Archive for May, 2007

Why civil servants need to be careful about blogging

I’ve just been sitting here with my jaw on the ground reading about today’s Mail on Sunday article about Owen Barder, ‘Whitehall’s jogging blogger’ and subsequent commentary from observers. The best summary of the situation comes from Andrew Brown who helpfully points to a dissection of the original story by Tim Worstall.

One thought – yikes! This does somewhat set the potential reality for anyone willing to put their head above the parapet of anonymity. As Andrew says,

“They’ve put us all on notice that what we write here in the ’sphere can and will be used to smear us should it suit their purposes”.

But I don’t feel quite as crestfallen about the situation as Andrew’s view : Continue reading

Background to the new Ministry of Justice website part 2

Before I jump back into the issue of the permissive environment required for civil servants to blog, I thought I had better finish off the story of the building of the new Ministry of Justice (MoJ) website (part 1 here).

March 29th the government announced that the MoJ was going to be established from May 9. By this point we were well into developing the site as had been noticed by an eagle eyed observer.

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links for 2007-05-17

links for 2007-05-16

Why don’t civil servants blog?

One of the reasons I started writing here was to talk about some the issues I have been exploring as part of the Cabinet Office’s social media review.

Briefly, the review is examining how government currently makes use of social media, what the opportunities are and what role government should or could play in social media.

Creating an environment of permission in which civil servants can operate is a tricky one for government, there are few examples of Continue reading

The wonderful world of web 2.0

I was lucky enough to hear both Paul Kaplan and Mark McGuinness speak at an event last week (organised by CreateKX – thanks!) about the power of social media generally, and blogging in particular.

Paul spoke on a similar theme recently for GCN and once again his enthusiasm for the possibilities of the medium shone through. He’s also consulted for some government departments and agencies on the subject so you may be familiar with his work.

I hadn’t seen Mark speak before, though I had come across his blog. He gave a positive, but importantly measured, talk about how blogging has built his reputation and business.

They’re both worth listening to if you get the chance.

Mark has posted up a whole page of resources on his blog – slides from his presentation, must read books, on blogging, links to good examples of blogging, link to an article about the legal implications of blogging, and a good explanation of what RSS is all about. Well worth a read if you want to get some background info to all this stuff.

Paul has posted up his slides too together with a podcast of his talk.

Background to the Ministry of Justice website part 1

I promised to give you some detail about our new website, so here it is, part 1.
None of the team working on the Department of Constitutional Affairs website were involved in its initial development or design. While it was a big improvement on it’s predecessor its architecture was a problem for those of us who inherited it – the navigation pretty much mirrored the organisational structure at the time and as this changed over time due to machinery of government changes, the technical construction of the site made it difficult for us to reflect this in the navigation.

We had a pretty good idea who our primary audience is from user research and feedback – practitioners in the sectors we serve (especially legal professionals), but the media and researchers are also important groups for us.

Continue reading