Monday, 2 May 2016

Learning from those that lead, helping those in need.

Collaboration is a team sport, and the outputs of LocalGov Digital aim to assist this. Whether it's our Unmentoring scheme, the Local Government Digital Service Standard, or organising events like Not Westminster or LocalGovCamp (in Birmingham on 3/4 June), what we do helps foster a cross-sector approach to delivering better public services locally.

Perhaps a more traditional way of trying to join things up is to highlight or even fund best practice in digital service design and delivery and hope others follow. Whilst it's entirely valid to promote the work of those who lead the way, if we were talking about a school or a care home, those that are failing would also be in focus too.

So I have a question for you; does just highlighting and funding best practice only make the best even better, and should we also be focusing on those who aren't doing so well too.

Let me be clear here. When I say focus on those that are failing, I don't mean with a view to taking punitive action, I mean offering them assistance, and only if they want it.

In the past, website reviews like Better Connected highlighted poor practice, but in a unhelpful way. They were all stick and no carrot, and it wasn't sensible to build a digital or delivery strategy on one user test. Thankfully we've moved on from those days with Local Government Digital Service Standard but this describes how to deliver digital services, not how to do that collaboratively.

So how can help reach those that need it?

Peer based service reviews can offer constructive advice from a group of critical friends. LocalGov Digital is creating regional peer groups which could go on to form these peer reviews. The best way to stay in touch with this is to sign up to our newsletter or join our Google+ Community.

Another way might be the new Public Sector Transformation Academy (PSTA), created to share methods and practice, and provide training which is specific to public service through an accredited path of practice. There are high hopes for the PSTA and I hope it lives up to them.

These are just two approaches that might create more joined up working, because what I'm certain of is we need a whole sector approach to improve public services, learning from those that lead, helping those in need.

This blog is written by Phil Rumens, Vice-Chair of LocalGov Digital, lead for LGMakers and who manages the digital services team at a local authority in England.

The opinions expressed in this weblog are my own personal views and in no way represent any organisation I may have worked for, currently work for, might be thinking of working for, might not be thinking of working for or have never worked for. In fact having said that they, might not even be my views any more as I might have changed my mind so I wouldn't take any of it too seriously.