I’m putting together the outline of a new digital strategy for my organisation.

Here’s what I’ve been reading to inform this:


My organisation’s overarching strategy
https://info.westberks.gov.uk/strategyandperformance
The most important of the lot. What the administration and leaders of my organisation want everyone to deliver, and what every strategy underneath it should be informed by.


The Local Digital Declaration
https://localdigital.gov.uk/declaration/
My organisation signed up to the commitments in the Declaration, this strategy will help us deliver them.


The Technology Code of Practice:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technology-code-of-practice/technology-code-of-practice
One of the commitments of the Local Digital Declaration is that where appropriate every new IT solution procured must operate according to the Code, this strategy will help us deliver that.


The Government Service Standard: 
https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/service-standard
One of the commitments of the Local Digital Declaration is each service we transform should be informally tested against the Standard to help teams to create and run great public services. This strategy will help us deliver that.


Other council strategies, for example Croydon’s
https://www.croydon.gov.uk/democracy/dande/policies/digital-strategy-2019-2024/foreword
There are lots of good local government digital strategies already out there. Whilst they won’t all align with my organisation’s aims, it’s good to keep informed of what other councils are doing.


Technical guides, like Hackney’s API playbook
https://github.com/LBHackney-IT/API-Playbook
Technology is an enabler for digital. Keeping up to date an ever evolving world is vital.


Office of National Statistics and Ofcom reports, for example:
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/articles/exploringtheuksdigitaldivide/2019-03-04
and
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/multi-sector-research/cmr
Statistics won’t give you a full picture, but they are useful in supporting a case to do something.


Reports published by the Private Sector organisations, such as Deloitte
https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology/articles/technology-consulting-tech-trends-collection.html# 


So what have I missed from the list, what have you been reading to inform your digital strategy? Please let me know by adding a comment, or reply to the tweet below.





Original source – Lg/Www

Opportunities for the transformation of government come along roughly once every 10 years it seems. There have been only two significant efforts to drive real transformation in UK government:

  • Labour, under Tony Blair, took power in 1997 and in the follow years launched several waves of major change initiatives, particularly for electronic government (building on the last gasp of the previous administrations “Government Direct” paper). The original 1997 pronouncement said:
    • “by 2002, 25% of dealings with Government should be capable of being done by the public electronically, that 50% of dealings should be capable of electronic delivery by 2005 and 100% by 2008”
  • The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition took over in 2010 and we saw the creation of GDS and spend controls. Key pronouncements there included:
    • The Coalition Government is determined to do things better. Government ICT is vital for the delivery of efficient, cost-effective public services which are responsive to the needs of citizens and businesses.
    • Digitising transactional services will save people and businesses time and money; by making transactions faster, reducing the number of failed transactions and simplifying the end-to-end process.

There were many iterations of those pronouncements during their years in power, but the big changes happened early in the life of each administration – the point at which energy, impetus and political capital are all at their highest.

As the administration gets older, the pronouncements get ever more tired and you can almost see the ambition evaporate. Gerry Gavigan published a “short history of government digital strategies” back in 2012 which is as good a summary as you could ask for.

GDS’ most recent announcement pushes the timeframe for any meaningful change back to 2030, to wit Alison Pritchard’s barnstorming:

“Government in 2030 will be joined up, trusted and responsive to user needs … This is the closest I have seen for quite a while to articulating the end goal for what we are trying to achieve”

Which all suggests that we could need a new administration to inject vigour and energy into making real change happen. 10 more years to achieve what we have been working on for 20 years already? 30 year transformation programmes? We need a change of plan and approach.

Original source – In The Eye Of The Storm

We love our targets. By 2040 we will no longer allow diesel and petrol cars to be sold in the UK. By 2050 we will be a net zero economy. By 2030 government will be joined up and trusted (as I wrote about yesterday).

Ever since 2000 when the goal was to get “100% of government online by 2005” these hockey stick goals (I’m quite sure I didn’t coin the term, but someone in the Office of the e-Envoy likely did) have become prevalent. They’re called hockey stick because the implementation plan looks – for all of them – like this:

The current set of goals are no different. Such long term goals are loved, mostly by those pronouncing them, because they’re thought to be visionary and inspiring. Send a man to the moon, bring him back alive, do it by the end of the decade and all that.

The trouble is they’re not inspiring and they’re not visionary. Not unless they come with a plan and some actions that will take place week to week, month to month and year to year to make them so. I don’t mind if the target is missed – anything far enough away has significant uncertainties in both the dimension of the goal and the timing – but I do mind when the goal is just thrown out there as a sound bite without any thinking about what it will take to achieve it and certainly when there’s no plan.

Original source – In The Eye Of The Storm

nominate someone brilliant pic.jpg

We know that a common complaint from comms professionals is a lack of recognition for their work. The UnAwards19 is your chance to change that. In a big way.

by Darren Caveney

Whether it’s a brilliant campaign, managing communications through a crisis, or just turning up every day of the year and being the best you can be, it’s not a lot to ask to get the odd ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’.

But it doesn’t happen often enough for many and that is one of the reasons behind the comms2point UnAwards – to shine a light on the professionals proudly flying comms, pr, marketing and digital flags across the sectors.

Now there’s only one thing better than being shortlisted for an award – that’s being nominated by someone else for an award. It’s a special thing.  It means you’ve caught someone’s eye, demanded their attention or impressed them with your creativity, doggedness, enthusiasm or skills.

Know someone like that? Then why not nominate them in the UnAwards19?

There are two ways in which you can nominate.

Option one – If you think an individual or a team should be in the running this year just complete this short online form and hit submit. I’ll do the rest and contact them on your behalf.

Option two – you can nominate an individual or a team in any of this year’s categories and complete the entry form for them. You can do this in all categories with the exception of the best guest blog post category.

Three categories which really lend themselves to nominations are:

–  Best comms/digital team

–  Lifetime achievement UnAward

–  Supporting health and wellbeing in communications (new to the UnAwards19)

For the Lifetime Achievement UnAward, all you need to do is complete the simple entry form here and email it through to admin@comms2point0unawards.co.uk

Accessible is good, right?

When I set up the UnAwards six years ago it was with the very clear mission to make them the most accessible industry awards around.  And where the community were actively involved in shaping and deciding some of the winners.

So, best of all you, the comms community, gets to choose the winners through a public vote in the first two categories above, as well as in the ‘Guest post of the year’ category.

I’ll tell you more about the public vote soon.

HOW LONG HAVE I GOT TO NOMINATE SOMEONE?

The closing date is 30 October (midnight) so get nominating.

P.S. the UnAwards deadline is never extended.

BE THERE ON THE DAY…

Want to soak up the atmosphere of the coolest comms, PR, marketing and digital event of the year in person? UnAwards tickets will be priced at just £20 + vat each. See, I told you the UnAwards were really accessible.

By the way… Tickets will be available soon on a first come, first served basis and will sell out so don’t hang around.  Keep following  the official comms2point0 channels for updates –  @comms2point0, the UnAwards website, and sign up to the all-new comms2point0 eMag for  the latest news on this.

Shout me if you have any questions.

Good luck.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point, owner of creative communicators ltd and organiser of the UnAwards19

Image via Tullio Saba

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

This is the week that agile truly died in UK government. GDS has been stumbling along with very limited impact for many months, perhaps even as long as two or three years. That was triggered by a failure to manage the inevitable turnover of leadership, both in the executive and ministerial ranks.

It’s one thing to stumble, it’s another to fall and not be able to get up. And that’s where we’ve arrived. The interim head of GDS, Alison Pritchard, announced the new plan for digital government at the Sprint 19 event. I say sprint, but it’s increasingly clear that we’re moving at waddle speed, at best. She said, according to Mark Say at UK Authority:

“Government in 2030 will be joined up, trusted and responsive to user needs … This is the closest I have seen for quite a while to articulating the end goal for what we are trying to achieve”

Close but not actually the end goal? No different from the joined up, citizen focused government of 2000 some would say. Or of the goal set in many other iterations of e-government, transformation or digital government.

What this isn’t is clear thinking, iterative, ambitious, useful or, in any way, likely to succeed. What we will get next month? Or in 6 months? Or in a year? A tiny step closer perhaps. But seemingly we need 10 more years to get “close” to our “end goal”. As if there’s an end.

The greek temple model makes an appearance, with 5 pillars. Legacy systems will, apparently, no longer be a barrier to transformation – notwithstanding that there will doubtless be new ones by 2030. Oh, and ubiquitous digital identity. Verify rises from Valhalla.

Oliver Dowden went on to say:

“It’s starting with key life events such as having a baby or setting up a business, or what do when a loved one has passed away. It enables government to deliver smarter public services by getting things right from the start.”

Forgive me for thinking it’s 1999 all over again. Somehow the digerati have become the deluderati.

Original source – In The Eye Of The Storm

We’re excited to announce that TICTeC 2020, our sixth global conference on the Impacts of Civic Technology, will be in Reykjavik, Iceland on 24 and 25 March 2020.

Put that in your diaries now, we’d love for you to join us.

What is TICTeC and why do we host it?

There are several existing annual conferences in which civic technology is showcased, and in which the potential for such tools to change and drive participation can be discussed, however, very few of these events include real and in-depth research into whether the potential outcomes of civic technology were realised.

This is where TICTeC differs: the majority of speakers will be presenting evidence-based research to demonstrate the various impacts of civic technology from across the world.

We created TICTeC to bridge the gap between civic tech and research – to bring two different communities together, to emphasise the importance of being able to demonstrate impact, and to share what those impacts are.

Why Iceland?

We’re really excited to be hosting TICTeC in Reykjavik, as the City Council are pioneers in using digital tools to elicit feedback and engagement from its citizens on council policies, expenditure and projects.  As one civil servant told us: “If a political party does not believe in or promise citizen engagement they just won’t be elected here”.

TICTeC 2020 will therefore be a unique occasion for the global community to learn from Iceland’s extensive civic tech and civic engagement experience, and vice versa.

We’re delighted that civic tech veterans Citizens Foundation will speak at TICTeC 2020 about their latest attempt to crowdsource the Icelandic constitution using digital tools, a project they are currently working on with Iceland’s National Parliament and the University of Iceland. Lessons from this will be extremely valuable to TICTeC’s global audience, so we are excited to have them join us.

TICTeC 2020 will also include keynote speeches, simultaneous research tracks, hands-on workshops, and special networking sessions. We also expect there to be additional fringe events as other organisations arrange companion events before and after the main conference.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts to further explain our reasons behind choosing Iceland for TICTeC 2020; how we’ll be trying to reduce TICTeC 2020’s carbon footprint; and our experiences trying to increase diversity at our conferences.

Apply to present or run a workshop

This two day conference provides the opportunity for researchers to present theoretical or empirical work related to the conference theme. We also welcome proposals for individuals to lead workshops or give presentations relating to the conference theme. We encourage submissions to focus on the specific impacts of technologies, rather than showcase new tools that are as yet untested.

If you’d like to give a presentation or run a workshop at TICTeC 2020, please submit your proposals now. You have until Friday 17th January 2020.

Register

For the last three years TICTeC has sold out – so make sure you get tickets early. Early bird tickets provide a significant discount, so it’s well worth registering before early bird ticket sales end on Friday 14th February 2020.

Sponsor

If you’d like to support TICTeC to bring together the world’s best Civic Technology researchers and practitioners, there are many different sponsorship opportunities available. Please visit our sponsorship page for more details, or contact gemma@mysociety.org for more information.

Keep an eye on the TICTeC website for full details of proceedings as they are announced.

We look forward to seeing you in March in beautiful Reykjavik!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to see what TICTeC is all about, you can browse all the resources from this year’s TICTeC, check out the TICTeC guide, and/or watch this video overview:

And here is an overview of this year’s conference, expect more of the same plus improvements in Reykjavik:

Photo header: Image by Sharon Ang from Pixabay 

Original source – mySociety

This year, “the climate” has exploded into our collective consciousness. Swedish teenager Greta and her solo “skolstrejk för klimatet” shook our perspective, David Attenborough solemnly shared the realities in Climate Change — The Facts and we were hit by headlines (and huge London delays) as communities came together under the banner of Extinction Rebellion.

In April, Waterloo Bridge was brought to a standstill by citizens demanding change

At FutureGov, we’ve felt a seismic shift day-to-day, with environmental concern filtering into our conversations, our lives and our work. FutureGovers have been reflecting on our own behaviours and swapping tips about actions we can take as individuals and employees.

But what’s become clear is that together we can have a far bigger impact.

We’re making a commitment

As Global Climate Strike kicks off and FutureGovers head to the streets in solidarity, we’re declaring a climate and ecological emergency. Supporting our team to strike is the first step in a commitment to taking environmental action seriously at all levels of our organisation.

It’s Global Climate Strike: we’re striking for the future

Recognising that we’re in a climate and ecological emergency pushes us to radically rethink, again, what it means to be a 21st-century organisation. Beyond adapting to change, a design mindset and leading in new ways, we have to adapt to meet the crisis we humans have imposed on our planet.

We’ve never been more serious about now being the time to build the organisations we need. Organisations that take responsibility for the climate and environment at all levels: from culture and ways of working to our collective purpose, and what we’re working for day-to-day.

Starting now, we’re taking action to support public sector organisations to respond to the climate crisis. We’re starting with proactively mitigating the environmental impact within our own business, recognising the influence we have on our sector, and thinking hard about how we can apply internet-era thinking to this emergency situation for our clients.

We’ll be taking climate and environmental action at all levels

Looking at how we operate as an organisation

We’re fortunate to be part of a purpose-driven group of companies that’s taking this seriously. Last year, The Panoply offset all of the group’s scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions (our owned and bought emissions). And over the past few months, we’ve been working with our partner companies to identify what collective action looks like moving forward.

Over the next three months, we’ll be running an internal discovery to explore and reduce our environmental impact as an organisation. Looking at how we operate will enable us to experiment with ourselves and build a model of the company we want to see in the world.

Looking at our industry and practice

As designers, technologists and consultants, we’re asking, how can we influence our sector to adopt better practices?

We’re part joining forces across The Panoply to build a more sustainable digital economy

Along with our partner companies, our friends and everyone we work with, we need to be the ones researching, implementing and advocating for the best practices to build a sustainable tech industry. We can’t wait for someone else to tell us how it should be done. This is about setting the standard, not waiting for the standard to be set.

Within design, we’re joining forces with other agencies to build better a better design practice as part of #designandclimate. We’re only at the beginning of this journey and as we learn by doing, we’ll be sharing good practice with our friends and network.

The second Design + Climate workshop we ran with Snook and other friends (illustration by Kelly Duggan)

Working with clients and our collective impact

Beyond the humanitarian need to take action, the climate and ecological emergency brings big implications for any organisation, particularly for the public sector. Climate change will substantially harm landscapes, displace people and increase resource scarcity, not to mention escalate pressure on government bodies at a local, national and international level. Business as usual is not an option.

This year we’ve seen over 100 local authorities declare a climate emergency. In the face of austerity, with a very real need and energy to deliver better services for citizens, these same organisations need to radically change to build a better future.

We’ve been supporting public sector organisations for over a decade. And we’re ready to stand in solidarity and face up to the challenge together.

Do, or die

Between now and January, we’re driving forward on all these fronts, allocating time and resources to take this seriously. It’s time to stop discounting the future. We need drastic change and we need outstanding leadership.

True to form, we’ll be learning by doing, working in the open and being as transparent as possible about our thinking and our learnings.

This is the global challenge of our times. Let’s treat it like the emergency it is.

We’re interested in hearing from anyone in local government interested in how internet-era thinking can be applied to the climate and ecological emergency. Get in touch with me to get involved.


We’re declaring a climate and ecological emergency was originally published in FutureGov on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – FutureGov

46352305354_99717242b7_o.jpg

Like buses you wait for one download for comms wellbeing and then suddenly two come along all at once.

A few weeks back the CIPR published handy guidance for how to avoid stress and burn-out while still doing an effective job.

Now along has come Charity Comms’ own contribution a well-thought through wellbeing guide collated by Kirstie Marrins.  You can find it here.

The subject is worth paying attention to. The last CIPR State of the profession report put 67 per cent of public sector people rating the stress they were under at an average of seven out of 10. That was higher than in-house private sector or not-for-profits.

The whole document is worth a read but here are four things that you could easily apply in the public sector.

Sharing the workload

As part of upskilling, we’re also prepared to get stuck into work that doesn’t naturally fall into our job roles – especially during crisis periods. There have been times where teams have supported each other to ease the workload and pressures of dealing with difficult content. For example, taking shifts to monitor social media channels in order to provide a break for colleagues.

I can recall a period of extreme weather when I worked for a council comms team which resulted in our old friend chaos on the road. The incoming messages about gritting were utterly relentless. On their own they were fine. But the weight of people complaining about their side road just got wearing. Sharing the workload in these circumstances was essential.

Practical task: Factor in training for other people and allow them to monitor and respond to social media during quiet times. Book it in. Don’t wait for it to be quiet.

Having a framework to respond

One good tip when handling tricky incoming queries the guidance suggests is having a framework. In other words, three stages to consider. For them, this is research, respond, review.

So, try and prepare for a tricky campaign by looking into the possible issues. Then before responding count to 10 and respond drawing on this research. The advice of taking a few moments to walk in their shoes is a really good one. Finally, review what you’ve done when things have calmed down.

The 1,200 things local government does makes this tricky but I think the approach can be replicated in the public sector.

When you respond, you’ll need to consider how to balance showing understanding, whilst also giving a response appropriate for your organisation.

You’ll need to balance offering support or information whilst also managing expectations on what you can realistically say. Drawing upon position statements and key messages can be helpful when handling issues, but this will need to avoid sounding too ‘corporate’.

Practical task: what would your framework look like?

Be your own cheerleader

There’s some good tips in the approach about your own resilience. Think about meditating, for example.

We can all be overly critical of ourselves. So the idea of celebrating something you’ve done well strikes a chord.

Be your own cheerleader.

In contrast to listening to your inner critic, being your own cheerleader involves talking to yourself regularly in a positive way. A key resilience building strategy, as identified by Dr Rick Hanson, is to champion yourself the moment after you’ve achieved something great. According to his research, this builds new neural pathways which over time lead to a greater sense of wellbeing and high self-esteem.

Practical task:  It wonder what each member of the team’s shining moment would be? And wouldn’t it be great if there was a way of celebrating the really small wins in the team? 

Talking about mental health

If there’s one part of the Charity Comms advice that really shines then its in the area of talking about mental health.

There’s been a stack of things written about ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ and the general landscape feels as though it is moving. But how to actually tackle the subject? Here the approach excels.  Importantly, the guidance can be deployed by colleagues just as much as line managers. In fact, in some ways there’s probably a greater value in members of the team raising the subject.

Often, it’s easier to talk side by side, rather than face-to-face as it feels more informal. You could suggest going for a walk outside the office so you’re walking side by side. Being in a neutral surrounding could help them to be more open to talking about mental health away from other colleagues.

There’s also advice on how to talk to a colleague returning after a period of mental health. Go look it up.

Picture credit: Jeppestown / Flickr  

 

Original source – The Dan Slee Blog » LOCAL SOCIAL: Is it time for a Local localgovcamp?

We’re proud to announce today that Lesley Seary joins the FutureGov board as Non-Executive Director.

Public sector

My career has been centred in the world of local government working with residents, service users and partners to try to combat inequalities and improve services.

In a career of over 30 years, I’ve worked in a number of London boroughs and led a range of services, including regeneration, planning, housing, waste and recycling services, housing benefits and customer services. Most recently I was Chief Executive at Islington council for eight years.

Islington is a great place — and a borough of sharp contrasts, with high levels of deprivation and child poverty. This is why there is such a strong ethos around fairness and working to combat inequalities.

I’m really proud of the work we did with residents and partners to address serious youth violence. Working collaboratively with the police, we established an integrated gangs team, became one of the first boroughs in London to pay the London living wage and worked with businesses to secure mentoring, apprenticeships and job opportunities for residents. Particularly for young people furthest from the job market.

Partnerships

I really enjoy working across partnerships with residents, service users, staff and partners to design and transform services and the way we do things. An example I love is the work with council staff and health partners to think about how we can better integrate health, social care, housing, schools and the voluntary sector. Using the eyes and ears of the community, and all our various staff on the ground, to together spot issues at an early stage so that we can intervene earlier and prevent things from escalating.

This interest in integration between health and social care led me to become a non-executive director at the hospital trust where I live in east London. It’s fascinating and a great learning experience to see the challenges faced by two extremely busy hospitals where demand continues to grow.

People

At the trust, I chair the People and Culture Committee, which I’m really pleased about. I’ve always believed that culture change is a vital part of any change. And people are the greatest resource an organisation has. In Islington, I worked closely with staff at all levels of the council to develop a clear vision and values, leading managers to engage and empower staff and ensure that the vision and values of the organisation were woven through everything we did and the way we did it.

I also believe strongly in supporting and developing people. As a Chief Executive, I chaired the London Chief Executives Committee and worked with colleagues to set up the London Leadership Programme — a programme that aims to develop senior staff in local government and enable them to become the collaborative, systems-leaders of the future. I continue to coach and mentor leaders in the public sector — which is hugely rewarding.

Looking forward

I’m really delighted to be joining FutureGov at such an exciting time in their life. I’ve known FutureGov from its very early days and it’s incredible to see how far the company has come in such a short time.

What hasn’t changed though is the commitment and enthusiasm of Dom and the team — it’s one of the big reasons I’m attracted to working with FutureGov. Their culture and approach to designing change, with how we do things being as important as what we do, has long been an approach I’ve championed.

I hope that I can use my experience working in the public sector over many years, leading change and building strong partnerships across sectors to support FutureGov as it continues to develop and grow.

. . .

This post was written by Lesley Seary.


Welcoming Lesley Seary to the board was originally published in FutureGov on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – FutureGov

We recently completed a discovery project with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on improving digital collaboration between local authorities.

We explored this hypothesis:

By improving local authorities’ awareness of projects and their ability to collaborate, it will reduce costs, save staff time, and create better public services

Through working with local authorities, organisations, and people active in digital and local government, we wanted to understand what help the sector could benefit from in collaborating to deliver digital outcomes.

Different types of collaboration – networking, knowledge sharing, resource sharing, delivery

Different types of collaboration: networking, knowledge sharing, resource sharing, and delivery

Different types of collaboration: networking, knowledge sharing, resource sharing, and delivery

To understand how to improve collaboration, we first needed to know what collaboration actually means. We discovered a spectrum of collaboration types by carrying out research across organisations already active in this space. We also looked at the tools and services that support partnerships between local authorities.

At one end of the spectrum, collaboration can be a conversation within an established network. At the other, it can mean committing resources to sharing risk and solving a common problem. By defining 4 types of collaboration, we provided an anchor for our research. This means that we were able to identify types of collaboration that are already well supported and the gaps that aren’t:

Networking

Knowing where to meet others who might be facing similar challenges is the first step to building closer informal relationships between local authorities. Anecdotally, this acts as a catalyst to collaboration.

Knowledge sharing

Alignment on issues and sharing approaches, research, tools, practices and problems.

Resource sharing

Sharing resources like code, skills, budget, access to platforms, or other tangible solutions.

Delivery

Working together jointly in partnerships to solve problems and deliver new services, meeting the needs of each of the local authorities.

A word on “digital” collaboration (as distinct from other partnerships)

The starting point in this work is the recognition that local authorities already collaborate. Partnerships between authorities, with NHS, charities, and the voluntary sector are normal practice for the hundreds of services that we rely on.

What’s different about digital collaboration? To try and put it succinctly, digital collaboration is about coming together to use technology better for excellent user-centred service delivery.

For example, this could be a shared procurement for an IT solution. It could also be re-using code or web artifacts produced by another organisation. Or it could be using research conducted by another organisation on the types of technology or approach that work in meeting user needs.

The benefits of collaboration. Do we even know there are any?

We spoke to people and organisations active in local government and staff in authorities across the country. They all universally agreed that collaboration is a good thing. If it’s done properly, it produces better outcomes at a lower cost.

There’s good evidence on the benefits (and difficulties) around formal shared service agreements. What’s difficult to quantify is the benefit of delivering a project in partnership with other authorities outside of these formal arrangements.

The evidence base for this is limited. The MHCLG local digital fund is showing some promising results but it might be too early to confidently say that this way of working produced better outcomes. Many people that we spoke to had examples of collaborations failing, but few examples of success. Even though people considered it a no-brainer.

Where people go to find partners at the moment

Chart of groups services and tools that already exist with knowledge sharing being used the most

Chart of groups services and tools that already exist with knowledge sharing being used the most

Local authorities overwhelmingly look to existing relationships and networks when looking for collaboration partners. These are often based on geographic or political synergies. But what about when organisations want to build on, or look outside of existing networks?

Across the 4 types of collaboration, we reviewed the groups, services, and tools that already exist to stimulate partnerships and share stories, lessons learned, and resources.

We found that, for ‘networking’ and ‘knowledge sharing’ in particular, it’s a crowded space. A new product or service in this space wouldn’t be helpful. We did, however, find that there’s a potential unmet need in signposting across the myriad of existing resources.

But we found that ‘resource sharing’ and ‘delivery’ are not as well served by existing tools, groups, and services. Where tools like Pipeline exist, adoption is patchy. We want to understand why, and the types of features and improvements that can drive adoption and stimulate collaboration.

The ingredients for success and the things that stop it working

Our research uncovered a number of factors that make collaboration more likely to succeed (or fail).

  • culture – differences in organisational culture and attitudes to working openly
  • politics – different political make up, between and within political parties
  • technology – core technology infrastructure and line of business applications
  • governance – governance arrangements can work against each other across organisations
  • shared vision – goals that aren’t aligned from the start and throughout a project
  • relationships – projects need to be able to withstand people moving on
  • geography – geographic proximity makes it easier to meet and makes it more likely that a pre-existing relationship exists
  • capability – capabilities and skills should support or complement each other
  • scope – collaborating on common needs instead of focussing on those unique to an organisation

Some of these factors (politics or geography for example) can’t be changed. But for most of them we found that, while local authorities recognise their importance, they want help in understanding how to improve the chances of successful collaboration. For example:

  • how should you adopt a shared vision across 2 organisations when trying to solve a common problem?
  • what’s the best way to agree scope?
  • how should we assess capability and what should we do to address the gaps?

Ideas that we’re taking forward

2 sets of needs to address - helping to find collaboration and doing it

2 sets of needs to address – helping to find collaboration and doing it

We held a workshop simultaneously with local authorities in Leeds and London. This was to validate our discovery findings and our ideas to take forward and test in alpha.

Broadly, there are 2 sets of needs to address:

  • users need help to find the right people, problems, and projects for collaboration
  • users need help in understanding how to do collaboration

We’re about to start work with the MHCLG local digital collaboration team on this alpha to test approaches in both these areas. We’ll be iterating the Pipeline product to see if new and different approaches, features, and design can help authorities find others who have the same problem or are working on an equivalent project.

Also, we’ll be testing approaches to collating or developing a toolkit to help authorities maximise the potential success of working in collaboration.

As always, we’ll keep you posted on our progress and findings.

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Original source – dxw digital