LOCAL GOVERNMENT MOVES INTO KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
Local government managers and council members are sharing their practical experiences with each other in an on-line blog style environment set up by the Improvement and Development Agency. The Community of Practice online workspaces allow managers and councillors to discuss issues with their peers in a confidential environment.
The IDeA believes that local government has within it the knowledge to support improvement but that this knowledge needs to be more easily accessible. Knowledge management is seen as increasingly critical for sustainable improvement through self-assessment.
Currently the Community of Practice site has more than 100 communities, but users can create a new community at any time. Knowledge and learning is harnessed by allowing users to set out their opinions, share their problems and seek assistance from colleagues. Early indications are that this is an effective way of promoting best practice.
The policy and performance community is one of the most active groups and with 642 members it involves the greatest number of people. Its purpose is to share ideas and practice on developing and implementing better performance management and improvement policy. The group want to develop a network which supports its members in developing and implementing practice and policy in support of improvement.
The community of practice for innovation has 168 members and 4 sub-communities. Its aim is to promote innovation as a strategic driver of improvement and to foster collaborative learning in the management, measurement and practice of innovation. This will provide a platform for members to inspire the innovation agenda across local government.
Among the smaller communities is the Adult and Childrens services with 12 members. The community supports middle managers across both children and adults services in sharing knowledge, engaging in debate, and innovating around common difficulties. This online community complements the existing “physical” community, which meets twice a year, and is managed by the CAHCS team. Delegates at the physical meetings requested an online element to the community to keep momentum going between meetings.
Commissioning services from the third sector is moving up the local government agenda and it has a community of 5 members. The community is an internal IDeA stakeholder group for discussions and development of documents for the National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning.