As much as I enjoyed being involved in organising LocalGovCamp, when emails started to be sent to the group asking when the next one was, I was quick to distance myself from it. These things can take up a lot of time, and the reward is rarely financial.
I’d mentioned at the event in Birmingham that one way forward might be for regional events to be run by groups of councils together. This idea has been taken up with some gusto by several local authorities and their friends, and some remarkable things are now starting to happen.
Stephen Hilton at Bristol was the first to step up and start getting an event going for that area, with the help of Shane McCracken at Gallomanor.
The second follow-up event to start being organised will be for London authorities, and there seems to be a real desire in the capital to run this sort of get together.
Second, Andrew Beekan at Lincoln City Council is working with the University in the city to host an event there.
Thirdly, Jon Hyde at Cheltenham Borough Council is organising an event in his neck of the woods, but with a particular focus, on project management within local authorities.
Last but not remotely least, last week Ken Eastwood at Barnsley announced an event for Yorkshire and the Humber, to be organised along with Kevin Campbell-Wright at JISC. This event will also have a subject focus, that being remote working and the issues around that – a vital topic in the current climate of reduced budgets for local government, as well as the need to reduce carbon footprints.
The are two really interesting things here I think.
- Firstly, the new tools are being used to bring people together around these events. Twitter, WordPress and Ning, as well as more traditional tech like Google Groups, are being used to make it easy for local gov folk to self organise. It’s Here Comes Everybody, innit.
- Also, there is a massive industry around providing events to local government. They are generally pretty pricey and need teams of events managers to get them going. Or do they? It’s now being shown that local government can organise its own events, on whatever subject matter they choose. There is the potential here for some real disruption in the industry of local gov events, and I would argue that anyone who makes a living out of this needs to pay attention to what is starting to happen.
So, if there is a LocalGovCamp event happening anywhere near you, make sure you get along. And if there isn’t, JFDI and organise it yourself. You simply don’t need to wait for anyone else anymore.