Monday, August 17, 2009

Government 2.0 task force first public meeting

The Government 2.0 taskforce held the first of its public consultation meetings in Canberra today at 4:35pm. This followed a non-public meeting at AGIMO. About 200 people packed into the ABS conference room. We were handed a piece of paper summarising the issues the task force is looking at. Unfortunately the paper did not include a web address for the task force or of the document. It was apparent that most of the people in the room were public servants. It will be interesting to see the level and nature of comments in other locations.

The task force has a seemingly impossible task. In addition to the mechanics of how the government might use the web, it has to change what the government does. The aim seems to be to use the web to facilitate organisational change, with more open and participatory government.

I suggest the task force needs to:
  1. Learn how to consult and develop policy proposals online: One of the lessons of the success of the Internet is that you need to use the technology to make a success of it. If the task force was to work out how to work online it would then be in a position to provide credible advice to the government on how to do that more widely. Senator Lundy's Public Sphere process
  2. Separate open policy from web mechanics: The issues of open government and consultation are not dependent on the use of the web. The task force needs to separate the two issues. The government could use the web to conduct business as usual. The government could also be more open and consultative without the web.
  3. Detail current process: Before proposing a new web based system for government, the task force needs to examine the current government process and any deficiencies. They can then propose where Government/Web 2.0 could improve the process. There is already extensive government policy and procedures on the use of the Internet and web for government (I wrote some of them). It would be worthwhile seeing if these are implemented and if they were implemented, how much of the Government 2.0 agenda would be achieved, without additional work being needed.

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