A Survey on WordPress in the Public Sector

Updated 6th May: Included link to submitted WordPress sites so far:

I am conducting some research into the use of WordPress as a CMS /Website Platform for Public Sector Organisations. I am keen to understand the scale of implementation and the variety for which it has been used.

In Devon for example our Schools Web Development team, have started using WordPress as a the default platform for any new school website. Also the corporate web team here have started using WordPress to provide a platform for some partnership / project sites

I might consider looking to extend this survey to include voluntary sector in the future, but at the moment i am keen to understand where in the public sector WordPress has been used.

I have put together a very simple Google Form to collect the URL’s of Public Sector sites powered by WordPress. I would have embedded it here directly but you can’t with a WordPress.com site.

Select here to submit some WordPress powered sites:

Thank you in advance for any contribution you make :o)

You can view the WordPress sites which have been submitted so far here

Business Capability Modelling and Total Place

One of the current areas of work i am looking at is thinking about Business Capability Modelling for the council. It is very early days and is seen as part of the development of our Enterprise Business Architecture effort.

However the first question I asked myself was can we in the public sector really do Business Capability Modelling and if we could what value would it actually offer the wider organisation and more importantly the residents of Devon.

So i started to think about what we mean by capability in this context and what difference would it make on the ground.  I then started to think about the wider context that this makes you think about. So in a local context, to meet outcomes we can’t deliver all our the citizen outcomes on our own and therefore we would need to consider the capabilities of our Partners and key stakeholders in the County. This lead me straight to “Total Place”.

Total Place is a new initiative that looks at how a ‘whole area’ approach to public services can lead to better services at less cost. It seeks to identify and avoid overlap and duplication between organisations – delivering a step change in both service improvement and efficiency at the local level
You can find our more about Total Place here

Gartner analyst Mark McDonald posted on the Gartner blog: Capability is more powerful than Process and gives a nice explanation of capability thinking which i feel provides an example of how we in the public sector could think about and apply Business Capability Modelling to support “Total Place”.

iTunes illustrates capability thinking.  First off, iTunes is build from a collection or resources: the Internet, digital rights management software, the store, the delivery vehicle (iPod) and a set of relationships with artists and record companies.  Sure there is a process in there, but the process of how you sell digital media is not the focus, the outcome is the focus that lead to assembling a range of resources – most of which Apple did not own or exclusively control.

Process advocates and devotees will say that I am mincing my words, but look at the relative value of the physical supply chain the music industry invested so much in and the business value flowing through the alternative capability.  There is an advantage in thinking broader and beyond processes.

The good news is that process thinking is an integral part of thinking about capabilities.  It is just that capability thinking opens the door to new combinations required to create outcomes, rather than to support process steps.

The interesting connection for me is that in the above scenario we could see ourselves as “Apple” as we require the capability of other stakeholders to drive forward a strategic set of outcomes that come from our Community Strategy. We have the Community Leadership Role, the question is are we really prepared to use it in this way to deliver the right outcomes for people.

What we need to understand better first is what capabilities we have and those of our Partners and stakeholders. We also need to truly understand what outcomes we are trying to deliver and the value they create.

As i said at the start, this is early days and my thinking still needs to develop.

Likeminds 2010 – was it really for me?

In my previous post i shared my first thoughts and observations from attending the Likeminds 2010 conference. It was a great day and my thoughts have now started to settle down. If you wish to read other peoples views on the event, check out the likeminds site.

The question i am asking myself now is  – was the event for me?

I work in local government and i know that we can learn from other sectors and other professionals, but i’m starting to think that for a whole day event, i didn’t really come away with anything new  – that is not to say that the quality of presentations weren’t great because they were. I was very impressed with Jon Akwue, Joanne Jacobs and Chris Brogan who was one of the first 10 people i started to follow on twitter – Joanne’s Gartner style hype cycle for Augmented Reality was very interesting.

However it seems to me that we (public sector folk) are actually very advanced in our collective thinking on the potential of social software and social media. I include social software because i believe that we will gain huge advantages implementing this technology internally first before we embark externally on the road to radical transformation. This point was supported by an excellent presentation by Olivier Blanchard on “Operationalising Social Communications” – Ok so the title is a bit too “Communications” friendly for most public sector folk, but to be honest i don’t care what we call it, as long as we actually ALL understand what we are really talking about.

If you are in the public sector and you have heard Dave Briggs talk, or spoken to the following people in and around the public sector : Dominic Campbell, Jeremy Gould, Paul Clarke, Tim Davies, Mary McKenna, Steve Dale, Catherine Howe and Julie Harris to name but a few. All of these people i have heard talk about practical examples of change using social web technologies over the past 2 years. From the IDeA’s Knowledge Hub, eSafeguarding Projects, Youth Participation and Engagement, Learning Organisations, Reboot Britain, Digital Mentors and Virtual Civic Spaces. All of these in my opinion are great examples of the power and potential of social media.

Surely this is about FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE not just in businesses, public sector organisations but in society as a whole.

I appreciate that for many people Likeminds was a place where they learned about new stuff and new approaches, but for me, i have already been on that journey, but it was good to listen to great speakers.

I love likeminds and i love being part of it, but perhaps this time it was just a little to broad for me and not deep enough.

I suspect that the other likeminds offerings would meet my needs but being based in local government, funds are limited if not non existent to enable participation in some of the others.

I think that the main reason for me to feel this way was that it feels like the event was aimed at a more commercial group of people, it was no coincidence that a large number of people attending were agencies and people offering services in this space.

My thoughts continue.

Joined up to Mashed up

Joined Up Government  – what does that really mean?  I know what it implies, that we are all disconnected and need something to bring us together…

In it’s most basic format and in the web context, i would say that it includes a “deep link” from my site directly to content or services in another site, instead of there homepage. We will all recognise that as common sense, wouldn’t we?

As part of the work i am doing in my council to redevelop and redesign the public facing website – i have proposed a new website framework moving us toward a “mashed-up” future.  Joined up will still play a role, but in a different context. Deep links will no longer mean the same thing and it will be moving us toward a platform that can deliver the content you want directly to your personalised web front end or in my example the council’s web framework (or homepage)

OR we could open the applications/content/services up to 3rd parties who would also be able to deliver them into personalised web front ends or their websites

My view is that, i need to ensure that my councils online services and information is accessible and deliverable in as many formats and medium as possible.  I also need to ensure that we are efficient and effective and provide a professional service.

Joining up with other councils creates a relationship and a reliance that is not always supported or sustainable. It also creates a forced structure on how we should join up information and services, putting increasing pressure on us to get these links right in the first place.  WHY? because we want our citizens to have a great online experience……that does however assume that i know what these citizens are after, each and every single one of them.

When i last checked our web stats (we use Google), we had just under 300,000 visits for May and 305,000 visits for June (not bad for public sector websites), so who are these people and what do they all want to do on the site.

This was causing my head to turn around and i have always been puzzled as to the real validity of web stats, but i see the value and i saw an opportunity.

Don’t build a single website to meet all of the individual expectations, provide a platform for all of individuals to create their own experience and providing our services and information are useful and usable and good or even great online experience.

This is how people seem to be using social networks to create an individual view. The public sector can learn a huge amount from this approach.

We first have to get past the need to deliver non -critical information to our citizens but information we are judged on in terms of communications, performance and reputation. Still some work to do, but we have started the journey none the less.