At the public sector web management group conference
Back from Birmingham, and from solving a few ‘local difficulties’ with my broadband supplier, with some observations on attending the inaugural meeting of the public sector web management group.
I travelled up the evening before on the back of a pretty grotty illness so I wasn’t expecting much in terms of my contribution or what I would pick up. I was right on the former but on the latter, the event was very enlightening.
The key (but I suppose unsurprising) thing was how much central government and local government webbies have got in common – similar concerns (central control, lack of budget or resources, great desire to improve things for the citizen) and a great deal of goodwill about sharing knowledge and expertise. Whilst our perspectives might be different our aims are pretty aligned.
It was good to finally meet up with people I only knew previously from their websites, blogs or rants and get their slant on the issues affecting public sector web. There was a genuine commitment to try and improve our lot collectively and a small committee has formed to try and harness the goodwill and keep the momentum going.
The things that stood out for me:
- Strong desire to use our collective voice for putting forward an ‘industry view’ on matters of consultation and debate around the development of public sector online
- Revelation from one of the speakers that the next stage of their intranet development is ‘turning it off in three years time’ – an obvious extension of the ‘corporate website is increasingly irrelevant‘ mantra
- Good mix of visionaries and pragmatists – ‘Second Life is the future, you should give it a go’ vs ‘You cannot justify spending a single penny in Second Life until you get your email distribution and website usability right’ (couldn’t agree more…)