Hackney Council has begun to post details of its ongoing digital projects on the Pipeline platform, hosted by the LocalGov Digital group.
It has taken the lead in reactivating the use of the platform, following work on a new iteration carried out with consultancy Rainmaker Solutions.
Since the beginning of the month the council has posted details of about 40 projects on Pipeline – at stages from discovery to live – along with early contributions from West Berkshire Council and the Civic Coder group.
Pipeline was initially developed in 2014 by LocalGov Digital – a grouping of digital practitioners in local government – taking it to alpha phase. It attracted a burst of interest from local authorities, but the group found it difficult to sustain further development and it has been little used.
Nicholas Teeman, lead delivery manager for Hackney, says in a hackit blogpost that the council saw the platform as a way of helping it to take an agile and transparent approach to the development of digital projects.
“We decided that rather than buying or making a thing for ourselves, it would be best to contribute to a community tool and see how we might ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’,” he says. “We got in touch with the LocalGov Digital team and were delighted that they were up for it.”
Tracking and feedback
It felt that the system needed some changes to give it the portfolio tracking capabilities it wanted, which led it to the deal with Rainmaker. This was followed by a workshop with key users and a session at the recent LocalGovCamp to obtain feedback on why people had not used the first iteration and functionality of the new one.
Although still in the prototype phase the platform is open for registrations with links to the first round of projects to be listed. Hackney is providing brief details and directing users to its Google + pages for more information.
Speaking with UKAuthority, Teeman said the council’s digital team has already been sharing its project status updates through Google+, but that these will now become available through Pipeline.
“At Hackney we see more benefits from working in the open than constraints,” he said. “We’re very pleased to publish everything we do on Pipeline to support collaboration and tell other people about our work. We see it as a real plus.”
Phil Rumens, chair of LocalGov Digital, said: “I was pleased to see Hackney pick it up and make some investment in it, and hopefully it will snowball with other councils putting their own things on there. We can then see a way forward to make it sustainable and continue to develop.”
Rumens and Teeman are also planning to meet with he Local Digital Collaboration Unit at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to discuss how Pipeline might be used to publish details of the projects it is looking to fund, including those within the Local Digital Fund.
Image by toffehoff, CC BY 2.0 through flickr