Communities of Practice will be integral part of Local Government Association Group Development Strategy

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I’m enouraged by the recent blog from John Hayes (Director of Services at the IDeA) regarding the LGA Group Development Strategy. John recognises the increasingly important role of local government Communities of Practice (CoPs) in sharing knowledge and identifying good/best practice based on evidence-based outcomes.  As John says:

The Local Government Association Group Development Strategy is forcing everyone in the LGA Group to think hard about how we help Councils.  One Strategy concept which is central to our thinking at the IDeA is “experience to advocacy”.  Advocacy is fundamentally about getting a better deal from the stakeholders, in particular Government, who impact local government’s ability to operate.  Advocacy is more powerful if it is informed directly by the experience of Councils.(….)We are (…) simplifying the approach to engagement.  From the IDeA’s point of view this has involved boiling down the description of “what we do” to three core activities:

  • Practice development – working with practitioners to develop best and next practice;
  • Practice challenge – getting those practitioners to challenge each others performance using that best and next practice;
  • Practice support – where councils are struggling with practice finding practitioners who are willing to help them.

Perhaps the key unifying theme is the approach to experience or knowledge.  All the work involves working with practitioners (politicians and staff). Building on the IDeA communities of practice approach we can now be much more ambitious about how we engage with practitioners to share experience which can then be used in real time to inform advocacy.

As regular readers of my blog will know, I’ve been behind the CoP initiative from the word go (well actually, even before the word go!) and am currently providing business process and technical stewardship for the IDeA CoP Platform, which has grown from nothing to support almost 18,000 public sector users and 550 CoPs in less than two years. More about this in my next blog where I will be describing some of the new features of the platform that will shortly be released.

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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