Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from August, 2015

Phil's Pipeline pitch

LocalGovCamp and Fringe 2015 starts on 11th September and the main event on Saturday is the unconference for Local Government. This year I'll be pitching a session about Pipeline, the collaboration platform from LocalGov Digital.

I've already written about what I learnt from Pipeline, but in short it demonstrated a strong desire from councils to collaborate, but a need for a service or community management role to facilitate collaboration.

So how could this role or service be funded? I'll explore some options below.
Councils Ultimately this will benefit all councils, so why shouldn't they fund it? Perhaps eventually they could, but there isn't a proven business case and even if a handful of councils decided to go in together they're unlikely to reap the benefits unless they were all working on the same projects at the same time, which is fairly unlikely.

Asking a few councils to take a punt on something they won't reap the rewards until many more come on b…

Beyond user needs

This week we published our first Digital Service User Assessment. Whilst this is far from a Digital Service Standard it's a step in the right direction. This is something we're working towards, though I'm wary of us introducing too much bureaucracy or letting "the government inspectors" have the final say.

Digital service redesign and improvement should always be driven by the needs and the assessment of the user and perhaps something greater, which is the subject of this piece.

So to the digital service we've just made live. We've build this based on needs, but what are those needs? To a digital team it might look like this:

As a resident, I want to report dog fouling to the council, so the council can clean it up.
but this isn't the primary user need. No one gets up in the morning looking forward to contacting their local council to report dog fouling.

To see this one needs to take a step outside the digital realm, outside the language of users and …

Democracy is never out of style

If you've been following the debate around government and digital for a while you'll know like most areas of discussion, it follows patterns and fashions.

Take this year for example. It started with voting and elections, moved on to open data and recently we've seen a lot of debate around Government as a Platform (GaaP). Interest in a topic can be accentuated by events at the time. So voting and elections by the General Election, GaaP by Mike Braken leaving GDS.

Debate can be cyclical. The question "Do we need a Local Government Digital Service (LocalGDS)" had been discussed for over four years and was a factor in the formation of LocalGov Digital in 2012. A catalyst for a recurrence of the topic can be someone fresh entering the conversation. For example, someone new to the topic decides that a LocalGDS would be a great idea and makes many of the points that others have before. Take a look at this compilation of what's been said over the years and you'…

Stop telling me there's a problem with women in tech

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend time talking with Nadira Hussain. She's passionate about IT and public service, as you'd expect of a President of SocITM. One of the key themes of her year of the presidency is Women in IT.

Women in IT and digital isn't something I've considered much, and I haven't I written on the subject before; this got me thinking. Perhaps this is part of the problem, and in my own small way I'm helping to perpetuating the status quo rather contributing than fixing things.

So I had a think about what's happening and concluded there isn't a problem with women in IT.

OK, here's what I actually mean. There isn't a problem with women in IT, there is a problem however with a sometimes boorish culture in tech which is inflicted on others by a certain section of the sector, the vast majority of whom happen to be men. The problem wasn't created and isn't continued by women.

So how to resolve this, well for one sto…