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Notwestminster Part II

I spent Friday and Saturday at the second Notwestminster Maker Day and Conference, getting thoroughly immersed in rock and roll local democracy stuff. It was my first Notwestminster but only the second since its launch, which coincided with the start of Open Data Camp, a resurgence of LocalGovCamp and the growth of UKGovCamp. Nowadays, getting a ticket for these events is as hard as buying tickets to a rock concert! The two-day format included a Maker Day to hack on real problems and solutions followed by a PechaKucha Night of 20 second/20 slide talks as well one whole day for the Main Conference itself. Friday – Local Democracy Maker Day Of the three #LDMaker16 Design Challenges, the Digestible Democracy theme seemed closest to some of the ideas we’ve been exploring with Giles Gibson and the Herne Hill Neighbourhood Forum. A couple of ideas emerged, admirably led by Lucy Knight and John Popham: Neighbourhood ward walks that could connect people with hyperlocal issues, potentially with tech such as iBeacons raising notifications of relevance to that area. Councillors creating short videos, possibly in real-time using Periscope, as a way to be more engaging than a set of meeting minutes! I spent some time looking at the election candidates widget for hyperlocal news sites while Democracy Club’s Sym Roe was in the room. He also built a quick hack to scan at least 50 localgov websites that run ModernGov software, as a way to find current councillors and when they were elected, to inform when they might be re-elected (helping to grow their dataset of which councils have upcoming elections). If you... read more

What next for community journalism?

Folk Labs have been working with Herne Hill’s Neighbourhood Forum since 2013 to relaunch their old site. In March we relaunched a new Drupal-based system for them which we call “OpenLocal”.

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Describing “government as a platform”

“Government as a platform”, a term originally coined by Tim O’Reilly in 2010, has been a growing topic of discussion in central and local government in the UK, particularly in the past 12 months. The work we’re currently doing with DCLG on Waste standards will hopefully form a piece of the puzzle in supporting the government as platform concept.

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