Help me save the Knowledge Hub (in some form)

An email from the Knowledge Hub team at the LGA:

As Knowledge Hub user I felt it necessary to contact you with this news. You may have read in today’s press due to cost the LGA are proposing to close the Knowledge Hub facility. There is statutory 30 day consultation period (consultation closes on 23 June) on these proposals. As project lead I am very sorry to have to bring you this news. Many of you have invested time and effort in the platform and we as a team have worked extremely hard to deliver what we feel is a valuable and vital service for local government at this difficult time.

The organisation has decided that in the face of further cuts funding is unsustainable.

This is a terrible shame for local government. Cross sector sharing of knowledge and learning is vital if councils are to meet the challenges they face.

I know I could make the Knowledge Hub work: with a change of technology, a new business model, and some great community management.

I think we can make the Knowledge Hub – or whatever it might be called – like LocalGovCamp – only all the time and everywhere.

I suspect I need to convince the LGA to let me do this. After all, I want the existing content on the Knowledge Hub to import into the new system, and the user data too. Otherwise, starting from scratch will most likely make life extremely difficult.

So, I’d like some help. The best form is probably in expressions of support, perhaps publicly on the comments of this post. If you think local government needs a knowledge sharing platform, and you think I might be the person to make a decent fist of it, then do please let me, and the LGA, know.

Thanks!

What I’ve been reading

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

What happened to November?

April may well be the cruellest month, but for me November was the busiest – and the illest (as in, I’ve been poorly. I’m not starting to talk “street”, you’ll be pleased to know*) as well.

Kind of Digital seems to have had time to get settled in now, and we’ve so much work on it’s meaning that I have no time for blogging or emailing any more, which is a real shame – even with the team growing all the time. I’m looking forward to some time over Christmas to get my thoughts together and start publishing here a bit more often.

Here’s a quick run through some of the stuff we’ve been doing this month:

  • I had a lovely trip to Oslo and met with representatives from all the ministries making up the central government there to talk about how we do digital in the UK and what the two sides could learn from each other. There’s a proper blog post brewing on this one.
  • UKGovCamp tickets were released and sold out in a matter of minutes. The two day format seems to have gone down well with most, and we should see some real outputs from the event this year. We still need sponsors, and if you are interested in being involved, do drop me a line.
  • We’ve been beavering away on a great project for Consumer Focus which will hopefully emerge soon. It’s an online database of digital engagement methods, which we will be developing to include case studies and links to examples. Searching will be done by choosing various variables from dropdowns and sliders, so you can choose the type of interaction you want, the demographics you want to reach and so on, and a list of the best methods for you will then be presented.
  • We’ve also been covering some events for the LGA as part of their healthy communities programme. This involved live blogging keynotes speakers, video interviews with various people involved, taking photos of the action and tweeting updates as well. All the content is presented on a microsite which we developed and hosted, and having done two events in Bristol and London, we’re next up at the late event in Leeds on 8th December. If you’d like to get your events documented in this way, you know where I am.
That’s probably about it. We’ve another couple of busy weeks in December coming up and then things wind down for the festive period. I’m looking forward to it!

* Yes, I know. I’m turning into Alan Partridge.

Events, dear boy…

Quite a few events coming up in the next couple of weeks that I should probably let you know about.

Next week I’m attending a few things: on Monday, the Clay Shirky lecture on Cognitive Surplus at the LSE, followed by the Learning Pool steering group meeting on Tuesday. I’ll be talking to the group about our plans for further engagement work along the lines of our Let’s Talk Central project with Central Bedfordshire Council, as well as some updates to our Modern Councillor service, which I hope to be able to tell everyone about real soon.

Then on Thursday I am going to be talking to the Centre for Public Scrutiny conference about engaging with local communities online. I will be particularly looking forward to this as my second job in local government was as a scrutiny officer at a district council.

I’m ending the week in Bristol, at NALC‘s conference celebrating local democracy. I’ll be showing some local council clerks and councillors how they can be spending a little bit of time and no money at all on cool ways of engaging with their communities online.

After a rest – or should I say, chance to catch up on email – over the weekend, I hit the road again, or rather the train, heading down to NESTA’s ‘Digital Disrupters‘ event on Monday 5th.

Then it’s Wednesday at the LGA conference in Bournemouth where I’m facilitating a fringe session, optimistically titled “A thoroughly modern council”. You can sign up for it here.

Finally, on Friday I travel again to the south-west, this time to Cheltenham to the Institute of Local Council Management summer seminar. I’ll be talking about “using social networking technologies for mobilising political and community action”.

Busy times! I shouldn’t complain though, if it were any different I would probably be quite bored.

Digital mentoring for public servants?

Ingrid has a very nice post about the training my good friend Steve Dale and I provided to some folk at the Local Government Association and the Improvement and Development Agency today.

I think people left the room enthused.  A colleague whose arm I twisted to attend the course (when I was worried it wasn’t full – in the end it was overfull) thanked me for getting her along.   I’m planning to meet with another colleague in the near future to take some of the training into real concrete action.  And that’s the best feedback of all.

Which is very gratifying to hear.

I think there is a real need for fairly basic overview sessions like this one, introducing people to some of key aspects of this social web thing: not just what the tools are and what they do, but some of the philosophy behind it all.

Digital mentoring for public servants? Quite possibly. Maybe a topic for Barcamp?