In 1821 mine owners across the Dawley coalfields (in what is now Telford, Shropshire) agreed to collectively reduce miners’ pay. This sparked an uprising that lasted days and involved hundreds of women, children and men. Strikers and their families walked miles across the coalfields calling on miners and other workers to join the strike. In the end the uprising was ended following a bloody confrontation on the “Cinder Hills” vast slag heaps in what is now the centre of Telford.

Local papers reported it as Shropshire’s own Peterloo “Cinderloo” but since then the incident has been largely forgotten.

Telford community

A Telford…


In partnership with Nesta: we recently undertook a discovery project to better understand the problem space around arts and culture listings. You can find out more about it here.

To tie in with the publication of the report we sat down with Rob Ashelford from Nesta and recorded a podcast to explore how the project came about and what we learned.

You can listen to that podcast here:

Or subscribe to the feed so you never miss another episode.

Show notes

The show brought together Rob Ashelford, Esko Reinikainen and Ben Proctor.

Find the report here.

Rob referenced the map of…

Mapio Cymru lives at

We’ve been working on a project to improve mapping in Wales and in Welsh: Mapio Cymru. It’s a project that is only made possible by the magic of open data and open source tools.

In the latest edition of our podcast series “Talkoot” Leah Lockhart sat down with Dai Lingual, Syr Carl Morris ☺☻and Ben Proctor (that’s me) to find out more about the project, where it came from and where it’s going.

Listen now on Soundcloud

I return to the subject of when searching online by public servants becomes more than routine

Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash

Article eight and ickiness

Many years ago I wrote a post about when searches on social media became “icky”. This was basically looking at the question of when public bodies might infringe the right to privacy of a citizen. In particular I highlighted what I saw as the risk of public servants stumbling into a space that turned out to be “icky’. When does searching for things online and generally monitoring the online environment become “surveillance”?


The sort of things in my mind included (and these are theoretical examples, not things I’ve necessarily come across in the real world):

  • a social worker with concerns…

How biologists are trained to look at the world

Photo by Michael Nunes on Unsplash

Biology is awesome

I spent the early part of my career as an biologist. This is not the time to describe how I got from there to digital and data consultancy except to say that it seemed like a logical journey to me.

When I was an undergrad the Institute of Biology ran a campaign to suggest that Biology should replace PPE as the degree of choice for aspiring civil servants. …

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

What is going on with your websites

We at The Satori Lab are compiling reports into the use of local government websites in the UK. We’re asking councils for some basic data about their visits and their users. Then we’re comparing this to other councils (and also to data from 2015).

I say “we” but really it’s my colleague Luke Piper who is doing the work.

We’ve published reports for Wales and South West England and reports for other parts of England are in the works. The reports have been quite well received by their target audience: local authority web or digital managers.

They are free to…

Apply and test your learning over 6 months

We’re working in partnership with CIH Cymru on a project that I’m, personally, really excited by.

Service Design in Practice is a new learning and development programme for people who have service design responsibilities. It goes beyond traditional training courses (in fact it is complementary to them).

Learning the theory is fairly straight forward. Putting it into practice can be difficult, especially without support.

We’ve teamed up with Melys Phinnemore who is a leadership and development specialist and partnered with CIH Cymru to run a pilot cohort.

The other day I sat down with Melys and Jo Carter to find…

Free your organisation

Listen to the pod

In the latest edition of Talkoot: the podcast for people working to build excellent public services Esko Reinikainen talked to Lisa Gill and Sharon Dale about Liberating Structures.

Listen to this episode now on Soundcloud

Or subscribe to the feed so you never miss another episode.

Show notes

Sharon, Lisa and Esko were talking about Liberating Structures. There’s lots of information available at

Check out Lisa’s excellent blogpost “What are Liberating Structures?”

Listen to Lisa interviewing the authors of “The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures” on the Leadermorphosis podcast. In fact you should probably subscribe to the Leadermorphosis…

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

We recently published a report into the use of local govenment websites in South West England.

This is the second in a series of reports we are publishing into the use of local authority websites.

The report itself is great (obviously I’m not in any way biased) but we wanted to talk about some of the slightly wider issues arising from the data. So we asked Katherine Rooney to sit down with us. We recorded the conversation and released it as part of our occasional podcast series “Talkoot: the podcast for people working to build excellent public services”.

Katherine has…

We’ve been running a discovery on becoming a co-op. We have learned, in the way of these things, a number of interesting and potentially contradictory items.

There is a need for a mutual support co-op

Mutual support

We have spoken to many freelancers who, while they value the independence and flexibility of their freelance life, would value the opportunity of a mutual support co-op.

A mutual support co-op could help freelancers who typically feel alone. It could help people learn from each other and share their experience and skills. It could build a “Our way” ethos and make it easier for freelancers to co-operate together on larger projects. …

Ben Proctor

Data and digital innovation director at Data Orchard CIC helping make non-profit organisations awesome at using data. Like maps, open data, dogs, bikes & boats.

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