Small change adds up

Ahhh, Budget Day.

When I first started work at COI, we knew it was the Budget by the formation of a long line of couriers and journalists winding literally around the block, waiting for their press pack of the speech and additional materials to be handed out, that was issued to the waiting hoards the minute the Chancellor of the Exchequer finished speaking in the Commons.

That was back in 2000, and these days there’s no such queue on Budget Day. Of course, all that press material is now mainly distributed online – far more convenient and sensible for all concerned, even if it makes Budget Day here at COI headquarters feel like any other day save for just a few die hards.

That’s just one more small way in which online has changed our lives. It’s hard to believe that just ten years ago best practice was to have couriers ferrying around piles of paper all over the city, something that now it seems as sensible and modern as, say, wearing a bowler hat – a Civil Service icon as recent as the 60s and 70s and yet which is now an utter anachronism.

Times change. The fascinating thing is how things can change so far and so fast, and yet at the same time at a pace that we barely notice it happening day-to-day until small details (such as – for me, today – the lack of a line around COI on budget day) suddenly makes us stop and reflect and realise.

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