Councils ‘need collaboration coordinator’

Councils should club together to hire a community manager who could ease collaboration on solving ICT problems, according to a leading digital thinker.

Phil Rumens, digital services manager at West Berkshire Council and vice chair of collaborative group LocalGov Digital, made the call in a blog posting.

He suggested that the new post could be paid for by holding “maker days”, sponsored by the private sector, where local authorities could gather to solve problems.

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Rumens said the idea stemmed from the collaboration platform Pipeline project created by LocalGov Digital, which has seen 100 councils sign up but has struggled to maintain momentum.

In June, Rumens said that the project would benefit from a coordinator to turn the ideas submitted into practice.

In this week’s blog, Rumens said: ‘Regularly held makers days could fund a community manager role, but more than that, Pipeline could be used to source the challenges at the maker days thus providing the incentive of free research and development for councils if they add and keep their projects up to date on Pipeline.

“Maker days could be funded by sponsorship from the private sector, so they’re not directly funding Piepeline; there’s also a lot in it for them too. This is low-cost contact with councils helping the private sector improve things they might incorporate into their products.”

Rumens said he preferred the term “makers day” to “hack day” because the latter might put some people off from attending.

He said: “…some people think computer programming when they hear the word “hack” and this might put them off, because it’s really not about tech, in fact some of the excellent outputs from Local Democracy Maker Day were made using post-its and flipcharts.”

He also suggested that the sponsorship raised could also be set low to allow small and medium sized enterprises to attend.

Rumens is looking for feedback on his idea at @philrumens on Twitter.

Colin Marrs

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