I’m enouraged by the recent blog from John Hayes (Director of Services at the IDeA) regarding the LGA Group Development Strategy. John recognises the increasingly important role of local government Communities of Practice (CoPs) in sharing knowledge and identifying good/best practice based on evidence-based outcomes.Â As John says:
The Local Government Association Group Development Strategy is forcing everyone in the LGA Group to think hard about how we help Councils.Â One Strategy concept which is central to our thinking at the IDeA is â€œexperience to advocacyâ€.Â Advocacy is fundamentally about getting a better deal from the stakeholders, in particular Government, who impact local governmentâ€™s ability to operate.Â Advocacy is more powerful if it is informed directly by the experience of Councils.
We are (…) simplifying the approach to engagement.Â From the IDeAâ€™s point of view this has involved boiling down the description of â€œwhat we doâ€ to three core activities:
- Practice development â€“ working with practitioners to develop best and next practice;
- Practice challenge â€“ getting those practitioners to challenge each others performance using that best and next practice;
- Practice support â€“ where councils are struggling with practice finding practitioners who are willing to help them.
Perhaps the key unifying theme is the approach to experience or knowledge.Â All the work involves working with practitioners (politicians and staff). Building on the IDeA communities of practice approach we can now be much more ambitious about how we engage with practitioners to share experience which can then be used in real time to inform advocacy.
As regular readers of my blog will know, I’ve been behind the CoP initiative from the word go (well actually, even before the word go!) and am currently providing business process and technical stewardship for the IDeA CoP Platform, which has grown from nothing to support almost 18,000 public sector users and 550 CoPs in less than two years. More about this in my next blog where I will be describing some of the new features of the platform that will shortly be released.