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Christmas letter and announcing FCDO Digital Partner

Reflecting on an extraordinary year for CYB and beyond
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Ben Stewart

Managing Director/Founder

17 Dec 2020

I do feel that this is a year that requires some words from me to close, and to look forward.

Using any measure it has been an extraordinary, difficult year in almost every sense. Alongside the tragic loss of loved ones for many, for others 2020 has meant the loss of dreams, postponed futures, lost incomes and hugely challenging personal situations. The impacts are wide and deep, and will be felt for years.

Throughout this I’ve witnessed great courage and positivity, not least within our team here at CYB. I’m rewarded by being part of this small company, where the raw impacts of what we’ve all experienced and witnessed around us have been shared, listened to, and contemplated together.

We’ve managed to keep busy, too. So I want to share with you some of the positive work we’ve been doing here at CYB this year.

  • We worked with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to globally launch the urgent coronavirus overseas loans service on GOV.UK. The service passed external service standards assessment and was delivered in 7 days from the minister’s request, a record time for a new GOV.UK service

  • We launched the Give A Little online fundraising service, which aids charities and churches who can no longer receive in situ payment card donations. I can add that donations made through the Give A Little service to date now total more than £1.5M

  • The FCDO and CYB established, and now manage with the Home Office, an important open source project in UK Government. It is used by both the FCDO and Home Office, who are collaborating on a common code base (with other government departments also interested). This software dramatically reduces the cost of building and maintaining government services. It’s fantastic to see FCDO leading such huge change in government, with them becoming one of the most advanced digital areas in the public sector

I’m also very pleased to announce that we have been chosen, through an open and competitive tender process on the government Digital Marketplace, to be working from the 1st December with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. For the next two years, CYB will act as the FCDO’s Consular Services Digital Delivery Partner.

Our work will be supporting the FCDO to help deliver their consular strategy of Helping British People Overseas, whilst drawing on experiences of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Together, we will work on:

  • Creating new online services to support British people abroad

  • Supporting and making improvements to existing services

  • Promoting an agile culture of working within Consular Services and assisting with the upskilling of permanent team members

Within all this, we know only too well how difficult it is to survive as a small company in a competitive market. But after ten years, we are still here. That is testimony to our amazing spirited and skilled individuals coming together to help others transition to a digital society.

I certainly know that I, and believe we as a team, end the year better, stronger, and much wiser than we started it.

And as is the way following a storm, I am cautiously optimistic that we will find calm and clarity, and also many opportunities, while working together as a team next year.

Happy Christmas, and best wishes to you for 2021,

Ben Stewart, Managing Director/Founder, Caution Your Blast Ltd.

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