what I will do next

So heres the thing; I love local government (localgov) and anyone with a passion for it.

But as we march towards 2015, there are capability gaps in localgov and the wider public sector.

Some, possibly many parts are behind the digital curve.  But that’s the tip of the iceberg.  There are also policy, cultural and workload issues as well, to name but a few.  Basically, I’m referring to the shortage of resource and skills to deliver world class user centric services, both internally and with external help.

I will change that.

All over our United Kingdom there are talented people who can make things better.  So we’ll draw groups of 12 in to 1 place (lets call them the dirty dozeners).  Then challenge them to show us all how to ‘level up’.

With your help I will:

  • crowdsource challenges to be solved
  • crowdsource potential dirty dozeners
  • let anyone vote on the things above
  • tie dozeners into 6 week contracts
  • crowdfund the resources they need
  • match dozener’s skills to challenges
  • co-locate them into 1 open space
  • give them challenges and let them deliver
  • then send them home with fresh ideas, skills and solutions

Come the next election we’ll all have an alternative model to deliver the local things, on a national scale.

Thoughts?  I’ve created a kanban board which you can comment on (you’ll need a Trello account).

There was a hangout at 1pm Sunday 12 October 2014 which due out useful comments and ideas.

You can see (and add to them) via http://j.mp/localgovalpha-how-to-identify-the-dozen

The hashtag is currently #LocalGovAlpha.  Come get some

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Let’s Replace Council Websites with Local.Gov.Uk – a GDS for Local Government

Richard Copley MSc, BSc, SMSITM (and CIO)

140 characters is not a lot of space, but sometimes a tweet can contain a very big idea. In December 2013 Dominic Campbell (@dominiccampbell) tweeted:

dctweet

“I reckon it would be possible to build a GDS platform for all #localgov for the price of the new Birmingham Library website” 

If you’re not sure what GDS is then click here.

GDS certainly seem to have no appetite to attempt to tackle local gov – they have too much on their plate already. They have offered to share code, standards, APIs, frameworks etc – the philosophy being that we create a service of ‘small pieces loosely joined’ (a phrase which was originally used as an analogy to describe the Internet) – this means that responsibility for implementing this stuff would be devolved to individual Councils. It’s nice of the GDS to offer to share this knowledge, but I don’t…

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Making #LocalGov news easier to read

Before I joined the Government Digital Service, I hacked together some Local Government news feeds into RSS.  I did this under the guise of LocalGovBot.

I basically looked at each local authority’s website and catalogued some of their digital output.  You can view the work so far in this spread sheet.

After Housing Camp, I was inspired to see how I could present these in a readable format.  As I’d been banging on about automation, I decided to use If This Then That + an app that would work on desktop and mobile devices.

The collected feeds are shared via Google Reader (which will be switched off in July 2013).  Using If This Then That, I selected an existing recipe to push news items in Pocket.

Hit me up if you want to know more.

#LocalGov to #GovUK @GDSTeam – OMG!

I have moved from Birmimgham City Council (BCC) to the Government Digital Service (GDS) in London, taking up a role as User Support Lead and today, Tuesday 18th September 2012 is my first day.  I’m a little excited, to put it mildly 🙂

GDS focus on making national Government more efficient (at least from a digital point of view) building on the work done by DirectGov and others.  I will help shape a world class user support team, solving issues and garnering feedback to improve our service.

So, I’m a civil servant now, not a public servant, right?  Or am I both? #confused.

This is an important distinction, as during my involvement in the recent “Local GDS” buzz, a wise #GovUK sage connected me in private and advised me to think and act carefully.  I had created the @LGDSTeam Twitter account and associated blog and was bashing out ideas and interacting with others.  Even with my usual good intentions, this was wrong, especially without first consulting my new employer.  So I stopped using @LGDSTeam and changed the bio to read, “I have moved to @LocalGovDigital. NB:This account is in no way, shape or form related to @gdsteam“.

This is important, because the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) look after local Government, not GDS.  National Government consists of a dozen or so departments.  Local Government consists of well over 400 local authorities.  Whatever parallels in efficiency savings though the use of digital technology I had imagined, I had joined 2 dots without first considering the implications.  Anyway, lesson learnt. Promise.

So, my main concern; I’m now a civil servant.  Will I need to start thinking even more politically than I did in BCC?  Is “politically” the right word?  Please help me by commenting below.

I have much to learn about GDS’ mandate and will certainly will be reading up on it over the next few days and asking many, many questions of my new boss.  On my reading hit list are: –

  1. Government ICT Strategy – Strategic Implementation Plan
  2. Government Digital Service – Putting the public first…
  3. Re-read all the blogs and comments at digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk

I don’t want to hang up my funky #LocalGov baseball cap and start parading around in a #GovUK bowler hat (not that such a thing exists any more, I hope).

I do want to help find the common “digitally efficient” ground between #LocalGov and #GovUK.

But boy, am I gonna do it carefully, referring to experts and taking advice.