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Showing posts from March, 2013

What I've learnt about Assisted Digital so far

On Wednesday night I took part in a LocalGov Digital G+ Hangout run by Kate Sahota, another member of the LocalGov Digital Steering Group. The session focused on Assisted Digital, and as well those working in Local Government it included Ben Carpenter, currently seconded to Age UK and John Popham, who's work promotes digital inclusion.
As more government services go, or are created purely as digital, providing help and training for those who are unable to use them will become much more important. Central Government has created an Approach to Assisted Digital, but this is fairly high level stuff and though some individual departments are supposed to be providing Digital Champions for services such as Universal Credit, in reality I'm not sure if this is happening everywhere.
There's an even bigger issue around the digitisation of society and how this is changing the lives of everyone. For example if you aren't digitally literate it'll soon become very hard to obtain…

Making digital services for dummies

Have you seen the new Government Service Design Manual? It's basically a Making Digital Services for Dummies. I don't mean this in a derogatory sense, in fact quite the opposite. The "For Dummies" books sell millions and it's actually often "dummies", or people that don't have a working knowledge of how digital services are developed that have the final say on how and if they're created.

The thing is, it won't work for some local governments.

Because it's a textbook of how things should be done, the real world sometimes doesn't work like it does on paper. Some local governments don't employ development resource, others are tied into long contracts which means they have to pay through the nose for development and have little control over the process used to create it.

So what's the solution? Adapt the Manual for local governments? Nope. The Manual is by and large how digital development should be done in government, and wh…

Is the council website dead and G+ hangouts.

Last night I ran the first LocalGov Digital Google+ Hangout, inspired by the excellent Out Of Hours Hyperlocal.

The purpose was twofold, firstly to discuss a topic, is there a place for role or task based sites and is the concept of “the council website” dead?

Councils like Devon and Surrey already have separate news sites, Warwickshire has customer and corporate sites and where I work we’re just starting to develop separate digital service delivery and information sites.

I wanted to explore the benefits and drawbacks of such an approach.

What transpired is that the concept of just two or three sites is a luxury to some because as more physical services are contracted out it’s becoming increasingly difficult to offer a unified digital platform.

Whilst it doesn’t matter to many residents which organisation is filling in potholes or fixing their streetlights, reporting them online might become a lot harder if they have to find a separate website to do this on. Multiply this by the nu…