I’m going to be talking to a bunch of public sector folk on Thursday as part of a Public Sector Forums event entitled Public Sector Websites – Essential Issues for Managers, Developers and Others.
It should be a good day – as well as me, other speakers include:
- Gavin Woods – Business Development Manager, BrowseAloud
- Jack Pickard, Web Services Manager, Public Sector Forums
- Dan Champion – Champion Internet Solutions
- Simon Halberstam – ‘Weblaw’ & Partner, Sprecher Grier Halberstam LLP
- Simon Wakeman – Head of Marketing, Medway Council
- Peter Barton – Lincolnshire County Council
My bit is on ‘Social Networking and other Tools of Engagement’. Here’s the blurb:
Dave will begin to identify what the social web can do, and help equip the delegation with the skills and tools that will enable them to succeed using those tools.
Should be a good day. If you aren’t already booked up, what are you waiting for?
The Power of Information Taskforce has shared some great advice on their blog for local authorities to help them share their data with people who want to do interesting stuff with it.
It includes making it clear to folk exactly what they can do with the data, using a single common licence to reduce confusion and recommends the use of the PSI’s ‘Click-use‘ licence.
The Department for Communities & Local Government did some great work in engaging people with the Empowerment White Paper entitled Communities in Control. Some of the activity included a blog, forum, Twitter feed, online video and photos hosted on Flickr. What was originally going to be a very short term programme has been extended, which is also great news.
One of the aspects of the white paper that I, and others, found particularly interesting was that around Digital Mentors, people working in deprived communities to help give them a voice by providing them with the skills and tools to tell their stories using online means. Quite a few posts and comments were written, showing the appetite amongst the social web community for this kind of role.
Well, it seems like things are moving on and developing within the department, and what is really exciting is that those working on the Digital Mentor idea are starting to engage with the bloggers. I’m particularly chuffed that Georgia Klein chose my blog to leave this comment on:
Thanks for the blogging about Digital Mentors. I’m at CLG tasked with consulting informally with stakeholders to help me shape the document to go out to tender so that pilots can start April 09. I’d be really keen to recieve your wish list / views on what you think a mentor should look like based on your experiences and how one builds sustainability into these models. I’ll be watching out for your comments here but you can also contact me at [email removed to reduce spamming a little bit, you can find it on the original comment]. Be warned, the timetable for this initial consultation round is tight – mid-Oct (there may be more opportunities through the formal procurement process).
Quite a few readers of this blog have already commented, so do please add your views on the subject – as the department is listening!
This is a great example, though, of government finding where the conversations are happening and getting involved with them, making the most of the enthusiastic amateurs who are generating ideas and solutions online for no reason other than that they are interested. Let’s hope we see more of it in the future!
Just a quick post for those who are interested in the digital mentor role which was mooted in the Communities in Control white paper. There has been a terrific response in the comments on my post on the subject, from people in the third sector, local government, education and a few interested individuals too. Thanks to all for those.
The questions that are being asked go right to the core of the issues:
- Who are the digital mentors supposed to be? Volunteers? Local government officers? Paid individuals? Charity groups?
- What are they meant to do? Is it just around upskilling people in digital media – or is there a role to connecting people to local services and democratic engagement online too?
- How are they meant to achieve this – through online training, workshops, or printed stuff? How will it be paid for?
- When are the digital mentors to start working?
- Where will the pilots be?
I have started making a few enquiries to find out who knows what about the development of the role, and to see if there is some way we can all have an input into the process. If anybody has any ideas, do leave them in the comments here.