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.   

About Post Author

Stephen Dale

I’m a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about life. I love travel, good food, and good company. I’m happy to share what I know with others….even the interesting stuff! My outlook on life is pretty well captured in this quote from a book about the legend of King Arthur: “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King So much to learn, so little time!
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