A showcase of 10 Knowledge Hub Groups

As part of my ongoing work with Knowledge Hub I thought it might be quite interesting (& fun) to shine a spotlight on some of the groups we already have in existence – both as a way of broadcasting that they’re there to existing Knowledge Hub members but also as a way of enticing new members in if there’s something in my list that catches their fancy.  The Knowledge Hub team has been out & about over the past couple of weeks (we were at #commscamp15 & #opensource15 last past week alone) and I’ve been struck (and I have to say somewhat saddened) by the large number of people in the wider UK public sector who are completely unaware that they can begin using Knowledge Hub today completely free of charge. 

However, like the good optimist I am I see this as an opportunity…

Before we start, here are a few stats to give you an idea about the number of your colleagues who are already using & getting daily benefit from the Knowledge Hub community.  In the month of June alone we had 1,768 brand new people register for a Knowledge Hub account, 35,000 unique visitors and over 400,000 page impressions.  Not bad – although I do have a question.  Why is it that so many public sector people don’t upload a photograph when they register for a new account?  Does anyone know why this is?  It could be something as simple as we don’t make it easy enough to do.  If that’s the case then please tell me and we’ll fix it.  For anyone who doesn’t think a profile pic is necessary – these are the reasons for bothering:

  • Credibility – accounts without a photo tend to be the ones that are inactive, out-of-date or have something to hide.
  • Recognition – it helps people who already know you or are connected with you on other social media channels or who saw you recently at an event recognise you.  It’s useful if there are others out there with the same name as you (there are a lot of people working in the UK public sector after all!).  I use profile pics to help me recognise people I’m going to be meeting or am hoping to chat to at an event.
  • Social proof – this is strengthened if you use the same photo across all your social media profiles – it’s a key part of your personal branding.
  • Appeal – profiles with a face attached are far more appealing and people are more likely to connect with you and click on your content.

Onto my groups.  I’ve chosen 10 different sorts of groups to feature from the 1,500 or so groups in Knowledge Hub right now.  Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Planning Advisory Service – I love this group as it was one of the first formed under the old Communities of Practice regime and it’s been active and going from strength to strength ever since.  It has over 2,300 members today – wow!  This group is very lively & uses Knowledge Hub to ask questions, learn from each other and network.  Text book!
  2. 21st Century Libraries – a group shared by local authorities and the Arts Council of England to help councils look at, develop and collaborate on different ways to deliver library services and if possible improve service quality at less cost.  Nothing there not to like.  If you’re a library professional and you care about the future of our library service then you should probably be a member of this group.
  3. Fairer Fife Commission – a new group started in June 2015 by Fife Council and Carnegie UK and an example of a council and partner using a group on a time bound basis in order to share information and facilitate conversations and exchanges over a set period of time.  The Fairer Fife Commission is independent of Fife Council and will take a strategic overview of the scale, scope and nature of poverty in Fife and the effectiveness of activity currently undertaken to address such poverty. The Commission will report with recommendations to Fife Council and Fife Partnership by November 2015.
  4. Fostering Information Exchange – George Osborne’s recent post-election budget offered a £30m package to local authorities to pay fees charged by adoption agencies or other councils for finding, assessing and matching an adoptive parent and child.  Its aim is to speed up searches for children in local authority care who are awaiting adoption.  Developed in partnership by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, the Fostering Network, FosterTalk, the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers and the Department for Education this group has over 800 members and uses the forum to share practice and ideas and to discuss new developments.  Again – text book usage of an online community space.
  5. Monmouthshire County Council Safety Advisory Group – a group that includes representatives from the local authority, Police, Fire & Rescue Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service and which exists to provide specialist advice around sports grounds or public events legislation. I’ve included it as a good example of a council using Knowledge Hub to facilitate closed group conversations with external partners in a legislation heavy area where members may have varying levels of expertise.
  6. Scottish Public Sector Digital – I’m including this one as an example of a missed opportunity.  This group was started in 2012 for anyone interested in web and digital development in Scotland and to offer mutual support between Scottish web professionals.  Sadly it hasn’t has any activity since October last year.  I can’t believe the Scottish web community doesn’t have an ongoing need for something like this.
  7. National Mapping Programme – a new group started just this month led by Devon County Council and which provides a forum for all archaeological practitioners working on Historic England’s National Mapping Programme projects.  Demonstrates how groups can be used successfully for very niche topic areas.  I can think of lots of instances where this would be very useful in the public sector.
  8. Local Government Metrology Group – this one is in to demonstrate the breadth of topics our groups cover.  I had to google metrology myself.  It is the “scientific study of measurement” and this group has over 600 local government colleagues who work in this space and offer specialist and expert advice to all members of the UK legal metrology community. Good for them!
  9. Food Standards and Labelling – led by Buckinghamshire County Council and with over 1,400 members this group is a place for Local Authority regulators, Trading Standards and Environmental Health colleagues who wish to exchange information and ideas, seek advice from peers and keep up to date.  It’s one of a number of very busy groups around the whole important Trading Standards and regulation area of local government and great to see Knowledge Hub being used for something so important to us all.
  10. Food Hygiene Forum – I chose this one because it’s an example of a group that’s open to professionals from across the public and private sectors with a common interest in upholding and improving food hygiene.  The group has 2,000 members and provides a forum for exchange of views, ideas and the development of guidance and advice which will benefit both regulators and the food industry.

So that’s my 10.  As I mentioned earlier it’s a small slice of the 1,500 or so groups already there and will give you a flavour of what you can expect to find in Knowledge Hub.  It’s great to see so many niche and useful expert networks emerging.

I’d love to receive any feedback about the Knowledge Hub groups.  If you’re a member of our growing community, please spread the word across your own organisation and networks (especially if your group is one of those featured!) and if you’re one of those people who haven’t yet uploaded your photo – we’re waiting to see you!

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