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Future E Gov Conference Catherine Howe (24 11 09)
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Future E Gov Conference Catherine Howe (24 11 09)


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Future E Gov Conference Catherine Howe

Future E Gov Conference Catherine Howe

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  • 1. Civic Architecture for Cyberspace
  • 2. The social web is not a trend that can be ignored….. … ..some facts….
  • 3.
  • 4. Some more facts….. Oxford Internet Surveys: Social networking sites are not only growing in terms of people – they also have an increased share of online time
  • 5. And other excellent facts….
      • Ofcom:
      • Neilson:
      • Web Strategist blog:
  • 6. The democratic question…..
      • People are talking……..they are just not talking to us…….
      • ……… what can we do about this?
  • 7. Answers start with questions…..
      • How can the social web help us make better decisions and live in better communities?
      • How do we blend the needs of formal democracy with the way in which people actually behave?
      • How do we move past the simple fact of eyeballs on social websites being our measure of success?
      • How do we translate the participation we see that we can stimulate on the social web into formal democratic participation?
  • 8. Do Council’s need to respond?
      • Democracy needs to happen where the people are – it can’t happen in isolation
      • You have to start somewhere – and at least these people are already participating in something
      • Online is a growing trend and if we take a medium to long term view it is essential that Local Government has a clear role on the web
      • Online is the most cost effective way to engage – move everything you can there and spend money on the face to face that can’t be replaced
      • Innovation in public services is essential and will involve more participatory design
  • 9. How do we describe Social Websites?
      • Malleable identity
      • User generated content
      • Shared rule creation – communities set norms of behaviour
      • Participation is expected and encouraged
      • Content is viral and shared widely
      • There is no controlling the message
  • 10. The new social web is an environment superbly suited to Participatory Design: Co-creation
  • 11. Old web v. New web Collaboration / XML Presentation / HTML Engagement Content Communities Websites Widgets Portals Old eGov Gov 2.0 From a presentation by
  • 12. The democratic question…..
      • Social websites are profoundly different to most government spaces…….
      • … .and so is democracy….
      • … .. we can’t make a decision on the basis of how many people join a facebook group
  • 13. You’ll have seen this before….. But it makes an important point
  • 14. Social Web: The Wild West Local Government: The Law How can you map this relationship? Formal Consultation Alchemy News and social networking sites Council managed services like webcasting or online consultations We need to use tools like petitions which can transition people from informal to formal Social Web: The Wild West Social Web: The Wild West Informal Social Participation Social Web: The Wild West Informal Civic Participation Social Web: The Wild West Government: The Law Formal Democracy Social Web: The Wild West
  • 15. So how we respond?
      • We concentrate on what we are good at – councils are not social spaces so don’t try to be – no-one wants to be your friend
      • Listen – the conversation is already happening – you just need to find it
      • Provide the right support – and leave the content to the citizens
      • Organise geographically – not institutionally
  • 16. And how does Government need to change?
      • Ensure that 'Local ' is user defined – its not about you!
      • Build an environment for co-creation
      • Unlock the potential within Councils - trust officers to engage
      • Create the idea of Councillor 2.0
      • Change gears to work at a speed closer to that of the internet: this means taking risks
  • 17. How do we build this?
      • Do not compromise on democratic principles - accountability is essential even if its not web 2.0 friendly in terms of identity
      • Build an idea of better citizens - and help people to embrace this
      • Build the spaces which are needed to enable this to happen
      • Build beyond the next trend : think of Civic Architecture
  • 18. One suggestion: The Virtual Town Hall
    • A permanent civic space which will provide an online space for democratic activity
    • Manage identity within this space
    • Somewhere where citizens can take an equal part in shaping the outcomes of their engagement: a co-created space
    • Not a website – a web space which brings in content from the existing social web and connects it with democratic activities and outcomes
  • 19.  
  • 20. Virtual Town Hall Pilot
      • Working with 5 Local Authorities to try and build permanent civic spaces for a 12 month Pilot:
        • Chorley
        • Essex County Council
        • Kirklees
        • North Lincolnshire
        • Redbridge
      • Involving citizens at every level – including to manage and moderate content
      • Looking specifically at how to involve elected representatives in this process
      • Our objective is measurable increases in democratic activity
  • 21. Thank you…… ……and more importantly….what do you think??? [email_address]