LocalGovCamp next weekend!

Next Saturday (14th July) sees LocalGovCamp coming back to Birmingham!

It’s a great opportunity for innovators across local government to get together, share problems and come up with solutions. It’s also an honour (and occasional inducer of panic) to be able to put the event together.

I was ably assisted this year by those titans of the local government web world, Si Whitehouse and Dan Slee, who were my eyes and ears in the West Midlands – thanks guys.

With over 100 people signed up, we’re up to capacity now, but there’s a waiting list on the Eventbrite page if you fancy sneaking in last minute if others have to drop out.

Also props to Vicky Sargent at Boilerhouse for designing and organising the printing of the t-shirts.

Many thanks to the excellent sponsors who are helping to make this event happen:


Talk About Local


…and of course, Kind of Digital have chucked a few quid into the pot as well.

Am looking forward to seeing everyone next Saturday (and Friday night too – news of curry to come soon…) and those that cannot make it can follow the action on the hashtag #localgovcamp.

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

What I’ve been reading

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

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.


After being suitably inspired at June’s LocalGovCamp, the effervescent Nicky Getgood has been working away to get StoryCamp up and running.

She describes it thus:

StoryCamp is a time and picturesque space for storytellers (digital or otherwise), independent publishers, those in local government, hyperlocal-land and beyond to meet, share stories and ways and means of telling them.

If you can see the importance of telling a powerful story to communicate and would like to think, discuss and learn more about how to do this effectively, or share examples of storytelling that has had a real impact, then StoryCamp is for you!

It’s taking place on October 1st, in Ludlow in Shropshire.

There’s a blog, and an organising group, and you can sign up for the event here. I think it’s going to be great.

What I’ve been reading

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

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

Ken Eastwood on LocalGovCamp

Barnsley Council, and Public Sector Nomads’ Ken Eastwood has written a lovely, and important, blog post about his experience of LocalGovCamp:

The 200 or so attendees again demonstrated that there is genuine talent within the sector and an interest in innovation that transcends the traditional 9 to 5. However, it was all too apparent that many of these people are held back, they are blocked from affecting change, from doing things differently and from doing different things. In many cases they are frustrated by their lack of influence and by local government’s resistance to change and bottom up innovation.

Go read the whole thing!

What I’ve been reading

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

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

LocalGovCamp 2011


Saturday’s LocalGovCamp was a marvellous day, entirely thanks to the superb organisation of Digital Birmingham’s Simon Whitehouse and Sammy Williams; and of course the 130-odd people who turned up on the day, giving up the best part of their weekends to talk about work.

Also: thanks to the great sponsors who made the event a reality:

  • Podnosh – “Our aim is to change the way the public and the public sector talk to each other”
  • Public-i – “Using the virtual world to make a difference in the real world”
  • National Association of Local Councils – “We are committed to developing the role of town and parish councils, in order that they can represent the communities which they serve effectively and be at the forefront of community leadership.”
  • LGIU – “Our mission is to strengthen local democracy to put citizens in control of their own lives, communities and local services”
  • Firmstep – “We help government to help citizens”
  • Talk About Local – “helping people find a powerful voice online”
  • Arcus Global – “Arcus provides software, tools and methods that help public sector organisations to run efficient, modern ICT environments for their customers and employees”
  • Global Crossing – “We are a leading global IP solutions provider with the world’s first integrated global IP-based network”

There were about 35 sessions in total, and of course many conversations that cropped up over coffee. There were lots of smiles on the day, and as far as evaluation goes, that’s good enough for me.

There’s been plenty of coverage and we’re trying to collect as much of it as possible on this Posterous-based site. You can easily contribute by emailing thoughts, links, ideas, videos, photos, whatevers to localgovcamp@posterous.com.

The Twitter hashtag, #localgovcamp, is still being populated and you’ll find plenty of resources, feedback and stuff there.

You’ll notice a certain amount of challenge in some of what people are writing. Quite right too! Nothing’s perfect and can always improve.

I’d only make two points in mitigation of some of the feedback. Firstly, LocalGovCamp is a volunteer effort and built on participation. So, if you see something that could be done better, volunteer, participate! If you get annoyed and blog about it afterwards, it doesn’t give anyone much of a chance to improve things.

Secondly, I think it’s important to remember what LocalGovCamp actually is. My definition – which of course carries no more weight than anyone else’s – is that it’s a very lightly structured space that is created for people to do stuff in. That’s it. It is what people choose to do in that space that counts – and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

And that’s okay.

Photo credit: Mark Braggins

LocalGovCamp this Saturday

This has rather crept up on me, but this Saturday , 18th June, sees LocalGovCamp coming back to Birmingham.

Around 200 people from across local government will be getting together to figure out how we can keep innovating in this age of austerity.

Following some cancellations, there are still a couple of places free if you want to come along.

Various discussions about the event are happening on the discussion group – it’s easy enough to sign up and join in!

It should be an awesome day!

Photo credit: Arun Marsh