board and storify from the lovely @DyfrigWilliams and the Good Practice Exchange for further inspiration.

As we approach the third year, we’d love to hear from all of our previous attendees about what their own personal highlights are from either #gccy14 or #gccy15. This could be the sessions you attended, the great conversation you had over coffee in the break or the new connection that you made. Whatever it is, we want to hear about it so please share on Twitter with the hashtag #gccy16 and the hashtag for the year that you’re referring to.

I’m sure the legendary 2015 blockchain game session will go down in history as one of the most memorable sessions of all time (those who were part of it, please share your story).

Blockchain 1blockchain 2

As will the session that had unexpected members of the public join in. With the wife saying about the husband “Don’t get him started!”, we had no choice but to do exactly that which resulted in enlightening and amusing perspectives. All sessions should have unexpected attendees and refreshing perspectives!

We look forward to hearing more of your stories and to seeing you all at #gccy16

The business case for attending GovCampCymru

A large hand-drawn grid which is half-filled with paper to form an agenda
Photo by Sasha Taylor used under CC-BY-2.0

You know how it is.

“Hey boss. I’ve found this great course/workshop/seminar. Can I go?”

“Probably not. Send me an email making the case and I’ll see what I can do”

For your convenience here is a draft email for you to send:

To: Your boss

Subject: Attendance at GovCampCymru

Hi boss

Just a quick note to ask for support to attend GovCampCymru.

GovCampCymru is a one-day event taking place in Cardiff on 24 September. It will focus on improving public services. It’s free to attend and I’ve been lucky enough to get a ticket (tickets are like gold dust).

Normally I’d send you a copy of the programme for the day with a list of the exciting speakers and the topics they’ll be covering. This would prove to you that I’d be learning things that would be in line with the objectives we agreed at my appraisal.

But GovCampCymru is different. The agenda is planned on the day. So I can’t tell you what will be discussed or who will be speaking.

Which might seem like a weakness. But actually it’s a strength. Because I will be able to pitch as session myself.

As you know I’m really interested in the idea of service design. I really think that if we started to design our services based on what service users need rather than commissioning services based on what we think they should have we could provided better and lower cost services. But I’m not sure how to get started with service design*.

So I’m going to pitch a session asking people to give me ideas on how to get started on service design**. I don’t know exactly who will be there but I know there will be some of the most experienced and innovative public servants in Wales.

And then I’ll choose to go to other sessions that I think will give me ideas, skills and inspiration that I can bring back into the team.

And considering it’s free I think that will be money well spent.

In fact I really just need permission to take a day to spend there.

Mind you it’s on a Saturday so maybe I’ll just go in my own time.

So I don’t even need to send this email.

Except, boss, I was thinking. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if you came along too?




*replace with whatever issue is causing you a headache

**replace with whatever issue you’d like to run a session on

Unconferences: the crucible of new ideas

MusterPoint supporting GovCampCymru is really exciting for us – not simply because it means we get to meet yet more new people passionate about solving problems in the public sector, but because events like these always give us the best ideas.

Unconferences have always been more attractive to us, simply because it’s about real people with real challenges and, as clichéd as it sounds, real passion and a desire to make change.

The very fact that it takes away all types of rank or structure and allows those who would otherwise be without voice in a more limiting environment is liberating. It means that people like me can take that first step towards shifting things in an environment where the processes don’t allow for creativity, innovation and risk.

MusterPoint came about from years of working in public sector communications and attending an unconference (BlueLightCamp) just after a particularly soul-sapping web dev meeting with people who simply didn’t get it. The perfect storm that led to MusterPoint being born, receiving first round funding from investors and now helping to change the shape of collaborative working between key partners in the public sector.

It’s no secret now that we have decided to create a Welsh version of MusterPoint – we haven’t simply run it through the Google translate—o-matic, we’ve created a new version with Welsh embedded into the platform with all support documents in Welsh and eventually, we will have a Welsh speaking support desk.

We come from a background of public sector, emergency services, local and central Government and genuinely have an interest in bringing transparency and accountability to the public in a time of cuts and budget challenges. It doesn’t have to be the way it’s always been – people like us, and you, have a voice and it is the unconference that allows for this.

We’re supporting GovCampCymru because we truly believe that the people that have the day to day job of fulfilling a public desire for knowledge and accountability are those that attend events such as these – not the big snazzy conferences with bags full of useless goodies.

Everyone who has worked on MusterPoint has been where you are, and we look forward to meeting you all in Cardiff – and beyond!

Mae cefnogi GovCampCymru yn hynod gyffrous i MusterPoint – nid yn unig gan fod yn gyfle i gyfarfod ag unigolion sy’n angerddol am ddatrys problemau yn y sector cyhoeddus, ond hefyd gan taw digwyddiadau fel GovCamp sy’n ysbrydoli ein syniadau gorau.

Gan obeithio maddewch y fath ystrydeb, mae di-gynadleddau yn ddeniadol i ni oherwydd eu bod yn denu pobl go iawn sydd ag angerdd go iawn, yn ogystal â’r awydd i weld newid byd yn wyneb heriau gwirioneddol.

Un fantais fawr yw’r fformat sydd ganddynt – eu bod yn osgoi bob math o strwythur a statws ac yn atgyfnerthu’r sawl sydd fel arall heb lais. Mae’n golygu y gall pobl fel fi gymryd y cam cyntaf tuag at ddyfodol newydd gan fod anghynadledda’n caniatáu creadigrwydd, arloesi a risg.

Daeth MusterPoint i fodolaeth wedi blynyddoedd o weithio mewn cyfathrebu yn y sector cyhoeddus ac ar ôl un anghynhadledd yn arbennig (sef BlueLightCamp); yn union ar ôl cyfarfod datblygu gwefannau a oedd yn enwedig o wael gyda phobl nad oeddent yn gallu deall yr hyn oedd yn cael ei drafod. Yr amseru perffaith yma arweiniodd at ddechrau MusterPoint, sydd nawr yn derbyn cyllid rownd gyntaf gan fuddsoddwyr ac yn helpu newid hyd a lled cydweithio rhwng partneriaid allweddol yn y sector cyhoeddus.

Nid yw’n gyfrinach mwyach ein bod wedi penderfynu creu fersiwn Gymraeg o MusterPoint – heb fodloni ar gyfieithu-o-matic Google rydym yn hytrach wedi creu fersiwn newydd gyda’r Gymraeg yn rhan annatod o’r llwyfan; gyda’r holl ddogfennau cefnogol yn Gymraeg. Yn wir yn y pendraw, ein gobaith yw y bydd gennym ddesg gymorth sy’n cyflogi siaradwyr Cymraeg.

Ein cefndir yw’r sector cyhoeddus; gwasanaethau brys, Llywodraeth leol a chanolog a gennym ddiddordeb gwirioneddol mewn tryloywder ac atebolrwydd i’r cyhoedd yn ystod cyfnod o doriadau a heriau cyllidebol. Nid oes rhaid i bethau aros yr un fath am byth – mae’n bryd i bobl fel ni – a chithau – dod o hyd i’n llais a dyma’r gynhadledd agored i ni gyflawni hyn.

Cefnogwn GovCamp Cymru oherwydd credwn fod y bobl sydd â’r gwaith beunyddiol o gyflawni awydd dibendraw’r cyhoedd am wybodaeth ac

atebolrwydd yw’r un bobl sy’n mynychu digwyddiadau GovCamp – nid y cynadleddau swmpus gyda bagiau llawn o sothach diwerth.

Mae pawb sydd wedi gweithio ar MusterPoint wedi bod yn yr un man â chi, ac edrychwn ymlaen at gwrdd â chi i gyd yng Nghaerdydd – a thu hwnt!


Diolch i chi am gefnogi @Muster_Point

Christine Townsend, Founder and CEO @ctownsenduk

Media Release – Anti-bureaucratic, pro-citizen: Is GovCamp Cymru the new face of government in Wales?

Tuesday 23rd September 2014

On Saturday, over 100 people from all over the UK will come together in Cardiff to discuss the future of public services and society in Wales.

This govcamp is an event, also known as an unconference, that has attendees leading the programme – there’s no agenda until the start of the day when people make suggestions for what they’d like to talk about. It’s free to attend.

Esko Reinikainen, co founder of Cardiff based Satori Lab, is one of the organisers:

“It’s open to anyone: public, private, whatever sector, whether this stuff is your work, or you’re just passionate about it.

“The event is about how we mobilise a network of changemakers to get to work on those issues that are affecting services and fundamentally changing society right now.

“This is not a conference, there’s no entrance fee and people are attending in their own time because they’re passionate about what they want for Wales.

“We have citizens, CEOs, public servants, tech companies and others coming together. But status and job titles don’t come into it, we’re linking up people to share ideas and start making things happen on the day.”

There are a few last minute tickets available, for more information and to book go to


Issued by Helen Reynolds (@HelReynolds) on behalf of the Satori Lab

Read more about how it works on our GovCamp Cymru explained

For more information on the event or to arrange to send a reporter/photographer contact The Satori Lab Ltd. They are:

Esko Reinikainen
07801 933068 | esko @satorilab .org | @reinikainen

Jo Carter
07454 984585 | jo @satorilab .org | @Jo_Carter64

Danielle Beck
07453 279000 | dan @satorilab .org | @dan_beckster

I got 99 ideas and a pitch is one

If you’ve not been to an unconference before , it can be daunting to even know where to start with pitching an idea for a session.

So we put our heads together and came up with some challenging, silly and interesting topics for discussion.

Do any of these help you with deciding on what you want to talk about?

Feel free to pinch, modify, ignore or add to these suggestions:

  1. How can service design help public services respond to The Williams Review?
  2. Should Local Government become a commissioning body?
  3. Is service design even possible with political interference and mass change?
  4. Does co production spell the end of elected politicians?
  5. If social media is engaging people, what is a councillors job?
  6. Is google glass just a fad or will it revolutionise social services?
  7. Is the language of innovation just the new management speak?
  8. Should local government have one service delivery platform like
  9. Should organisations try to improve employee engagement or should it be inherent in everything they do?
  10. Who are the real leaders in government?
  11. Should every team have a ‘hacker’?
  12. Public services ‘dance’ around the subject but never address it. Discuss.
  13. Why is the public sector losing its most talented people?
  14. Is co production just a new fancy term for consultation?
  15. Is engagement just a new buzz word or something we should be doing?
  16. Are PR people and social media gurus sucking our budgets dry?
  17. Why can’t we get rid of dead wood?
  18. Should public services be run like a business?
  19. Why can’t we start with a blank sheet… everyone to reapply for the job that we now need them to do.
  20. Public services shouldn’t be a job for life but should be an environment of ‘survival of the fittest’
  21. Will robots replace our jobs?
  22. How can we get better at interpreting data?
  23. Will self driving cars change the way we deliver services?
  24. Meals on drones – a reality?
  25. Does traditional social housing have a future?
  26. Do our communities have the skills and knowledge to really help us shape new services?
  27. Does open data really matter?
  28. Why do citizens lack trust in government?
  29. Are we really innovating?  Or polishing turds?
  30. If you want to create the illusion of change, have a restructure
  31. How can we fix procurement?
  32. Do we spend departmental budgets with the same care that we would our own money?
  33. Do we understand our communities?
  34. Could community profiling attract inwards investment?
  35. Can we avoid another social workers saga through more objective recruitment practices?
  36. Do we patronise our citizens with phony offers of involvement when we really think we know best?
  37. Are we prepared for the ageing population?
  38. What makes a happy workforce?
  39. Do we lose the essence of what we need to do in the jargon we use to describe it?
  40. Is there a realistic future of female leadership in government soon?
  41. Has flexible/mobile working increased our working hours?
  42. Are young people not ready for work? Or are employers not ready for the new generation?
  43. How do we stay ahead of the curve?
  44. Wales has missed the open data boat, how do we catch up?
  45. Leadership and culture in public services
  46. Is representative democracy in Wales representative or even democratic?
  47. Technologically, Welsh government is still in the late 20th Century, how can we fix that?
  48. How do we shift from policy made to suit government needs to policy made to suit user needs?
  49. All fur coat no knickers! Pandering to narratives of change, the say – do gap between talking culture change and actually being ready to commit to it
  50. How do we innovate and deliver the day job?
  51. If Ken Robinson’s vision for education is more fitting to modern learning, why aren’t we doing it yet?
  52. Staff motivation in austerity
  53. Culture change – is impatience a virtue?
  54. How can we make sure GovCamp Cymru is not just a talking shop?
  55. How to make innovation happen when your team just want to keep their heads down
  56. Politicians need to be on top of the latest management and organisational thinking to make government work
  57. Nudge: can we create behaviour change without it being creepy?
  58. Telling the story of public services – why are we so bloody bad at it?
  59. Can 3D printing save us stacks of cash?
  60. We should be conducting all meetings by videoconference to save unnecessary travel
  61. Why can’t I pay my council tax and fines using PayPal?
  62. Government workers are all suits who wouldn’t know fun if it hit them in the face with a procurement document file.  True/False.
  63. In times of budget cuts, should the arts be the first to go?
  64. Social media is too noisy to be useful to government right?
  65. Who has the most power in government and are they using it wisely?
  66. Public sector communications – should we go the full Buzzfeed?
  67. Public sector workers would be more effective if they were paid more.
  68. Public sector workers would be more effective if they were paid less.
  69. How can we promote the Welsh language more effectively?
  70. How do we engage the disengaged in society?
  71. Collaboration – sharing good and bad
  72. Data: Why do supermarkets know more about citizens than government? Can we change that?
  73. Why is it so difficult to share data between departments?
  74. Jargon: How do we talk like real people?
  75. Partnership working: how can we break down the barriers?
  76. How can we share lessons from failure?
  77. More leadership with less cash
  78. YouTube democracy: Do people really want to watch public meetings?
  79. Sustainability: how can public services be greener?
  80. Do we need to deliver what we always have?
  81. How can social care really integrate with the NHS?
  82. Why don’t we work with the voluntary sector?
  83. It’s all about the Benjamins: can we really do more with less?
  84. We’re looking for prudent healthcare. Can we have prudent local government?
  85. The democratic deficit: how do we better involve young people in our work?
  86. New Kids on the Block: should we be embracing tools like Snapchat?
  87. How do we engage with people who are seldom heard?
  88. What are user needs anyway?
  89. Is good practice a bad traveller?
  90. Is audit helpful?
  91. Making the case for more preventative work
  92. How can we make better use of public assets?
  93. How can we improve scrutiny?
  94. Nobody reads them. What to do with public notices?
  95. Employee engagement: What can we learn from the frontline?
  96. Do citizens want to be more than service recipients?
  97. How can participatory budgeting be empowering in an age of austerity?
  98. What can we learn from England to improve our public services in Wales?
  99. What do i need to know, that I don’t know right now?

Here are the discussions from UKgovcamp

And some more inspiration from Govcamp Australia:

If you’re ready to start discussing ideas for a possible pitch, you can head over to the discussion page and offer up your suggestions.

The Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy: awesome fringe event

GovCamp Cymru fringe event
Friday 26th September
4pm – 6.30pm
All welcome
Register for free
Photo By Alan Cleaver
Photo By Alan Cleaver
Are you interested in how digital technology can help people engage with the work of parliament? Do you have any ideas that could shape the way MPs and members of the public interact in the future, or how citizens can share dialogue and bring change?
Join us for an event with the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy to discuss these themes, along with broader ideas about digital democracy in the UK today.
Everyone is welcome to participate. All you need is an open mind and a willingness to share ideas.
All the ideas from the evening will be documented and fed in to the commission’s report.
The Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy was set up to consider, report and make recommendations on how parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom can embrace the opportunities afforded by the digital world to become more effective in its work. The commission will report its findings in early 2015.
The GovCamp Cymru team will be inviting delegates to join them for dinner in Cardiff at 7pm after this event.  We will need you to register that you are coming so we can book the table.
Please note: this is not sponsored and guests cover the costs of their meal and drinks.

Events, info and what’s going on

Friday 26th September
The day before Govcamp Cymru there will be a fringe event with the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy. from 4pm – 6.30pm.
Got an idea for a fringe event that you want to put on?  Get in touch! We welcome ideas and will help if we can: email us or tweet or get in touch on Facebook.

The GovCamp Cymru team will be inviting delegates to join them for dinner in Cardiff at 7pm after this event.  We will need you to register that you are coming so we can book the table.
Please note: this is not sponsored and guests cover the costs of their meal and drinks.
Some handy suggestions for those of you who don’t live near by by.
Saturday 27th September
It’s GovCamp Cymru at the Parade Hall!
All the details about what to expect are on the GovCamp Cymru Explained page.
It’s a Saturday night, you’ll be buzzing with ideas and have made lots of new contacts – we’ll be encouraging those who want to stay around in the city centre for drinks and food. Collaborate, connect, inspire and party! More details about that here soon…

Staying in Cardiff for GovCamp Cymru

If you’re coming to Cardiff forGovCamp Cymru in September, you might want to stay around for networking, dinner and drinks before or after we’ve done our stuff at the main event.

There are fringe events the night before and after the conference and you can check for details on our ‘What’s going on‘ post.

Here are some hotel ideas.

Hotels in Cardiff City Centre

Cardiff’s got lots of hotels for all budgets. Take a look at Tripadvisor or try these suggestions:

Hotels in Cardiff Bay

If you fancy staying by the sea, Cardiff Bay is gorgeous and about a 40 minute walk (1.7 – ish miles) or quick taxi ride to the GovCampCymru venue.