Communities of Practice in Local Government

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The Community of Practice platform at the Improvement and Development Agency is an integrated set of Web 2.0 tools that is being used to support and facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing across local government communities. I produced the specification for the platform early in 2006, and the platform was launched in September 2006. I was encouraged by a recent news item on how the strategy continues to flourish, with the following quote from Marilyn Leask, the IDeA’s Head of Knowledge & Learning:

“This is a terrific example ofhow the knowledge and learning of local government colleagues is beingbetter harnessed. Having an avenue where peers can voice their opinion,share their problems and seek assistance on a national network is another step forward in the journey towards ensuring best practiceis disseminated across local authorities. A benefit of these CoPs isthat they are both secure and confidential. CoPs are part of theKnowledge’s team’s structured progress with web2.”

“There are more than 110 communities listed at the website www.communities.idea.gov.uk.The CoPs have proven to be of assistance to councillors and seniormanagers who have used the medium to discuss issues of concern and usetheir collective knowledge to deliver the best outcomes for theircommunity.”

“At the IDeA we believe that the sector has within it the knowledge tosupport improvement but that this knowledge needs to be more easilyaccessible”.

I will be working with Marilyn and my IDeA colleagues again in the near future, so looking forward to participating in the support and cultivation of the CoP’s that have been established, and evangelising the benefits of the platform to those areas of local government that haven’t yet grasped the benefits of this new way of working.   

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