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.

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.

What I’ve been reading

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

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

UKGovCamp 2012 – your thoughts, please!

Steph and I are already starting our planning for the next big UKGovCamp event, which will be held in January 2012 in London as per usual.

This time though we are hoping to do something slightly different, with the incorporation of an extra day into the proceedings.

We see this as being a ‘doing things’ day. Not explicitly a hack day, though, because we see that there’s a load of valuable activity that could be done that doesn’t involve building apps or websites.

So, a doing things day session might be some simple training on creating your own self hosted WordPress site; or maybe getting a bunch of people to collaborate on building a wiki of great case studies of social media use in the public sector.

It’s basically providing a more practical version of the talkie sessions that tend to happen at GovCamps normally.

So… the usual GovCamp unconference will happen on the weekend of Saturday 21st of January. What we need to know is what days people would prefer to do. Friday and Saturday? Saturday and Sunday? Sunday and Monday?

Let us know on this poll, or in the comments below!

[polldaddy poll=5209979]

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

Bookmarks for April 6th through April 27th

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

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

LocalGovCamp tickets available!

LocalGovCamp is coming back to Birmingham on the 18th June!

200 of the most innovative and creative people in the local government sector will be coming together on a Saturday to talk about making things better – sometimes with technology, sometimes not.

LocalGovCamp is an unconference – basically a conference that’s fun. There’s no agenda until we sort it out on the day – which means no keynoters, no grandstanding and just good conversations.

Grab your ticket on Eventbrite while you can.

We’re also still looking for sponsors, so do get in touch if you’d like to help out.

Announcing MailCamp: effective email marketing in the public sector

A cross post from Steph’s blog to help publicise this event!

Just a quick one to pimp MailCamp11, a free show + tell event about email marketing in the public sector, now confirmed for 12 May at the Dept of Communities and Local Government.


Everyone’s on a budget, and wants to make their digital channels work harder. Social media matters, but nothing drives traffic and reminds people what you’re doing like a good email newsletter or alert. But we’re all busy, and optimising our newsletters and email alerts often isn’t top of the list.

The long-promised spin-off event from UKGovcamp, MailCamp is a one-off show & tell event on 12 May for people interested in how the public sector uses email marketing, newsletter and alerts to engage its audiences. Come along to a free afternoon of ideas and stories, bringing your own examples, tips and questions.

To find out more and register your interest in coming along, check out http://mailcamp.ukgovcamp.com. And spread the word!

Bookmarks for January 27th through February 19th

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

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for January 10th through January 24th

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

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.