#OurDay - supporting our communities through online collaboration

It’s that time of year again when a day in the life of working and volunteering in public service is celebrated. That’s right, it’s #OurDay, the annual 24-hour tweetathon where organisations and individuals across the public sector tweet using #OurDay to share the great work they are doing to support our communities.

#OurDay is just one day that showcases this work being carried out in our communities every day by public sector organisations, the voluntary sector and partners. We know that there are lots of great examples of this happening every day on Knowledge Hub too, and to help celebrate #OurDay we wanted to highlight how our members are working together.

From improving project delivery, discussing planning legislation and connecting teachers, to delivering leadership courses, tackling obesity and promoting local heritage, whatever your role is, there’s a group for you to join and colleagues to connect with.

Here is just a selection of groups where members are collaborating online to improve public services by connecting with colleagues, sharing knowledge and practice, and saving valuable time and effort.

 

Improving our schools through teacher professional development…

The Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT) use Knowledge Hub to support their work with schools in England. They provide professional development programmes for schools and use online groups as a way for teachers to obtain programme information, share ideas and resources, interact with each other, and discuss practice and issues.

SSAT firmly believe in the power of social learning and online collaboration to enrich the learning experience for teachers. Lead facilitator, Glyn Barritt who is SSAT’s Social Learning Manager says:

“The online platform also helps to uphold the quality of our professional development programmes at a time when teachers are finding it more difficult to come out of school to attend face to face meetings. Posting and sharing resources, ideas, news and views offers an enrichment to our professional development programmes and a means for programme participants to interact between their face to face commitments.

Having a central repository for programme resources is hugely beneficial and avoids issues of their going astray in long lists of emails and/or problems with large file sizes.”
 
Improving the safety of events delivered in our communities…
 
The Teignbridge District Council Safety Advisory Group (TSAG) is for event managers and organisers within Teignbridge to share information and documentation. The group includes members from Teignbridge, other councils, and partners from the emergency services.
 
For those working in health and safety, public safety, and highways management, the group enables them to upload a document once and for it to be shared for all members to access regardless of the organisation they are from. Peter Wilson, Corporate Health & Safety Advisor at Teignbridge District Council, facilitates the group and says:
 
“The group is primarily used as a place to share documents for all members to access and use, to help event organisers work together and plan the events safely. Members can quickly and easily upload all documents for an event in the group library, and share additional documentation relevant to all partners involved without having to send multiple and time-consuming emails.

It’s a logical system and provides a secure and highly efficient way for us to manage notified events. It supports the work that we do by providing an information and documentation system. It provides an efficient information sharing forum for Teignbridge and some councils have followed our approach and set up their own safety advisory groups.”

Find out more about the Teignbridge District Council Safety Advisory Group (sign in required).

Improving surface water flow and drainage solutions…

The Local Authority SuDs Officer Organisation group is for all local authority offices involved in sustainable drainage systems. With over 300 members, the group is used to store documentation, discuss practice, and communicate with all local authorities in an effective and efficient way.

The group has helped to avoid duplication by saving documents in one place making it quick and easy for members to locate. Bronwyn Buntine is a Sustainable Drainage Team Leader at Kent County Council and group facilitator, and says:

“Knowledge Hub is a great tool for facilitating and engaging active communities. We set up our own group as an informal professional association. There are a lot of officers in the same role across England, who may be part of a larger team but also who operate singularly. Having a place for each officer to go to and ask questions and share answers has been helpful and generates greater confidence in the level of your response.

We use the forum to ask other authorities questions, such as “how have you responded to X query?” and “has anyone seen X problem before?”. The forum promotes consistency across the local government community and is a wider source of professional information.”

Find out more about the Local Authority SuDs Officer Organisation group (sign in required).
 

Improving the enforcement of debt collection across the country…

The Local Authority Civil Enforcement Forum (LACEF) group has been using Knowledge Hub to share advice and best practice on local authority debt collection since 2012. Being the largest community of local authority debt and revenue collectors, members resolve many queries by posting questions in the group’s discussion forum, while building a consistent approach to debt collection.

Barrie Minney is a Senior Enforcement Agent at Brighton & Hove City Council, and leads the LACEF group. He encourages members to keep in touch, share advice and practice, discuss issues, and says:

“Typical questions include asking other local authorities how they have dealt with a particular issue, for example companies who are trying to avoid paying business rates or chasing debtors abroad. Often the shared experience of members saves local authorities many thousands of pounds. The group helps to bring local authorities together to deal with these issues.

Feedback from LACEF members is that the group is brilliant and beneficial. One of the best things that happens is when a query results in immediate clarification of a perceived difficult problem. You can almost sense the sigh of relief!”

Find out more about the LACEF group.

 

Improving the quality and use of addressing and street data…

The Geoplace Authority Contacts group is a trusted community for local authority members to share best practice advice on addressing and street data. The group is used to connect members and help them in their day to day work, through asking questions, getting advice from peers, and sharing information.

With over 860 members, Melissa Whittle who is the Engagement Co-ordinator at GeoPlace LLP, uses the group almost every day in her group facilitation role to answer members’ queries and give advice. She says:

“Our group has changed the way we work, mainly in terms of communicating with our members and greatly reduced the use of email. For me the best thing that happens in our group is when someone asks a question, they receive a really creative solution, say thank you, and go and implement it right away. Having someone else across the country, who they would not have had access to normally and has been able to help, is great.  

It's improved our communications 100% and improved our relationships with our community. Without our KHub group, we wouldn’t have instant two-way communication for all of our community to see. I would not have such a good connection with our community as I do now.” 

Find out more about the Geoplace Authority Contacts Group (sign in required).

 

Improving the regulation of fireworks and explosives…

The Fireworks Enforcement Liaison Group (FELG) brings trading standards authorities and fire authorities together to develop a consistent approach to enforcing regulation in the UK. The group creates an important link between the two services which aims to disseminate information on legislation of fireworks and explosives.

With boundaries removed, they can easily identify where there are inconsistencies in the implementation of explosive regulations. Rob Nowak is the Petroleum Explosives Supervisor at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, and as group facilitator says:

“Sharing what we are doing has improved and increased our knowledge base, providing us with a way to tap into knowledge and access relevant documents as soon as they become available.

The group supports my work a lot within the fire service and licensing authority, particularly when it comes to new legislation. I can see both sides of the issues from a trading standards point of view and as a licensing authority, and fill in the gaps. It’s an important role in the UK.”

Find out more about the Fireworks Enforcement Liaison Group (sign in required).

 

Be a part of the celebration – follow #OurDay and share your public service story.

Search for Knowledge Hub groups to join (sign in required).

 

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