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Archive for February 4th, 2009

UK gov 2.0 lessons learned: Britian’s Power of Information Taskforce Report (beta)

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UPDATED 02.09.2009

The remarkable thing about Web 2.0 — these tools that let people tap into the wisdom of crowds — is that you can tap into experts around the world — and share information around the world. And there are many countries that are looking at government 2.0. One of the better examples comes from our friends across the Pond — Great Britain.

The United Kingdom has been working on its Power of Information Taskforce, and that group has just published its “beta” report, which means that you still have time to comment on it.

NOTE: We spoke to the author of the report, Richard Allen, chairman of the Power of Information Task Force report team on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. You can hear that conversation here… and all of our “Meet the Innovators” here.

View this document on Scribd

You can find other ways of reading the report itself on the task force’s Web site … via a Word .doc … a PDF itself … even an Open Office document and I’ve posted it on Google docs. So there are many ways to read this report. And on Monday, Feb. 9 on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, in our regular segment, Meet the Innovators, we’re going to talk to Richard Allan, who led the development of the report.

Get a FAQ on the task force here … and the task force has a blog here.

For me, one of the most fascinating things about the report is that the issues faced by governments on both sides of the Atlantic are very similar.

There are a few key points that come through the task force’s report.

The report looks at the government and social media, intellectual property, and it looks at freeing up data — something that they refer to as “backstage” services.

Regarding freeing up data… the UK report makes specific mention of Washington, DC’s remarkable Apps for Democracy project , which many organizations are now testing out.

Another big recommendation: Government employees need to be able to access the technologies out there, something many DHS employees would relish.

Public servants will require adequate internet access to take part in social media as part of their job. The Cabinet Office should work with staff involved in setting access rules and issue guidance.

They also recommend that public employees be… well, out there.

As a matter of course, 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 bodies should investigate and publish lists of the major forums and other discussion sites within their areas of responsibility and engage with these following a published plan. A cross-governmental list of such sites and set of Departmental plans should be published by Cabinet Office by Q3 2009 with a follow up report on progress in Q1 2010. This builds on the enabling work advised by the Taskforce on the publication of social media guidance for civil servants.

Many of the challenges listed mirror those raised by U.S. government Web forum members and the National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project.

If I had one critique of the report — and I have to be honest that I haven’t followed it every step of the way — but if you are writing about collaboration and seeking input, well… it isn’t very clear where one can comment… or how… or in what form… In the end, I probably would have made the document some kind of wiki where people could go in and make changes — that always seems the most empowering. Rather then just complaining about something, do something about it. Press reports lead me to believe they did develop it collaboratively.

But this report will be a big help to U.S. agencies. The UK team deserve a lot of credit.

After the break… some UK press reports about the document… and the recommendations…

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Written by cdorobek

February 4, 2009 at 1:19 PM