Utilising Web 2.0 in local government

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I was asked recently to produce an article for ITAdvisor on the topic of Web 2.0 in local government, and specifically, the areas in which Web 2.0 could be used, the resultant benefits that can be delivered and the key issues to be considered in order to ensure that the technologies are implemented successfully.This proved more difficult than I first imagined, not least because there is so much going on across the sector in relation to Web 2.0 initiatives that it became more a case of what I would have to leave out rather what I could include. Particularly in view of a fairly tight word count limit that I was asked to meet. So, apologies in advance to anyone who’s pet project I haven’t mentioned, but I hope I have done some justice to the scope and scale of the work going on across local government to utilise the collaborative capabilities in Web 2.0 technology to provide more effective services to citizens.The full article is available as a PDF, but for those who don’t have the time (or inclination) to read, the following is a brief abstract of the key points.

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Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Simple guidelines for Web 2.0 deployment Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

1. Don’t think about Web 2.0 or e-government as being just about technology. It is about saving time and making life easier and more efficient for citizens.

2. Make sure you are resourced to cope. No point setting up a blog that encourages comments if you can’t respond to each comment.

3. Carefully plan your strategy if using blogs. If it’s a council blog, make sure it’s part of a wider communications strategy and not the domain of one or two keen individuals.

4. Consider the reputational risks of publishing un-moderated citizen comments in online forums or blogs. Don’t assume comments represent universal opinion.

5. Identify the audience you are trying to reach and use the appropriate channel. Not everyone has an account on Facebook, Myspace or Bebo, and not everyone has Broadband. Know who you are excluding and plan for this.

6. Ensure there is a staff policy for using social media sites during working hours.

7. Most Web 2.0 solutions are relatively cheap to deploy. If spending more than £100k on an enterprise solution you’re doing something wrong – or you have particularly complex requirements!

Not intentionally contentious points, though I’m sure point 7 will stimulate some debate!

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