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'Internet dating for local government' to aid collaboration between councils

28/08/14

Local government digital practitioners from across the country are invited to take part in 'virtual teams' with other councils to save money, avoid duplication and access wider skill sets.

Phil Rumens portrait, Vice-Chair LocalGov DigitalMakers Project Teams will bring together anyone in local government designing or developing similar services for their organisation or the public via apps, meetings, online collaboration software and social media. The scheme aims to help councils 'break the cycle of building or buying the same functionality in every local authority to achieve common goals'."This will to help councils work together, not through shared services or a central digital service, but through shared projects where local user needs align", said Phil Rumens, Vice Chair of LocalGov Digital, the group behind the scheme.

Rumens says Makers Project Teams is analogous to "a Kickstarter or an internet dating site for local government".

Plans for complementary pilot projects to enable such 'virtual teams' have also been sketched out by LocalGov Digital Makers. One is an application allowing councils to join up their service development plans with other councils working on similar projects. Another is Pulse, a website which will enables local government practitioners to more easily find re-usable code through GitHub. If the code is not available through Pulse, users are nudged towards 'Pipeline' to share their plans for digital services, where they can also be found by potential co-collaborators.

Initially Makers Project Teams was to cover the South of the country, but interest from councils further afield led LocalGov Digital Makers to expand the initiative to a nationwide remit. Regular Makers Project Teams meetings will be held around the country but the majority of work will take place using online collaboration tools such as Trello, Google+ Hangouts as well as Twitter.

The first meeting takes place on 11 September in Guildford. Service designers, process designers, graphic designers, UX designers, developers and communication professionals from 20 councils have already registered. To attend, get in touch via Twitter on @LGMakers or LocalGov Digital's Google+ community.

LocalGov Digital is a network of local government digital practitioners of which LocalGov Digital Makers is one work stream.

Further details on Makers Project Teams can be found here.

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