One of my top new projects this year is to establish a (large) network of people working in public services in the UK. The idea is that there are plenty of people in public service who essentially do a very similar job to one another – it just happens to be serving a particular geographic area/population or it’s about a particular service to the public or policy area.
The network will give these people an opportunity to come together, show off about what they’re doing, find out what others are doing and just generally chat with people who understand the issues they face (because…durrr… they face them too). I’m kind of thinking of an ecademy for public servants.
My intended part in this is to host and facilitate the online world of this network and the even more important offline, face to face meetings between these people.
What’s different I hope from the networking opportunities that people have is that I don’t want to be prescriptive by constraining which groups of people talk to each other. There are niche networks for people who are interested in, say, performance measurement in social services in local councils in London. But where is there that people at the Home Office can engage with people from Bristol Council and the Audit Commission at the same time let alone with the serendipitous possibility that someone from a PCT in East Anglia might have recently been working on just the thing that they’re interested in and is eager to show off her learning?
Of course if people want to have narrower, area or policy specific conversations there too then that’s fine.
At the moment I’m looking at community-building software for the online bit and talking to some of the cleverer people I know about what would be really useful and how it should be done.
If you want to contribute to the conversation, then please feel free to, either here in the comments or by e-mail to lloyd AT perfectpath etc.