April 15, 2013
Architecture, Community Engagement, Digital Framework for Local Public Services, engagement, Future, governance, Local Government, Open Data
co-productive, councillors, digital by design, framework, Local Government, localgov, Localgovdigital, networked, open by default, public services
I make no apologies that probably the majority of my future posts will be linked to explaining and exploring in more detail the Digital Framework for Local Public Services.
So this post is focusing on some of the middle area of the picture…in particular the box around leadership and decision-making. This part of the journey is critical not just in a wider context of leadership and decision-making but in ensuring that we have open and transparent local decision-making as well as a clear accountability in terms of local representation.
A Framework for the future of Digital Local Public Services
To recap I previously explained this area in this way:
We require strong visible leadership to enable transformation and strong decisions that ensure that we all contribute to creating a climate for growth and wellbeing. The leadership can also come from anywhere not just local public service providers
Capacity Building / Networks and Networks of Networks
Stimulating local action and identifying and connecting with networks and networks of networks to generate and create new opportunities and markets.
These connections can and will come from anywhere, this is not solely down to the council or local authority – this is about people and places.
Now all this is easy to write and even easier to say, but the practical implications of this are slightly more complicated and require a shift in thinking about what we should expect of our future leaders and decision makers and how we help those people become networked and connected.
Now the great thing about the internet is that you can always find and connect to people who are in a far better position to dig deeper into the thinking and that is exactly what Catherine Howe has done in relation to the Networked Councillors project. It came out of two things:
If we are going to have more networked and digital citizens we are going to need politicians with the right skills – we will need networked councillors but we have not yet really explored what that means
Just showing people how to use twitter doesn’t solve the problem
I’m really pleased that Catherine has shared this work as I personally think it validates the wider framework and also adds a layer of detail which I was obviously lacking (on purpose of course)
The report on the website is well worth a read and is easy to digest.
I want to pick out another quote form the report which to me helps to proactively link this to the wider framework and the language of the framework which is:
The qualities that the Networked Councillor should embody are found in the way in which Next Generation Users are approaching and using technology. We suggest that the following qualities, which can already be evidenced online, will be inherent:
Open by default: This is open not just in terms of information but also in terms of thinking and decision-making
Digitally native: Networked Councillors will be native in or comfortable with the online space, not in terms of age but in terms of the individual adopting the behaviours and social norms of the digital culture
Co–productive: Co-production is a way of describing the relationship between Citizen and State which brings with it an expectation that everyone in the conversation has power to act and the potential to be active in the outcome as well as the decision-making process
Networked: A Networked Councillor will be able to be effective via networked as well as hierarchical power as a leader
This is obviously one part of a wider complex environment and although this report is focused on councillors specifically it also applies itself to future leaders and decisions makers whether a local councillor or not….however for me this is a fantastic start to the discussion and conversation.
June 13, 2012
engagement, governance, Innovation, Local Government, participation
cabinet meeting, Cllr John Hart, council meetings, tweeting
A very short post to share some good news.
On Wednesday the council started tweeting the Councils Cabinet meeting for the first time – which I’m sure you’ll agree is a great step forward and one which was well received.
You can watch and listen to the meeting here as well and you might be interested to know that at 7 minutes and 48 seconds you can hear Cllr John Hart welcome the “tweeter” and recognises that it an important new development and opportunity.
February 3, 2012
Content, engagement, Web
buddypress, digital communications team, Matt Down, provider engagement network, UkGovCamp
Just before christmas a colleague within our social care commissioning team approached me and asked about how we could help provide an online network to enable providers of health and social care services to raise issues for discussion between one another and with County Council and NHS Devon.
Initially I suggested he explore some free to use tools on the web to help him refine his requirements and better understand the types of features he feels would be of value. I think most people assume I’ll simply throw a tool at them…but I’m keen to ensure that people focus on the problems they are trying to solve and how these can be solved.
About 3-4 weeks ago we had a catch up call on the phone where we went through the features and how he would like the network to operate. Now as a stroke of luck perhaps, the requirements he listed exactly matched the forum i happened to be using that day which was the UKGovCamp buddypress site.
So I suggested we create a buddy press test site on my teams hosting and we explore it further with some of his other colleagues the following week.
So that is what we did, we sat down and went through the out of the box features and they loved it…we refined some of the features and created some additional privacy which took about 2-3 hours - we didn’t even create any visual design aspects, as we said we could apply these at any time once they had them created. We then handed over a fully functioning online network platform last week and they launched it last Friday!
This rapid launch surprised me a bit but it wasn’t a problem…although on Monday this week we made some additional changes based on some very early feedback from users on Friday evening and Monday morning, but that didn’t take very long at all.
So far this week it has had a flurry of people signing up which has been great and we have had lots of great feedback from people.
We still need to work through some of the community management challenges and processes and help them facilitate the community and allow it to grow in a sustainable way…but we’d rather do that live then wait until we felt we were capable of doing this before launching.
Thanks go to Matt Down in the team who pulled all of this together in pretty much no time.
January 30, 2012
Collaboration, Communication, Content, engagement, governance, Local Government, participation, Strategy, Web
#UKGC12, community, content strategy, contentcamp, govcamp, Sarah Lay
A long overdue post…and I suspect it won’t add a great deal to this excellent summary by Sarah Lay, who co-hosted the session with me but I’ll share my perspective nonetheless.
The whole idea of the session came about because of Sarah and myself chatting and constructively challenging each other over what is and isn’t content strategy in local government.
We sort of agreed that it was an emerging area but most (we believed) was already happening in other councils. Some explicit in their approach (Liverpool) and other less so…so may not have even written any of this stuff down before…
So the Friday session was all about (from my point of view) asking and proposing what people thought Content Strategy was all about and why it was very different to traditional web strategies…
My thoughts on the session itself were that it felt like being the odd one out for a large part of the session…explaining that the previous 10 years of eGovernment had basically caused us to think in the wrong way about our websites and that in large parts Better Connected hasn’t really forced us to think differently either…I’m not going to get into a debate here about the merits or not of eGovernment or Better Connected…they served and still serve a purpose…
I captured some additional thoughts about content strategy on a previous post here, but include the specific comments about content strategy below:
Content strategy is a game changer – changing the thinking built up over the las 10 years since the start of the egovernment agenda – this triggered the anti-user approach in developing websites in my humble opinion…it essentially turned sites that were aimed at users into mediocre corporately assimilated content waste lands…lacking in any meaning as to how to build and manager a community and help move aspects of communications and service interaction into more efficient channels…but that is the past…we can learn from it, but we must first recognise the mistakes we made…not everyone made them but most did…this is all just my opinion of course but localgov as a community needs to think about how it develops its online and digital offering better – perhaps in a similar reboot approach taken by the GDS…it does not matter what you call it…but it does need to think about some key principles, for example one might be.. getting content to people and not people to websites…this then provides the drivers for your content in social spaces as opposed to having a specific focus on social media….this does not mean you shouldn’t develop specific channel standards, in fact this reinforces the need for standards within channels…but based on managing your content flow in it and how you might monitor or measure it.
The more we spoke the more I guess we sounded a bit like a local council version of the government digital service…and this was reinforced when hearing Mike Bracken and his presentation on the Government Digital Service which directly followed our session in the main auditorium…much of what he said was resonating with me and whether or not others thought the same but for me at least i actually felt like i shared the ambitions of central government when it comes to web…this is the first time since i started in local gov web back in 2003…so a major break through in my opinion.
The big challenge is accepting that we can’t all create the same content strategy, but we accepted that we could all contribute to some form of framework or an understanding as to what the core components are….An idea for a saturday “doing session”…
Taken by iamadonut at UKGC12
The saturday session for me was not exactly what I had hoped for…this was mainly down to the fact that I had naively assumed that the people who were engaged and committed to helping on friday were in fact not there on the saturday…But that didn’t mean the session didn’t prove valuable nonetheless.
Ok, so we didn’t create a framework, we didn’t get to a comprehensive list of components…but what we did get to was as Sarah refers to her summary was that we should create a “Content Strategy Community”.
So yes, we are planning on pulling together a space for a community to come together…we are currently looking at a set of tools and how these might fit together to best suit the needs of a community as well as more formal and sustainable place for it to be hosted.
If you are in local government and work in and around digital content (web managers very much included here) then please leave a comment below or on sarah’s blog or just DM your contact details via twitter to either of us and we’d love for you to get involved…