Following the successes of their smaller, localised events (like the one we went to in Edinburgh last year), the good folks at OneTeamGov have been working away for months to produce their first global unconference. It all came together and on July 16th some of the Delib team headed to London to get stuck in.
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As our customer base continues to grow, so does the need for us to take on more awesome people. The newest member of the team is Chris, joining our UK office all the way from sunny California as an Account Manager. We caught up with him in his first week on all the important things: civic tech, bands and biscuits.
On Friday 29th June, the Practical Democracy Project came home to Delib’s HQ city of Bristol, UK. With previous events having taken place in London, Edinburgh and Manchester, and a recent one in Wellington, New Zealand, it’s safe to say the Practical Democracy Project is going global, and this is just the beginning; the movement is growing and we plan to keep this momentum going.
Last week, several members of the Delib gang headed out from our Bristol, England HQ and descended on Edinburgh, Scotland for the first Citizen Space & Dialogue user group of 2018. A great opportunity to meet some of our Scottish customers, hear how people are using our products and try haggis, naturally I jumped at the chance to go along.
In the least humble-braggy way possible, we do just keep on collecting more customers – so we’re delighted to bring another Account Manager on board to help look after them all! Our newest recruit is Jessie, joining the team in our HQ in Bristol, UK. We talked to her about democracy, dodgers, dogs – and a contentious use of McFlurries:
With declining salmon stocks in many English rivers, the Environment Agency needed to develop options to reduce the take of salmon by anglers and net fisheries.
We recently got to chat with the Isle of Man Government about how they changed the way they communicated with citizens using Dialogue. Here’s what they told us:
The Isle of Man Government is continuing to modernise the way it interacts with citizens, as part of a commitment to openness and transparency.
Embracing digital media, enhancing web-based services and inviting public feedback via a new consultation hub are encouraging more people to have their say on important issues and to conduct their business with Government online.
Many of the Island’s residents are active online, with an estimated 60% signed up to Facebook. A lot of discussion of political issues takes place on digital media channels and online forums and Government was keen to provide an official platform for people to air their views.
The Isle of Man Government first used Dialogue to help generate broad public engagement in its Securing Added Value and Efficiencies (SAVE) project. It was considered a good way to connect with the public in a space that could be monitored and regulated and where ideas could be formally recognized, reported and acted upon.
People were invited to submit ideas to help Government achieve multi-million pound budget savings and deliver public services more effectively.
The response was overwhelming. By the end of the first week the Dialogue site had 414 registered users who submitted 401 ideas and 770 comments. One individual contributed no fewer than 80 ideas during the course of the challenge – a level of engagement the SAVE team had not expected.
People also used the Dialogue site to communicate with one another and to collaborate on their ideas. Submissions could be refined and improved by combining suggestions.
The SAVE team opted to moderate posts, but found that the site was largely self-policing and the conversation was mostly constructive.
A weekend working rota enabled responses to be checked outside of normal office hours. This proved particularly helpful as people were very engaged on Sunday evenings – possibly on account of being on their ‘downtime’, when they had an opportunity to really think about their ideas.
People could also feedback to the SAVE initiative on postcards and cut-out coupons from the local newspaper. Postcards were available at public locations around the Island and members of the SAVE team were on hand to encourage participation and answer specific questions.
Postcard and coupon responses were input to the Dialogue site, so that they could be viewed and commented upon by the majority of people who were contributing online.
The manual responses were not as detailed as those submitted online, suggesting that people found it easier to share ideas on the Dialogue site and were perhaps deliberating over matters more when they could provide their ideas in a considered way.
Users may have also been more engaged using the Dialogue tool where ideas and comments are shared, unlike conventional methods where suggestions are submitted in isolation.
By the deadline, there were more than 1,300 responses and over 2,300 comments – a fantastic result in terms of public engagement.
The Isle of Man team updated the site to confirm the exercise had closed and to inform people about the next steps in terms of assessing the ideas and selecting a number for further consideration.
Several suggestions submitted the SAVE challenge via the Dialogue site are currently being developed in partnership with the relevant Government Departments.
The Isle of Man Government is using Dialogue again to generate public feedback and ideas to improve road safety.
It has also been inspired by HM Courts and Tribunals’ use of Dialogue to generate internal staff suggestions and may consider a similar challenge to improve staff engagement in the future.
Overall, the Isle of Man Government’s experience of Dialogue has been an extremely positive one.
Twitter – @IOMDigitaleng
HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is committed to giving its employees different ways of expressing their views within their organisation. This is fundamentally about giving employees a voice and seeing them as central to coming up with ideas and solutions to improve the way that HMCTS works. Employee voice is one of the key pillars of HMCTS’ approach to employee engagement; through the many channels that employees have to give their views, HMCTS hopes to create an environment where people feel engaged and committed to their work. HMCTS wants people to be able to suggest ideas that matter and that will be put in to practice to help the organisation be more effective in delivering justice.
Previously, HMCTS had tried a ‘Bright Ideas’ scheme, where people could suggest ideas by filling out a form on an internal intranet page. However, there was a perception that ideas would often sit on the platform and not be actioned, falling into an organisational ‘black hole’ with no feedback given and little sense of transparency. HMCTS wanted to enhance the way people could put forward their ideas for improvements and change to show staff that their opinions really did matter.
They ran a survey to see what sort of scheme people would like and to gain insight into what employees wanted out of it; how they would want it to work and what they thought it should be called. A colleague suggested a working group that could work on ideas for functionality, a name, a logo and who could represent the wider HMCTS team. They looked at a few different systems and consulted cross-government networks to see what other departments were using for this type of exercise.
They were aware of the Ministry of Justice’s Dialogue site, which had proven to be a huge success when used for a pioneering public engagement exercise (asking how to best allocate a fund provided by the government to support victims of male rape and sexual abuse). This challenge received so many thoughtful and constructive responses via the Dialogue platform that funding was reviewed and increased as a result, helping victims across the country through new support networks. HMCTS saw this success and the level of participation the challenge received, and through the outcomes of their working group and survey found that Dialogue fitted all of their criteria for functionality.
Using Dialogue, they created a new site called ‘Growing Ideas That Matter’, using an acorn growing into a tree as the logo to represent the idea of conversations developing. Ideas can start small and be built upon by everyone involved until a workable and beneficial proposal is generated. The team is making it as easy as possible for staff to get involved, encouraging people to contribute at any time, even on the bus on the way home from work using shortcuts on their phone. With responsive design, Dialogue has allowed employees to access challenges from anywhere, on any device, meaning conversations can carry on continuously.
Under the previous scheme staff became frustrated at the lack of organisational response to ideas that were being submitted. This led to people taking to other channels to raise issues that were often off topic and therefore lost. HMCTS set up their new Dialogue in a way that would encourage genuine and positive interaction.
To ensure there is clear ownership, employees registering on Dialogue are asked to enter their name in a certain format. This is monitored to ensure people are commenting on ideas as themselves, which improves the quality of conversations. The underlying rule for suggestions is to make them count, make them matter, and to own them.
New challenges are posted every four weeks and members of the Senior Leadership Team have been allocated as sponsors for them, commenting on ideas and ensuring the conversation is heard, and acted on where possible. Teams also have ‘team information board’ meetings where they can talk about issues with one person in charge of posting it on Dialogue and monitoring the level of response it receives. With 450 locations across the country, this has proven to be a great virtual workshop for geographically dispersed colleagues to have meaningful discussions.
HMCTS has found that the new notifications function in Dialogue has enhanced conversations by keeping people updated on the ideas they have submitted. The single notification per day means that people can keep up-to-date on how their ideas are moving forwards, without being overwhelmed by email updates.
The current challenge is to gather ideas around updating internal guidance and it’s working well. The success of using Dialogue has already led to some ideas being taken forward and organisational changes which may have gone otherwise unheard and is helping HMCTS employees to feel valued and able to have a genuine input in improving their place of work.
“Dialogue has given HMCTS a platform to build our engagement and help take a broad spectrum of ideas and experience into account when delivering change. We feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface of what we could achieve with Dialogue and are excited to see where this leads.”
Lauren Waters, Customer Innovation Manager, HMCTS