If you are interested in the development of digital services and the potential that it has to affect the delivery of service in the public sector, you ought to take a quick look at the beta report that the Power of Information Taskforce has recently released.
The Taskforce, which recently ran the ‘show us a better way’ competition (previous post refers) brought together a group from government, industry and the third sector, to enable better public service delivery.
Their report, which follows, Lord Carter’s interim report on Digital Britain, is about improving Digital Britons’ online experience by providing expert help from the public sector online, where people seek it, and by freeing up the UK’s public sector information for innovative new services. The report seeks to move into the mainstream activities that are currently minority best practice.
The report makes 25 recommendations, a number of which have a direct bearing on the provision of policing information and the accessibility of that information.
The recommendations most certainly speak directly to the need for a cultural shift in staff access to the internet and a much broader understanding and use of the collaborative tools that are shaping our world.
The report makes recommendations to help this culture shift and make more transparent the public sector’s attempts to engage online, which, the authors believe, ‘public servants should do as a matter of course’.
A selective flavour of the recommendations:
Public servants should be active in online peer support forums concerned with their areas of work, be it education specialists in parenting forums or doctors in health forums
Public servants will require adequate internet access to take part in social media as part of their job
Unlock innovation in leading public sector sites using a ‘backstage model‘, a standing open online innovation space allowing the general public and staff to co-create information-based public services. This capability should be a standard element of public information service design.
Invest in innovation that directly benefits the public by ensuring that public sector websites spend about as much on innovation as leading knowledge businesses.
The public services can break out of the traditional challenge/response model of consultation by using the latest online tools.
Public bodies are often required to publish notices and other information in newspapers, by physical notices or by other means. The same information should now also be published directly to the internet.
‘Usability’ critieria should be published with an implementation plan to central government websites. The criteria and guidance should be published as soon as possible with an implementation plan by June 2009. The approach should be extended to the websites of the wider public sector including local government, health and police.
The Permanent Secretary Government Communications should bring forward a plan to train communications staff in the basics of social media and a modern web presence by Q3 2009
A new external high level advisory panel should replace the Taskforce, reporting to the Minister for Digital Engagement. The Panel should advise Ministers and public servants on the latest developments in the area in the UK and overseas, scrutinise departmental plans and capabilities, set priorities for the Cabinet Office’s R&D fund, and drive and monitor progress in implementing the recommendations set out above. It should publish regular reports on the internet about developments and the government’s progress. The panel should be established by June 2009.
The timing outlined in the recommendations does provide a sense of momentum, possibly fueled in some part by the Obama effect and the rapid 2.0 changes in United States governmental web services. It is definitely a fast moving agenda, and one well worth contributing to and keeping an eye on.
- Online or inline, a government progress report
- Government to cut red tape for frontline public sector workers
- Information…kind of.
- 10 top approaches the public want in policing
- Government ‘assembles’ community activists