Challenge: #LocalGovCollaboration! (and working in the open)

As our #LocalDigital project gets off the blocks and we work out what we want to do and how we want to do it, we are finding that a key challenge is how we work quickly across local authorities, when we all have different working environments. Devon and Bucks are fully Microsoft O365, Adur and Worthing are Google G Suite.

Bearing in mind that existing work programmes had not taken into account winning a #LocalDigital bid, we are all having to rapidly insert, with sharp elbows, an agile project into existing work commitments and diaries. So far this has been my biggest frustration – when you can’t see the diaries of colleagues in other authorities, you have to proceed with blinkers on, and it makes setting up meetings and calls a real headache.

However, diaries aside, we are starting to get our communications plans together! Our current iteration looks something like this:

  • Weekly (or more often) video calls via Skype or Hangout.
  • Day to day conversation – the LocalGovDigital Slack workspace – see the #opencommunity channel for general open discussion (membership limited to those with a email address). We will use the direct message function for any more confidential conversations between project partners. 
  • Document store – this started on an informal Google Drive, but will shortly migrate to a formal Adur and Worthing G Suite Drive folder.
  • Task management – we will work in the public domain using the #LocalDigital Trello board. [this is not active yet but will be in the New Year!]
  • Retrospectives – we will attempt to open these up via a video call, once we are underway.
  • This website will be the main place for finding up todate information, blogs, events and learning, with key updates and events also published via the Local Digital website.
  •  All project partners will share information via Twitter: Paul Brewer, Tom Dixon and Ben Unsworth.

I am sure things will evolve as we go along, particular once we have appointed a supplier to work with, but there are some clear conclusions so far:

  • Whilst local authorities have some good enterprise IT for working productively within organisations, barriers exist when trying to work collaboratively across organisations – particularly secure document sharing and diaries.
  • In spite of local authorities now having some good IT, we are still finding independent tools are helpful to achieve ‘working in the open’ particulary Slack and Trello.
  • There are serious challenges finding the team resource at short notice to deliver a project in only 3 months (and the timing of the funding immediately prior to the Christmas holiday has not helped!)

I will be interested to see how other #LocalDigital projects have tackled their project communication.

Introduction and welcome

This website is freshly minted, but will eventually be the repository for our new project, undertaking discovery work to determine what a good data standard should be for community directory-based information.

The partners – Adur and Worthing, Devon County Council and Buckinghamshire Council – have secured funding from MHCLG Local Digital to deliver this work. In the meantime you can read the full proposal on the Local Digital website.

Procurement now live!

GOV.UK Digital Marketplace

Our procurement is now live on the Government Marketplace. We are looking for a great team to work with @AdurandWorthing , @DevonCC and @Buckscc on a discovery for the creation & maintenance of local service directories, to understand what a ‘directory as a service’ could & should look like.

As a recipient of the MHCLG Digital Fund, the collaborating organisations (Adur and Worthing Council, Devon County Council, Buckinghamshire County Council) are carrying out a discovery on local service directories. Councils and local public and voluntary organisations have various needs for accurate and trusted data about local services. There is a lot of duplication of effort, little join-up and existing data standards are rarely used in local service directories. We want to know what a directory of services could and should look like in 2019.