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Public-interesting: things we're reading this week 09/08/2011

By August 9, 2011No Comments

This blog post is the second edition of an update that I’m now writing for our staff at Public-i. It’s a summary of what I think is interesting and pertinent to us and what we do. I’m guessing/hoping it might be helpful to our friends and customers, too. Hence, it’s publication in this rather hasty form.

I want (time permitting) to do this relatively regularly, but don’t yet know how regularly. I’m thinking that once I get to five things that are worth sharing I’ll probably post – so that might be every day, every week or every month!

1). Riots: not surprisingly, they are high on people’s list of priorities at the moment. Adrian Short has produced what might be the most interesting perspective on the disturbances, arguing that we need more law-abiding citizens to be on the streets rather than – as the police suggest – locked away at home.

2). Funding cuts: Gavin Wray at Podnosh has produced a valuable precis of the NCVO’s report into the impact of the spending cuts on voluntary organisations. From 2011-2016, the report estimates the voluntary sector will lose £2.8bn.

3). Libraries: It’s interesting that, while the voluntary sector is suffering, in local government it’s being seen as a saviour. Maev Kennedy writes in the Guardian that more and more library services will rely on volunteers for survival. Maev’s report is based on a report published by the Local Government Association – press release here and report here.

4). Open Data: I missed the news (apologies) last week about Open Corporates, run by Chris Taggart. Last week Chris asked his friends to blog on the fact that the website now has more than 20million companies on its lists. You can see more about this here and – thanks to Nick Booth at Podnosh – here.

5). Eric Pickles: The Communities secretary is now decreeing that they should publish a list of public assets.

6). Localism and neighbourhood plans: Nicky Getgood has written on Talk About Local about the Localism Bill. She provides a good summary of the changes it will include for neighbourhood planning. Nicky also talks about the way that digital technologies can be used in these neighbourhood plans.

7). Elections: ZDNet has news that Scotland is trialling an e-counting system for its local government elections next year.

8). Privatisation: This thoughtful piece about the Open public services white paper, published in July, criticises it for open-door privatisation of public services. Its description of the ‘privatisation dilemma’ is well observed.

9). Engagement: Puffbox is pleased that the Department of Health is now using WordPress. You can see Stephen Hale’s blog post about it here.

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