Just had James Dellow from Headshift speaking at AusAID this afternoon on Government 2.0. Among the audience were several representatives from other government agencies giving the seminar a real whole-of-government feel. Government 2.0 is often considered in the light of open government, something I have blogged about before.
James spoke about the Federal Government sponsored Government 2.0 Taskforce final report published at the end of 2009. Key insights included some of the thinking behind the Online Engagement Guidelines and Web 2.0 Toolkit.
Much of the discussion focused, naturally enough for a government-centric audience, on risk. There remains a considerable concern among some senior executive service that web 2.0 and open government are too risky. The fear largely is about the risk of negative publicity or political sensitivities, but also includes concerns about the technology and giving public servants more authority and responsibility in dealing with the community. In sum, the issues relate to risk, privacy, responsibility, responsiveness, and consistency (quality).
Personally, I don’t see the risks as being too different from that facing the private sector – just replace the government Minister with a company CEO and you get the same sort of concerns. The challenge is how to mitigate risk and yet get the benefits from using web 2.0 applications and thinking to provide a better public service; one more in tune with the community and what the community needs from government agencies.
In addition, the challenge is also in asking where does the leadership for Government 2.0 come from? Is it from the politicians, the senior executive service, the communications unit, or IT?
I will get the Slideshare link of James soon and post for the presentation slides to be available.
All in all, a very good seminar and thank you, James!
As part of the Taskforce’s consultation process, they commissioned the creation of Online Engagement Guidelines and a Web 2.0 Toolkit. This was designed to provide guidance to government agencies using web 2.0 tools and provided a recommendation for a toolkit of web 2.0 technologies that agencies can use based on principles of shared services and re-use.