Works starts on skills framework for web professionals

Vicky, from Boilerhouse and Socitm, pops by to tell us about the latest developments with the public sector web professionals network.

On 27 November, Socitm will be holding a workshop as the first stage in a project to define a professional skills framework for people who work on public sector websites.

This is part of it wider initiative to set up a web professionals group for this large and diverse group that includes:

  • programmers and coders
  • web developers (with technical skills)
  • web designers
  • content managers/editors
  • social networking experts
  • measurement/monitoring specialists
  • web marketers
  • web managers
  • customer service or IT heads with web responsibilities
  • e-communications professionals

The initiative kicked off earlier this year with a meeting called by Socitm and involving web managers and practitioners from local government across the UK, central government departments, the government supersites, and the third sector. Also present were representatives form some existing and past groups formed by webbies, including the Public Sector Web Professionals Group, SPIN and the Scottish Web Forum.

There was general agreement among those present that meeting web practitioners’ professional development needs would in future need more than informal groups, voluntary effort and free networking tools. It was also recognised that defining a skills framework for web practitioners and organising training, development and possibly accreditation around this framework would be a core activity for any professional group formed.

Following this meeting Socitm commissioned research to identify whether any other professional association or skills organisation was already doing or planning to do something similar. Discussions were held with a range of professional and skills organisations in ICT, interactive media, marketing, communications and publishing. We also talked with the CoI and the Government Communications Network about their plans in this area, and made useful contact with the Federal Web Managers Council in the USA. Contact was made with some web networks in the NHS to share and discuss idea, leading to some positive feedback about the potential for webbies in the health sector to join our activity.

At this point, the Socitm agreed in principle to set up a web professionals’ interest group for people involved in any aspect of web management and development. Individuals at any level of seniority or career stage, employed or freelancing in the public or third sectors, or in any organisation working with them would be open to join. The group would then run under the Socitm constitution, with the group electing a chair and officer and developing a programme of activity supported by Socitm’s paid staff. Members would be eligible for the normal benefits of Socitm membership as well as additional benefits exclusive to ‘web members’.

As well as agreeing to set up a group or community for web professionals, Socitm agreed to fund initial development on a skills framework. This is seen a central to the development of a sustainable future programme of activity that will attract web professionals to join and support the group. The workshop on 27 November marks the start of this activity

We are looking for people with experience of managing web teams in the public sector to get involved in this activity. There are a limited number of places available at the workshop, and a wider opportunity to participate in evaluating and offering feedback on the initial framework developed at the workshop.

If you would like to get involved, please complete the form to tell us a little more about your relevant skills and experience, and whether you are willing and able to attend the workshop on 27 November, which will run in London from 1000 – 1600. If by any chance you are unable to access this, email me at vicky.sargent@socitm.net.

We will be publishing the register of those interested in the community library.

Many thanks are due to Paul Canning for his work in getting this activity going, some of you will have been following his blogs on this topic in the CoP and elsewhere.

Published by

Dave Briggs

I'm Head of Digital and Design at Adur and Worthing Councils.