I participated in the third annual UK Government Barcamp a couple of weeks ago.
The unconference for those involved, around or interested in the UK government’s online activities took place on Saturday 23 January 2010 at Google’s Victoria offices.
The schedule (pictured above) was put together barcamp style at the beginning of the day by those present.
Here’s my report of some of the hour long sessions I attended:
- data.gov.uk – Richard Stirling, from the Cabinet Office, outlined the origins, development and launch of the new data.gov.uk site, which “seeks to give a way into the wealth of government data”. He said the site, publicly launched two days beforehand, does not host data, but is trying to make data easier to find on individual government sites.
- WordPress – Simon Dickson led a session on the use of WordPress in government, outlining its expanding use, starting with the Wales Office, then Number 10, to it’s current deployment in government. Steph Gray spoke on his experience in using WordPress when rebuilding his departmental website in a few days when BIS was brought into existence. The speed of deployment and flexibility of WordPress, though the use of plugins, was a common theme through the session. I, of course, pointed those present to WordCamp UK to find out more and meet WordPress users and developers from across the country.
- Making the political sell: gaining support for innovation in political organisations – a session on making the case for digital engagement against a background of cuts. Steph Gray spoke on surviving 2010, whilst Anthony Zacharzewski presented making the political sell. In the current climate some areas of government might see digital engagement as an easy area to cut back without any significant impact – a mistaken approach in my view.
More reports of the sessions by others present.
One of the outcomes of the day is the possibility of organising an event around internal communications and collaboration.
Many thanks to Dave Briggs for organising a great day, Google for hosting the event at their offices, the sponsors for their support and not forgetting Hadley Beeman for arranging evening drinks in local licensed premises!