Serving citizens with the Web 2.0

On the heels of the interesting conversation generated by my colleague Anthony Williams’ post regarding Patient Opinion and it’s interaction with the National Health Service, I thought I’d point to an interesting article by the UK-based National Computing Council on Web 2.0 deployment for local government. Like Anthony, they wonder why many of the most innovative citizen-centric activities happen outside of government, noting innovative examples such as MySociety.org and LGSearch as being at the leading edge of what can be provided to, and crowdsourced with citizens. That said, they also point to a variety of Web 2.0 esque applications being developed by local councils, and while most are rather simple, their final guidelines on the integration and use of tWeb 2.0 tools are is spot-on. See below:

UK National Computing Council guidelines for Web 2.0 deployment
  1. Don’t think about Web 2.0 or e-government as being just about technology. It is about saving time and making life easier and more efficient for citizens.
  2. Make sure you are resourced to cope. No point setting up a blog that encourages comments if you can’t respond to each comment.
  3. Carefully plan your strategy if using blogs. If it’s a council blog, make sure it’s part of a wider communications strategy and not the domain of one or two keen individuals.
  4. Consider the reputational risks of publishing un-moderated citizen comments in online forums or blogs. Don’t assume comments represent universal opinion.
  5. Identify the audience you are trying to reach and use the appropriate channel. Not everyone has an account on Facebook, Myspace or Bebo, and not everyone has broadband. Know who you are excluding and plan for this.
  6. Ensure there is a staff policy for using social media sites during working hours.
  7. Most Web 2.0 solutions are relatively cheap to deploy. If you are planning to spend more than £100k on an enterprise solution you’re doing something wrong – or you have particularly complex requirements.

You can read the full article here.

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