LocalGov Digital - people passionate about public services

Our Chair Carl Haggerty looks back on the last two years and outlines what coming up 

It has been roughly two years now since LocalGov Digital came together - in my personal opinion we surpassed our original aspirations at the very first meeting when so many people committed to doing something together and we were blown away by the interest and momentum which came through at this years LocalGovCamp - it does prove that grassroots collaboration can and does work.

LocalGov Digital has also won Best Collaboration at the inaugural Comms2Point0 UnAwards. Sarah Lay has written a very good post on "We are all LocalGov Digital" which I think explains best what we set out to achieve and how everyone is key in that.

Anyway, here is a bit of a reflective post - what is localgovdigital, why we do what we do and a look back over the last two years and a look ahead...

What is LocalGov Digital?
Simply put, we're a bunch of volunteers from local government and its partners who care about delivering brilliant user focused public services, enabled by digital where appropriate. Some of us are techies, web geeks, data crunchers etc and some of us aren't. What we all have in common is our passion for improving public services. We pride ourselves on the fact that we're a genuine practitioner network that gets things done for citizens in our localities.

The LocalGov Digital pledge:
We have adopted a Think, Do, Share approach to work and this focuses us on making sure that we actually deliver value on the ground, no matter how small, our approach encourages us all to think differently, do differently and share that widely across the network to help and support others.

The LocalGov Digital value: 
Our underlying ethos is that local public services should be Open by default and Digital by design.

What we have done:

Since we formed as a network in September 2012 we have:

What we are actively working on:
We are going to continually share and show people how we did stuff, so they can steal and reuse it if it helps.

We know there is a huge amount of work to do and there are currently only a small number of us to get involved and help move things forward. So we have listed the areas where we have active people right now. However if you are working on something else and want to get involved in expanding the thinking, doing and sharing then get in touch.

1. Skills and capability - does the sector have the skills, capacity and capability to deliver real change in public service delivery?

We'll do this through:

  • prototyping a “change academy” - this is about providing experiences / opportunities / moments to support people to meaningfully understand the tools and techniques to make change happen.
  • Working with partners co-hosting a Service Design discovery day - Warwickshire, 20th November - what are the needs that local gov has on service design?
  • Encouraging, supporting and promoting Service Jams and the Global Gov Jam Series
  • Creating a resource hub, pulling together existing resources and linking to them
  • LocalGovCamp - our annual gathering to support networking, hacking, leadership debates and sharing
  • Continuing to encourage and support practitioners to join LocalGov Digital Voice and share their thinking and doing.
  • Performance/digital dashboards - build on the existing work by councils who have worked with GDS and Socitm
  • Working on breaking down the language barriers around digital and open

2. Democracy - is the sector supporting its decision-makers to understand and promote digital service delivery?

We'll do this through:

  • Different with Digital - this project aims to introduce new thinking around how local democracy might change as a consequence of digital. It is an experimental collaboration between specialist local government academics from four universities and local government practitioners working with LocalGovDigital
  • Democracy Camp - February 6th / 7th 2015
  • Produce user journeys for online democracy
  • Local Democracy Discovery Day

3. Making - helping define best practice and joining up the creation and sharing of design and development of digital services, where common aims and local user needs align:

We'll do this through:

  • Localo - a set of common standards for transactions and data transfer to join-up IT and digital service delivery systems.
  • Pipeline - a “Kickstarter for the public sector” to help those working in around local governments solve common problems through collaborating on the creation of digital solutions.
  • Pulse - a resource to help find re-usable code and open resources designed by local government and the wider public sector.
  • Future hack and discovery days focused on technical design and development.

What we're not going to do:

  • Create a single website for local government - we're a practitioner network supporting local services in our areas
  • Force people to do stuff - We will influence through showing and doing

What we know we need help with:

  • Influencing decision-makers
  • Getting our message out to the right people so they listen and don't keep making the same mistakes in the digital arena (e.g. procurement)
  • Financial support to get some things done - volunteerism only goes so far, we all have a day job to do
  • People from all sectors who can offer mentoring and coaching to practitioners

Do you want to get involved and Join us!
We know how many people there are out there in local government and beyond who feel the same as we do about creating real and sustainable change in public service delivery.

We know there are loads more people who could easily sign up to the LocalGov Digital principles, because they're already working on transformational service redesign enabled by digital. If that sounds like you, then take our pledge to think, do and share with us. Real change comes from within.

3 simple steps to getting involved

  1. Use twitter or a blog so you can think, do and share in public
  2. Start sharing your work or thinking with the hashtag #localgovdigital and connect your blog to localgovdigital voice
  3. Connect to your peers around you inside and outside your organisation and organise meet-ups to start thinking, doing and sharing in groups.

Getting involved with the LocalGov Digital Steering Group

We operate on the principle that people earn their way into the steering group through thinking, doing and sharing activity and providing local or regional co-ordination.

If this sounds like you, get in touch and share what you are doing.