Padma Gillen


How we reduced a government department's content by 80%, rewrote the rest, and still met user needs

In 2012, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reviewed users' experience of its guidance. They found it was often out of date, overlapping or unclear about what was required. Businesses reported that guidance was difficult and time-consuming to read and understand. 75% of businesses saw lack of clear information as a barrier to compliance.

Scroll's Padma Gillen was hired to lead a content team through a process of defining the needs of users, then designing content to meet those needs. There was a tight deadline and an organisational culture which was often resistant to the project. It was tough, but taking a strict user-needs-based approach, the team managed to reduce the initial 120,000 pages by a full 80%.

In this presentation Padma will talk through the challenges and lessons learned.


Padma heads up the training and development side of Scroll. He uses his expertise in content design and agile content production to help organisations create quality content and maximise the effectiveness of their content teams. He also advises organisations on how to set up and deliver successful web content projects, and coaches them through the process.

Previously, Padma was Head of Content Design at the UK's Government Digital Service (GDS). He had overall responsibility for the quality of content on GOV.UK, the award-winning website of the UK Government and was head of a practitioner community of around 2000 government web editors.