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.
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.