UPDATE 16:30 (from Robin)

2 more action packed sessions! First up was a discussion on using WordPress in government, showcasing the new DEFRA website with WP 3.0 multi-site implementation. Second was an excellent talk on Open Data where I was able to talk about our current Bristol City B-Open research project and also hear from other government departments of their experience using Open Data.

UPDATE 16.09 (from Adam)

You’ll notice the lack of blog posts over the past few hours – the reason being that Gez, Robin and myself have been putting the online public sector world to rights with our fellow Govcampers.

I’ve just been involved in a talk regarding open spending data – how to get hold of it in a useful format and the practicalities of doing stuff with it.

Intriguing to get views from freelance developers through to comms people from councils. The conclusions leading towards the fact that people increasingly want to see spending data, but the challenge still lies in organisations having a commitment to adding value.

Visionaries are leading the pack in online data, but there’s still a way to go. We finished the session with an unbelievable story about an authority taking responses to an online survey, printing them off and then manually entering them into excel to analyse the data shows that there’s a big difference between those who understand online engagement, and those who don’t.

UPDATE 13:40 (from Robin)

It’s been a good morning so far, there are over 100 people at the ‘unconference’ discussing all range of topics from engaging social media strategies to creating short videos on a budget.

The first session I went to was discussing “How we can Improve Online Consultation”. Your Freedom was mentioned as one of the highlights of the coalition public engagement, but the general consensus was that online consulting was still stuck in age old PDF formats.

My second session was looking at establishing Skunkworks projects in government – providing a platform for problems to be presented in a format where they can be challenged, developed and solved. A key point was engaging with failure and the benefits from learning from it. It was exciting to see the buzz around Innovation Hub and hack days utilising open data, similar to our recent Bristol Open Data Hack Day.

UPDATE 12:50am (from Adam)

Just stepped out of a session from which Chris Chant, Interim Head of Digital Engagement, for Government was talking about what’s been happening at the highest level.

Naturally, not too many concrete details were disclosed, but fair to say that the Government’s vision is that digital engagement is a big priority. Good to hear that they’re excited and keen to start implementing more open-source software to make more effective use of their ICT strategy.

All positive feedback and excited to hear what comes out over the next few months!

UPDATE 10:50am

So in the introductory session, where we all have to stand up and say our names, where we’re from and what we’re here for in one word.

saying who we are

Loads of great people, and a massive spread of central government departments and a good few local authorities too, which is pleasing to see.

We’re now pitching the ideas for sessions we’d like to run today, loads of great ideas coming out, from specific platforms to open data and social media.

So, here we are then, at the legendary UK Govcamp, run by the able Messrs Grey and Briggs.

From Delib here today we’ve got Gez, Adam and Robin, here to find out what everyone’s up to, and share a little of what we’re up to. If you’re here, we’re talking about Citizen Space at 11:00am and 2:30pm, and possibly about other things at other times too. If you’re not, or you’re reading this afterwards, then we’ll write up the day here as things happen.

So, first of all, the obligatory ‘people sitting round before it all starts shot’. Apologies in advance for the iPhone quality photos…

govcamp people waiting before it starts