Community of Practice Launch for Third Sector Indicators

I was encouraged by the recent press release on the Cabinet Office website about the launch of a joint project by Office of the Third Sector and the Improvement & Development Agency (IDeA) to support local authorities and their partners in delivering increased participation in volunteering and an environment for a thriving third sector in their area. To quote an abstract from the article:

To support local authorities and their partners, OTS and IDeA will be establishing an on-line Community of Practice and linking with work of the Government Offices in the regions and Regional Improvement & Efficiency Partnerships. The on-line Community of Practice will allow members to share good practice and ideas, discuss challenges and solutions, and to identify and explore ways of working together.

CoP Welcome Page

The online Communities of Practice (CoP) environment forms a key part of the knowledge and learning strategy that Semantix (UK) Ltd was commissioned to develop for the IDeA back in 2005, and which was formally launched in September 2006. Since then it has attracted over 15,000 registered users across local and central government and supports over 430 CoPs, with regional, cross-regional and national representation for improving and innovating in council/public services.

There is clear evidence from many of the existant CoPs that collaboration between local authoriries is leading to better/smarter use of resources, and encouraging more effective partnerships with private sector providers.

The CoP Platform is an example of how Web 2.0 technology, social networking and social media tools can be used in a professional working environment – sometimes referred to as ‘Enterprise 2.0‘.

Further details of the announcement can be found in the CoP for Third Sector Indicators PDF.

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Launch of Progress through Partnership

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I presented today on the topic of Communities of Practice for the launch of the Progress through Partnership programme, sponsored and supported by the South East Employers (SEEMP). The Progress through Partnership (PtP) is a peer led programme with the objective of creating an environment for knowledge sharing and identifying examples of best practice and innovation for Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs)

The programme includes the launch of a new portal site with a link to the CoP platform.

The idea of using a CoP for this programme of work was well received by most of the audience, and particularly when I explained that these communities were not hierarchical and were not workflow driven. The issue of hierarchy seemed to resonate most with delegates from district authorities, who appear to have a lesser voice in the LSPs than members from unitary authorities.  It will be interesting to see how the inherent flat structure of a CoP will work in this particular programme. A case of ‘watch this space’ I think!

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