Saturday, 1 October 2016

Collaborative franchises

Yesterday I was at the Midlands Peer Group, set up to support councils in the region use the Local Government Digital Service Standard.

The event was expertly facilitated by Julia McGinley and Kurtis Johnson, and built on the success of the London Peer Group and the Summit at City Hall the week before. I don't work in the Midlands, but there isn't a group for the South (yet) and we're starting to use the Standard at my place, so I wanted to hear from, and talk to other councils who are in the same situation.

It's exciting to see councils start to use the Standard, and I've been amazed by the speed of progress. This time last year ago it didn't exist and has come so far already in a short space of time, thanks in part to support from people in organisations like the Government Digital Service. If you work for a council, you can sign your local authority up to the Standard here.

For me the main question now is, how we can enable the creation of more peer groups across the country to help more councils start to use the Standard. Groups for Yorkshire and Humber and the South are already planned and how can we make it easy to establish these and other?

I think a collaborative franchise model would work well, and this is kind of how the Midlands and London groups have operated together already, with the Midlands Group taking what the London Group produced, revising it, and using it in their group.

Current peer group facilitators could produce material together together for each round of peer groups, which would mean:

  • Those organising a regional group have a set of content and a plan for the event to work with, making it much easier to run. 
  • Each round of peer groups would be fairly consistent, though whoever is running each group could vary the content as they saw fit.

On Friday, Carl Haggerty and I will be starting to think about the future evolution of the LocalGov Digital Network. Peer Groups are one of the many pieces in the puzzle of the next iteration, and if you're interested in taking part in a Peer Group or the general discussion on where the Network goes next then please let me know @philrumens or by emailing admin@localgovdigital.info.

Together we can think, do and share to create better, cheaper, public services
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.