Local Government Collaboration Day

3 November 2017

Local Government Collaboration Day is a day dedicated to encouraging local government employees to come together in person and/or online to:

How to get involved

If you'd like to be involved you can do any of the following:

  1. Send an email to wayne.eddy@whittlesea.vic.gov.au or darkenfair@gmail.com; OR
  2. Add your name to this Google Doc; OR
  3. Sign up to the event here; OR
  4. Comment on this Linkedin Article.

Also, tell your work colleagues and contacts at other Councils about the day, and help make the above map to be a sea of yellow markers.

About the Day

The first ever Collaboation Day is to be held on 3 November 2017, but it is proposed to make the day an annual event celebrated on the first Friday of every November.

The day is partly inspired by the 2017 Future of Local Government Manifesto, which urges Councils to:

But it is mainly a grass roots movement inspired by local government staff at all levels and from all functional areas wanting to find ways to better collaborate with their peers at other Councils.

Councils, industry bodies and individual Council staff are all being encouraged participate on the day in a number of ways.

Councils are being encouraged to:

Industry Groups & Peak Bodies are being encouraged to:

Individual staff are encouraged to:

More detail about each of these proposed activities is provided below:

1. Sharing local government related information and ideas via social media

Whether it is an interesting article you've found somewhere or original content that you've produced yourself, if you think it might be of interest to others in the local government sector, share it.

There are quite a few social media platforms you can use, why not try four or five of them?

2. Setting up a wiki or adding content to an existing wiki.

A wiki is a page or collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.

Wikis especially those set up under a creative commons licence are intrinsically collaborative, so setting up a wiki is a great way to enhance collaboration between Councils, within a council, within a physical community or within community of interest. Setting up a wiki is well within the capabilities of most Councils and industry bodies, and Collaboration Day would be a great opportunity to launch such a wiki.

If you aren't in a position to set up a wiki you can always edit a page within an established wiki. One example of an existing Local Government related wiki is the Local Government & Municipal Knowledge Base. It contains over 5000 pages devoted to Local Government related topics. Anyone can sign up to the site and add or update a page. It is a good resource, particularly for those new to the industry, but it could be improved immeasurably if more people contributed to it on a regular basis. All information added to the wiki is published under a creative commons licence which means that all of the content on the site can be freely copied, redistributed, remixed and transformed providing any derivative works are made available to under the same license. How more collaborative can you get?

3. Publishing a documents under a creative commons license

Even if you don't have access to a wiki you can still share your knowledge via a creative commons license. Just add the appropriate statement (like the one at the bottom of this document) to any document and you have done it. Simple! This is a HTML document, but a Word document or a PDF file would work just as well.

4. Switching their Council website over to a creative commons license

If publishing a single document under a creative commons licence is a good thing, then switching your whole website over to a CC Licence has got to be even better. The City of Whittlesea did it and everything went smoothly. If your Council hasn't made the switch already, spend a bit of time between now and November 3 lobbying your IT department or who ever is responsible for the decision to make the change.

5. Sharing photos

A picture paints a thousand words. Photos are used on a daily basis by Councils for a whole range of reasons.

They are or can be used to:

These days, photos are easily captured by anyone with a smart phone, and 9 times out of 10 it will be easy to find the photo you need for whatever your purpose. Occasionally however you just can't find the exact photo you need for the purpose you need. This is especially true if the photo needs to be published online, and you aren't sure of a particular photo's copyright status.

So if you have some photos of a local government related activities and/or assets share them around. Not sure how? Read this.

6. Sharing videos

If a picture paints a thousand words, how many words does a great video equate to? If you've ever watched a TedX or an RSA Animate video, you'll know how informative they can be, and the Khan Academy is doing some great educational video work, but apart from the good work Ideanthro is doing with respect to Water Sensitive Urban Design where are all the local government related videos? If every Council created one video about a council function or service that they are really good at delivering explaining how it is they do it, wouldn't that be a great resource for the sector? More about the idea here.

7. Sharing code

Open Source Software & Local Government seems like an excellent match. All Councils have basically the same software needs, so software developed inhouse at one Council is likely to be usable by other Councils. If your IT Department has developed some software in house why not open source it and share it with the other 500+ Councils in Australasia. Let them build on it and improve it and pretty soon there will be a healthy local government software eco-system that everyone will benefit from.

The City of Casey seems to be a leader in this space. They are using bitbucket to open source the code behind their pet registration and hard rubbish booking software. It would be absolutely sensational collaboration-wise if other councils followed their lead.

8. Sharing data

Govhack is an annual event held each August. According to the Govhack website this year 2,300+ amazing, creative, clever, good-looking participants developed 379 projects/apps based on government open data. Imagine what they could do next year if more Councils opened up their data?

9. Sharing documents

Council officers are required to prepare a vast array of; policies, strategies, plans and other documents.

Many are unique to a particular Council, but many more are fairly generic documents that are easily adapted from a similar documents created by other Councils. Sharing these generic documents is an obvious way of cutting down on duplication of effort. It also helps to spread better practice across the sector.

Council officerss do share these sorts of documents with each other, but often the process relys on emailing or ringing contacts at another Councils and asking them if they have anything they can share.

A number of industry bodies, e.g. ALGA, FinPro, IPWEA , VLGA have document libraries on their websites that members can use, and presumably contribute to.

You are also always welcome to upload documents relevant to a particular topic page to the LGAM Knowledge Base.

So if you have a fairly generic document that you are willing to share with your peers at other Councils give some thought to how you can share it with more than a handful of personal contacts.

If you are a member of an industry group perhaps you can suggest they hold a "Document Drive" and ask their membership to provide them with documents that they can publish online.

10. Joining or forming special interest groups

This one is easy. Join a special interest group, and share your knowledge with your peers both online and in person. LGPro is pretty active in this area. They sponsor nearly thirty special interest groups covering a wide variety of topics. If you are based outside of Victoria or can't find what your interested in already there, Collaboration Day could be the perfect day to find others with similar interests and create your own.

11. Networking

Build up a network of Local Government contacts and get to know what makes them tick. A pretty old school concept this one, but social media, makes it easier than ever. My goal is to get to know one person (hopefully the one most passionate about inter-council knowledge sharing) at every Council around Australia.

12. Joining and/or contributing to mailing lists or internet forums

Join a mailing list or internet forum and ask questions and give answers.

There are probably hundreds of them out there to choose from. Here a just a few I know about:

13. Holding Special Events

One of key advantages of a day is that it isn't owned by any one entity. This leaves all Councils and industry bodies free to contribute to the day in whatever way they deem appropriate, including by organising their own collaboration day events and activities.

A couple of events and activities are already being planned and it is hoped that this list will grow significantly over time. Activities which are already being planned include:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Copyright: This document is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You can copy and redistribute it in any medium or format you like, and are free to adapt, remix and transform it as much as you like, providing you make any derivative works available to others under the same license.

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