Now we’re all settled back into work after Christmas and New Years at Public-i, we have a few new faces to introduce (plus a need to pimp the fact that we are recruiting and so this is a general hello and update.
The new folks to introduce are Mel Stevens (Director of Programmes), Melissa (Helpdesk Assistant) and Hayden Slaughter (Designer). All these new people reflect the way in which we are growing and changing and so it’s great to be able to welcome them all to the team (Roya is also pleased to no longer be the new one).
A lot of people know us as a webcasting company which is fair enough – we stream council meetings for over 70 local authorities and other organisations. We are very proud of our Connect and Connect Social products and the fact that we run a service that people can and do rely on. In fact, we think we’re pretty much the only people around who can provide you with a reliable technical product but can also interpret how technology can and is going to change you as a council and then come up with a plan on how to make the most of this change.
We think we are in a very privileged position to be both service deliverers and innovators. We know what its like to work on some ground breaking projects but we also need that the outcome needs an SLA and complete focus on reliability. We think that our Connect services are perfect examples of our long term interest in how technology can help change the relationships between government and citizens. The webcasting of council meetings is a brilliant example of this but we believe that we need to go much further and we have been developing a much wider range of projects and products to do just that.
Here are some of our current programmes:-
We are really proud of the Networked Councillor research and the member development programme we are piloting first with Suffolk and a number of different places with our partner EELGA. We think it’s a new way to help Members be effective online in a democratic way.
Research and community mapping
We are doing more and more research work with Councils to help them to understand their internal and external networks. We don’t tend to do this in isolation – we are seeing lots of people using this as a way to support the creation of a new digital strategy or a shift in community relationships such as the introduction of a commissioning service. This suits us – we really like research but it has to have a purpose.
We are hugely privileged to be part of the ongoing conversation about how to ensure that the board of NHS England is held to account by the public in a way which is robust but accessible. You can see more on this here and we will be writing more about this as it develops.
We are working with Solihull on a programme called the Social Council. You can read more about it here but this is a programme designed to embed social technologies into the way in which the Council works not only in tech terms but also in terms of culture and behaviour. It’s about working with officers, members and the community to create a whole system change. We are trying to do that through a series of connected projects which are a lot more practical that the abstract idea of the Social
Council. One of the exciting and challenging aspects to the Social Council is that it doesn’t have a pre-defined idea of what its going to look like at the end – our challenge is to make sure that we involve people in creating that destination.
Everything we do is underpinned by our software development both on the webcasting side in the form of Connect and Connect Social and in the democratic engagement arena in the form of Citizenscape. We see the technology as often being part of the glue that brings these big complicated projects together and its vital to get right. At the moment we are working on developing our metrics and measurement tools – we are introducing social network analysis into all our products which we think will help our users measure reach rather than simply counting things – a critical difference.
These are just a few of the things that we are working on so it will not be a surprise that we are currently recruiting. We are looking for people who share our interest and curiosity about how technology can change our society but a practical interest in actually rolling up your sleeves and experimenting with ideas. We are particularly looking for people who might be interested in our research and programme work – projects like the Social Council.
If you share our interest in finding out how technology can make communities work better – if you are interested in joining us please get in touch! You can find out more on this here or you can find us on Twitter @public_i.