With the aim of growing and expanding my knowledge in the digital public services area, I jumped at the opportunity to attend this year’s ShareDigital 2016 conference, attending as a LoGov representative.
ShareDigital brings together those involved in enabling digital public services in local government, to share current challenges being faced and discuss the opportunities that lie ahead – with the aim of replicating successful digital projects.
Place as a Platform - a look into the future?
The first session was set as a panel discussion, chaired by Martin Ferguson - Director of Policy and Research at SOCITM, joined by:
- Geoff Connell, SOCITM President
- John Jackson, CIO of London Borough of Camden
- Jos Creece, SOCITM Associate Director
‘Place as a Platform’ addressed at the journey that local government has to go to in order to deliver smooth, frictionless services to local residents. “What is the vision for digitally-enabled council services and how might we achieve it?” was the big question at hand.
Focusing on an overall view of collaboration, this discussion focused around:
- How to make the most with the small budgets available
- Public sector and private sector collaboration to deliver what is really required for residents
- The new skills required in local government in order to succeed
- Current broken services that are crying out for a digital solution
This discussion then moved into asking “What is it that drives digital innovation?” – a combination of:
Key insights shared included:
- What’s the point in councils doing the same thing over and over again? Instead, do it once and share it
- Make sure we don’t leave residents behind as we move to digital
- Local government can become the leader in digital that all others follow
The panel Q&A provided a more in-depth discussion around the Data Protection Act and how local government can overcome the blockers put in place by this Act to openly access, share and use data in the right way - the way it is intended to be used.
Roundtable session: Managing your website like a product
The rest of of the conference programme then broke off into individual roundtable discussions, covering a variety of different topics. This roundtable covered the common objections to running a council website as a product and the Product Manager / Product Owner role within a web services team.
A very insightful discussion, touching on some of the most commonly faced issues around running a council website which has a huge number of stakeholders from various different departments (all with a huge amount of content for the areas they’re responsible for).
The discussion then steered towards:
- Website content vs. roadmap release schedules - how do you manage the high expectations of various key stakeholders with your roadmap?
- The legacy of different domains that appear over time and how to begin reducing these down
- Duplicate content - if it’s already on a central government website, why would you duplicate the same content?
Following the roundtable discussions, and wrapping up the day, came the closing plenary: ‘Five hot tips for digital success’.
A good open forum for discussions to take place and ideas to flourish. The roundtable format that the majority of the programme provided was a good platform to meet others for group (and individual) discussions. The open feel of the day was definitely a positive.
- There wasn’t a huge variety in the programme offering, following first panel discussion - either roundtable or round-off-to-the-exhibition
- The programmes and delegate badges were stored in envelopes with the little plastic window – cue an eager rustling throughout the Keynote Address