Online consultation – parliament takes a lead

Back from a few days rest, away from work stuff, to good news from the Hansard Society – parliament has launched an online consultation website to support the work of select committees. This is the result of a great deal of effort from the Hansard Society over a number of years (some of the background can be found here).

Online consultation across government is patchy and this development should set a good example to the rest of us to up our game. But there are a number of problems with this: Continue reading

Digital communication isn’t about websites

Went to an interesting session today, where GCN and the Henley Centre were presenting their second report on media and communication trends. You may remember the first iteration of this research did the rounds around government about 18 months ago.

My recollection of the first report was that it was full of fascinating stuff but there was so much to take in it was almost impossible to know where to start. This time it was different – slicker, more digestible and seemingly more authoritative because it had the baseline from 18 months ago to compare against.

One clear message this time is the rise of social media and the implications of this for government. The audience, who were mainly heads of marketing or similar, were alert to this and there was some lively discussion afterwards about the implications of all this for them.

Some of the points made included: Continue reading

links for 2007-05-23

Talking about the power of information

A late invitation arrived today from the Ideal Government folk to come to what turned out to be a fascinating evening discussing the democratisation of information and how government might participate in the online social media world.

Around the table were a sprinkling of policy officials, technologists and representatives from organisations who work with government to deliver its IT. Without divulging too much (the event was conducted under Chatham House rules (or rule) and discussed work whose conclusions haven’t all yet been announced) the thoughts aired included: Continue reading

links for 2007-05-21

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.

Continue reading