Here at Public-i we have been looking forward to one of the most important events for us, the LGA Conference, since January. As ever, a lot of this is about the basics of us being there – from working out where the stand will be (you’ll see us in our usual spot, R18), to what the message on the stand will be about, the logistics of setting up, to who stays where. Most importantly, of course, we’ll be thinking about what we are going to eat each night (a tougher decision than you might think).
But now, with only six weeks left until the conference starts on the 26th June, we are putting the finishing touches to what we will be talking to delegates about – most importantly the launch of our new product, Connect Social, and the marketing activity around the re-branding of Public-i.
Connect Social is the culmination of a long and hard development process, in which our client base has had lots of input via our user group meetings. It includes lots of lovely new features and functionality (including around member profiles, which will be of great relevance to the LGA delegates). We’ll be telling you more about it soon, but as Catherine explained back in March, it includes more sophisticated interaction and user-management tools than the standard Connect platform and will offer more flexibility in terms of interactivity and social sharing.
We recently adopted a responsive design (you can read a blog post from our Development Manager Ady Coles on this here) to our user interface and will be showing the results of this and the brand new design of our clients’ Connect sites on the stand.
As well as launching Connect Social and showing off the exciting new designs, LGA offers us the chance to meet old friends, network with others and start to build a pipeline for our products. It’s also a great opportunity to keep abreast of the latest innovation from other companies working within the public sector. This year I will have a delegate pass and so will be able to attend the plenary sessions and some of the workshops. Those that stand out for me are:-
- Leading Localism: the elected mayor’s view (Tuesday 26th) – It’s a very topical subject and something we discussed at our March user group, it will be interesting to hear the debate around the public response to the elections, but also plans for further decentralisation of power
- Civil Disturbances: 10 months on are we doing enough to prevent further disorder in the future? (Wednesday 27th) – The session will examine the recommendations made by the Communities and Victims Panel’s reports on the impact and reasons for the riots but I’m wondering if the session will go further by looking at the role of social media in the disturbances and also the collaborative approach councils and police forces took in managing the communication around them
- Self Improvement: More than an add-on (Thursday 28th) – I’m interested to learn more about how the sector can develop a culture of openness and transparency to the public and, as a provider of technological solutions to help our clients address exactly this problem, see whether we can help with any other innovations!
- The plenary session on Thursday, Preparing for Police and Crime Commissioners, is also a must. Having a number of police authorities as clients means we have been doing a lot of thinking about digital engagement for the new office (see here) as well as the impact this potentially powerful democratically elected post may have on the political landscape
We will be doing lots exciting things from the conference itself (blogging, tweeting etc) so watch this space and we look forward to seeing you at the conference soon.