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Title: Web 2.0 and knowledge management for local government in England – A model for the public sector?
Authors: Leask, M
Issue Date: 2009
Abstract: PURPOSE Delivering success in the public and private sector requires staff to have access to the best knowledge possible about how to do their jobs well so a major challenge for employers is how to ensure their staff are making decisions based on the latest knowledge of best practice. 21st century professionals and policy makers are increasingly being required to demonstrate that their practice and decision making is evidence based. This paper examines a new public sector knowledge management initiative across local government in England and Wales which aims to improve knowledge sharing across local government. In response to a number of drivers for improvement, the Improvement and development Agency for local government in England (IDeA) has harnessed web 2.0 tools to support knowledge creation and sharing, and just in time learning to create a professional networking online environment - a ‘Facebook’ type environment for local government. The result is an pnline Communities of Practice for local government initiative <> . DESIGN This initiative was launched across local government in England and Wales in January 2008 and an arrangement with the local government improvement services in Scotland provides similar access to local government officers there. At the time of writing the initiative has over 30,000 members in over 700 online communities with new members joining every day. The knowledge management strategy discussed in this paper was developed following a review of knowledge management literature and an analysis of the specific needs of the local government sector by the Improvement and Development Agency for local government in England. The data reported come from a number of sources including web statistics which are collected automatically and interviews carried out to identify ways in which the initiative is having impact. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS The impact of knowledge management initiatives can be hard to quantify but the paper outlines some proxy measures which give some indication of the value for money of this knowledge management strategy. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS The argument is made that online communities of practice can very quickly provide advantages and significant cost benefits to the public sector in spite of the limitations of the software and the fact that working practices will take many years to change. It is argued that the approach set out in this article provides a model for other public sector organisations. ORIGINALITY/VALUE Knowledge transfer and research impact are areas in England of concern to both government and academics who in the REF 2013 will be judged on the impact of their research This online communities of practice initiative is a new way of knowledge sharing and working across a whole public sector. It has the potential to revolutionise the ways professionals learn and carry on learning as well as the relationships between academics and potential users of research However, the establishing and managing of such an initiative requires national leadership on behalf of a sector.
Appears in Collections:Education
Dept of Education Research Papers

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