LGCLincoln: What about a university for Public Sector Web Professionals?

I interviewed Paul Canning at LocalGovCamp Lincoln about Socitm's new "Public Sector Web Professionals".


Let's talk about the old web and the new web...

Now there's definitely a difference between the old web and the new web...

Have a quick look at this diagram and you'll probably get the gist of what I'm talking about. So having these changes in the way the web is evolving will certainly have an impact on how web professionals will need to evolve along with it.

Saying that, its quite interesting to see throughout my research that there are still some traditional web 'thinking' going on within the public sector that deters them from fully exploiting the new web's potential and opportunities. But this is not due to the lack in sufficient technology or gadgets.

It all comes down to insufficiency in skills and knowledge on how the new web is demanding more softer social skills and specific technical skills to enhance public services and public sector's relationship with citizens on the new web.

Time for some change?

Obviously the first thing that comes in mind is ... we need a cultural change in government or at least online government. The truth is, change is scary and change is the key word to trigger resistance. So when Paul Canning came to me at LocalGovCamp Lincoln to introduce the "Public Sector Web Professionals" by Socitm, a light bulb popped in my head! I felt that its a brilliant platform to invigorate change without actually labeling it 'change'?

Change ain't easy!

One thing I've learnt about government through my research is, change is not usually something that is welcomed with arms open. In fact its kept at arms length! And it has an opposite effect when it comes to the public opinion. For the public, change always has a positive connotation to it and the public responds to it favourably.

So for government to "change", the drive or motivation needs to come from a different source. A source that nurtures and has the voice of optimism and possibly also giving a sense of community.

Therefore to allow the public sector web professionals to progress, learn and adapt to the new web, knowledge, skills and training needs to be weaved into the sector. And due the the bureaucratic nature of the public sector, recognition through certification on the knowledge and skills achieved is also just as important for the individual and personal career development.

Transforming government through training?

Neil Williams said something quite interesting on his blog about Transforming online government: thoughts about the Federal Web Managers Council white paper that I feel is worth mentioning here...

"While our efforts have been very successful, a high-level mandate from the new Administration is needed to quickly and radically transform government websites."
"To remain relevant, government needs to take our content to where people already are on the web, rather than just expecting people to come to government websites."

The Federal Web Manager University across the pond..

To give a clearer picture of how this is going to work, be sure to check out a similar practice in the states called the Federal Web Manager University. To find out exactly what the Public Sector Web Professionals is all about, please watch the video and why not join in the scoping exercise too?




Hope this was useful!

Liz xxx


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