ENGAGE: GETTING ON WITH GOVERNMENT 2.0 (DRAFT)
This is good to see. However, I would note that simply anonymising data by stripping names, addresses etc, is insufficient in many cases. Without the use of some privacy protection techniques (of which there are plenty), I suggest that a very significant portion of PSI, such as statistics based on customer records, would be classified as exempt. Having clear guidance on what constitutes an acceptable exemption, as well as how privacy protection methods (aka disclosure control) can be used to create “safe” output will be important.
A factor often forgotten is that the community also creates information that should come into government and be used as government uses PSI.
Too much of the open data focus is outbound (data from gov to community). We also need to open up channels for community to get data to gov.
Note that Gov 2.0 can accelerate traditional policy development purposes by super-charging stakeholder engagement.
However, moving forward, we need to consider new models for policy development that step beyond simply updating existing models.
These new models may provide highly effective ways to deliver better policy outcomes.
Without experimenting with new approaches, we will remain trapped in 20th Century thinking.
We need to see a ‘how to run a mash-up competition’ guide come out of this event to aid departments in running future successful events.
How can states be encouraged to follow the Federal lead? Where federal data is open, but states keep it restricted we have a highly unstable situation – particularly politically.
State and local government generate a great deal of government data, particularly geospatial. They will need to align with a federal open data position for Australia to realise the full economic benefits.
Support for Info-philanthropy would be fantastic. There is a lot of time and money invested into Gov 2.0 outside of Government and whilst this remains unsupported as philanthropy donation supported initiatives are impossible.
Who will manage this central portal?
The Office of the Information Commissioner?
A recommendation should be made in the report.
This would be a major step forward. However there may be some Crown Copyright works which should not be automatically re-licensed as Creative Commons BY.
There needs to be a mechanism for Departments to request that publications, on an individual basis, not be reclassified.
Might be best to model this as a wiki rather than a ‘forum’. Forums are for discussion, wikis are for information organisation and retention.
Regularly should be defined – annually would be an appropriate timeframe given the speed of online change.
The Open Government Declaration should be made by the Prime Minister and enforced to all Departments, similar to the approach being successfully undertaken in the US.
The listed agencies are largely admin or policy based. It is crucial that agencies with a high degree of ongoing community interaction are also included as their needs differ from policy agencies.
Empowerment is useless without education and structure.
There’s nothing more scary than allowing 100,000 public servants to participate online without adequate education, guidance and support!
We need to establish a whole-of-APS education process to support all levels of public servants understanding their responsibilities and how online participation works.
We also need to have mandate that all agencies must have social media policies in place by a certain date (just like they must have OH&S policies in place). A template policy could be provided based on the APSC guidelines to make this easier to get through Departmental approval processes.
I think there needs to be clear targets agencies agree to over several years to lower barriers.
Without targets any plans to reduce impacts of barriers are impossible to measure to determine whether agencies have really been successful or are simply claiming success..
I would prefer to see several ‘lead’ agencies taking on roles around different aspects of Gov 2.0. These should also be agencies using Gov 2.0 in their day-to-day activities to ensure that they provide practical rather than theoretical leadership.
For example, a lead agency for open data (maybe the ABS or Geosciences), a lead for consultation (a policy department), a lead for community engagement (a customer service department) and so on.
As the different areas loosely grouped under Gov 2.0 require different skillsets and approaches, placing them all under a single lead agency would both place a larger burden on that agency to support a cross-section of skills that may not be directly relevant to the agency’s day-to-day operations and runs the risk of placing all the Gov 2.0 eggs in a single basket.
@Stephen – I hear all of what you are saying and more. But when it comes down to it, the use of social media based tools are less likely to be used for service delivery than they are for targeted communications.
If we are to view these tools for what they are (which is nothing more than new communications tactics) then they should be planned for and used as such, which means they need to be managed by qualified communicators who have the capability to deliver concise, timely and structured messages.
In this instance ITSC provide access to the channels, not the solution. My quote on this subject is always: “Media outlets dont let their printers dictate what the news will be and when it is delivered”. (ref: unknown spokesman)
@Mike – again it comes down to the strategic use of the most appropriate channel. If it involves confidential data, then of course the use of localised services is a prefered message delivery strategy. But not all government information to be distributed is confidential or requires confidential interaction.
Cultural change like this has to come from the top. Ministers, Parl Secs, and Executive level staff need to engage more than most. Many willing “engagers” are stymied by those at the top of the food chain.
The metadata data model is quite an old definition of RDF. It is more correctly a general method for machine-readable conceptual description or modeling of information and knowledge representation.
This doesn’t quite match the W3C definition. Fundamentally, the Semantic Web is a web of data. It provides “a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries”. A key missing word is intelligent software agents.
After paragraph 788, insert definition for Web 3.0 as a synonym for Semantic web.
Open Office XML -> Office Open XML
@Geoff Mason, you cannot ignore paragraph 652. You cannot simply gloss over the fact that when you put something on Facebook you agree to submit to the personal jurisdiction of the courts located in Santa Clara County, California and agree to personal information being transmitted to the United States.
If I’m making a submission to a public inquiry in Australia, I want my personal information protected by the Privacy Act with the full force of Australian courts behind it.
There is also a lot of repetition.
“important for agencies to use open file formats” – use of ODF should be mandatory for general office applications.
“cultural change in the APS” – not all government employees are APS.
Minor typo: Europen -> European.
I think the engagement to be encouraged should explicitly include 3 other broad categories:
- engagement within government agencies
- engagement within government services but between agencies and
-engagement between levels of government – ie so professionals at middle levels in State and Commonwealth public services engage, not just waiting for the big COAG style agendas
‘Data provided on the primary PSI site…should be provided in full compliance with WCAG.’
Applying WCAG to PSI data provision may be a misapplication of the guidelines, which AFAIK apply primarily to web content, web pages, user interfaces, and the like.
Whilst the means by which someone may ‘access’ or discover the metadata about a dataset on the web should be subject to WCAG2 (the shiny front-end of data.gov.au, for example), a raw dataset should be held to alternative standards (e.g. non-propietary, primary, machine-processible, etc.).
Applying WCAG to a CSV file containing thousands upon thousands of records would make full compliance nearly impossible, even though the data may, strictly speaking, still be Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust.
If a dataset is regarded as a web page, web content, or a user interface, all well and good. If not, then this recommendation (along with the requirement to maintain associated accessibility statements on data.gov.au) may need some revision.
Computers have only become entrenched in day to day government activities for the last 20 or so years and in some specialised scientific areas for maybe 40 years. This means there is another 60-80 years worth of PSI that exists only on paper, like the historic newspapers. There should be a recommendation for proactive scanning and digitisation by OCR of historic PSI still on paper and open this to public error correction. For example Hansard or Royal Commissions prior to the 1980s.
The Taskforce should recommend that PSI be created in open formats where possible, i.e. use ODF as standard for general word processing instead of DOC. The national governments of Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, France, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia and South Africa, and many more regional/state governments and municipalities around the world, have mandated the use of ODF (ISO 26300) and PDF/A (ISO 19005) for reading, publishing and information exchange.
open standards, open source software and open formats
Second point should be “based on open standards and open file formats”.
Second point should be “based on open standards and open file formats”.
Not all government employees are public servants. This also doesn’t take into account that a fair amount of “implementation” has been outsourced to private contractors.
Good point. There are also government employees who are not public servants.
@ Mike Nelson – It is reliant on the models and strategies used to communicate – each of these channels are just another tactic and in a professional sense, and in a governance sense, there is no justification for AU Government not to distribute key messages on overseas servers. For example, NSW police use twitter to distribute information to their target audiences and conduct the actual dialogue using traditional methods. Outright thinking of US Vs THEM will greatly the limit the opportunities of this media and reduces the capacity to work collaboratively. Strategic use of any communication channel to better support the AU public should not be overlooked.
Culture and purpose play a part in whether collaboration has a tough or easy path, so I’m not surprised that education might demonstrate more of the required behaviours than other agencies. Professional and consulting firms often do well with knowledge and information management activities for the same reason. For the rest of us – there is no ‘build it and they will come’ with collaboration. Collaboration is an outcome that delivers various benefits – an organisation needs to understand how to identify, encourage and embed the behaviours that drive it.
Re culture – web 2.0 can’t be overlaid on existing processes or shoe-horned into current procedures. It requires a rethink of roles, and purpose, and relationships. Interesting article from David Block on civic engagement and the concept of community – http://www.asmallgroup.net/pages/images/pages/CES_jan2007.pdf
There is also an opportunity to include stronger compliance measures with the Commonwealth electronic record keeping standard to ensure that transfer of records to the National Archive can occur in a timely, tecnologically efficient manner.
This will need to be supported by training to help change the culture in the public sector. Transparency is not our default position…
Perhaps move away from the bureaucratic term “guidance” and recognise the role of the agency in “inspiring” and “motivating” good practice?
Yes, it should be coordinated. Whichever agency does it, there should be strong “consumer” involvement in the development and implementation of plans.
Great to see the understanding of the need and value of robust professional discussion.
Acil Tasman did a study of the economic value to Australia were we to release PSI on behalf of the Spatial Information Industry Association. Alan Smart gave a presentation on it at my “local 2020 summit” leading up to the 2020 Summit. Here is the event link: http://tomw.net.au/moodle/course/view.php?id=9
Here are the links to the video recording, slide show and specific recommendations endorsed on the day:
This is why it is extremely dangerous to be using commercial third party sites like Facebook and Twitter to get feedback on public policy. They may have the name and critical mass but they are outside Australian law and making a copy of something on those sites if you need it as a “record” could actually be a breach of copyright!
Interactive media is all well and good, but it must not be on commercial sites outside Australia. The Facebooks and Twitters of the world are not subject to Australian law.
The COAG treatment makes sense as a fair amount of PSI resides in state government agencies. Ideally all should work to the same set of technical standards. We don’t want a repeat of the railway gauge problem.
International collaboration it essential, including greater involvement in W3C and ISO processes. Otherwise we will just end up reinventing the wheel or come up with something incompatible with the rest of the world.
data.gov.au is an excellent idea. The recommendation should note that any PSI made available through such a portal must have metadata in RDF. AGLS is the obvious standard to use.
WCAG 2.0 is a complete dog’s breakfast. Intellectually interesting but impossible to implement in the real world. Compliance is not complex, it is outright impossible!
To enable an individual to protect themselves against incorrect information held about them the Office of the Information Commissioner should develop guidelines to allow individuals access to their own information in an electronic form. Guidelines should be established to allow individuals to correct any incorrect factual information.
The second recommendation contains a self contradiction: it recommends that an existing agency should be appointed lead agency, but does not say which and the proposes coordination amongst a long shopping list of agencies.
See thoughts on cultral change blurb at start of document. (Maybe I should have posted it down here!!)
The Government 2.0 lead agency to establish an online forum on which agencies can record their initiatives, lessons learned, source and share documentation and enable networking amongst online focused Government employees.
The report is an unfortunate combination of hard to read bureaucratic writing and hard to read web formatting. The task force needs to work out on exactly what it is trying to say and then say it, briefly and clearly. The ANU has asked me to prepare a course on “Electronic Data Management” (COMP7420 ) for servants in 2010 addressing many of these issues.
Overarching thought of cultural change:
Although the report addresses a number of issues and provides some great recommendations for moving forward. Government however is still facing the major challenge of managing a fast moving environment, such is 2.0 communication, with an executive which is risk adverse and a bureaucracy entrenched in process rather than achieving results.
Which is great for the old school delivery of services, but hinders an ability to shift with client needs and requirements. As government client demographics change, a more technologically sophisticated public moves in and has an expectation of services which mirror the services of private industry.
In order to create, engage and enhance government relationships with ANY of its publics Government has an obligation to strategically plan for and deliver communications which are targeted and provide accurate information when and where our publics want it.
It’s all about the data:
To achieve this, as any private agency who is currently managing social media or 2.0 intiatives will tell you, access to up to date and consistent data channels is required. Currently individual government agencies often have their hands tied accessing current data sets or client profiles due internal processes for managing research needs. Often by the time business cases are completed and research proposals are written, the data may be out of date or no longer suited to a particular solution.
To improve this, an open channel or better access to profiles of interest groups in Australia (sourced through the ABS maybe?) may increase an agencies capability to deliver strategically placed and timely communications.
Each recommendation has been summarised. However, each reads as if it was a summary of all the recommendations. I suggest the report have one simple summary of recommendations, not one summary for each recommendation.
The note in brackets can be omitted , as it seems to be saying that the summary is a summary, which is a tautology and that for details you need to see the document the summary was prepared from (which is another tautology).
The esoteric heading “What’s in a name?” and discussion of the meaning of the word word “engage” is not useful. The report would be better with a clear and direct statement about the purpose of the report and the main recommendations.
SA Government are trialling an online tool that assists young people to share ideas and work collaboratively. Technology is so ingrained in Gen Y’s/X’s social environment, it was inevitable that it became a comfortable fit in the work environment.
For some generations, it may also be hard to understand that working collaboratively through an online medium is effective, it could be seen as ’socialising’ and ‘wasting time.’ While twitter and blogs are breaking down barriers, it may take a while for web 2.0 to be accepted as part of the norm.
So long as the lead agency does not become a bottleneck in the evolution of interactive media.
AGIMO has been in the position of being the exponent for eGovernment, however has not always been fully resourced to fully stay abreast and keep agencies abreast of the rapid changes in the space. This isn’t a failing by AGIMO or its funding model, it’s a recognition that digital change is now so fast that leadership itself must be crowdsourced.
A suggested additional paragraph after 642
While personal information must be protected it is should be available to the individual concerned. This principle is embodied in the government’s own privacy principles. To ease access and help build a climate of trust and cooperation agencies should be encouraged to make personal information available to the individual in an electronic form.
As someone who has worked with DSD’s rules, the PSM and ACSI33, I’d suggest that a very strong hand needs to be taken in ensuring any guidance that does emerge isn’t overly onerous, restrictive or heavy handed.
DSD does a great job in what it does, but it has a tendency to consider worst case first and define guidelines from that basis. I realise that’s its job, but what happens is agency security staff get their hands on such guidance and interpret literally and restrictively.
As Kate notes above, DSD rules can be so restrictive they prevent public servants from having access to the tools the public themselves use and expect the public sector might also use.
Very much, the existing rules for public servant conduct already address the vast majority of situations that will be encountered. It is only for extreme edge cases where national security classified material may be at risk that DSD guidance ought to be required
I think even hinting that use of social tools is an ICT problem is fraught with terrible risk. Inevitably, by couching it this way it becomes an “IT problem” and pushed off there, bereft of adequate funding and in the hands of the wrong people entirely (and I consider myself an ICT person).
Nor do I think that “strategic communications” units nor anything like them (the other half of what I am) should have carriage of this responsbility. They are equally the wrong people entirely.
It is a difficult question as to exactly who should, but it is neither of these areas of responsibility alone, nor in concert. Perhaps for the first time, we have a responsibility that truly lies with entire agencies and their entire staff bodies with the agency head owning ultimate responsibility. But help us if guidance on these tools and their use become the responsibility of a committee somewhere in an organisation, because then, nothing will ever happen.
@simonfj you seem to be making the assumption in many of your comments that the Taskforce will continue to exist beyond 31 December. We already know this is unlikely to be the case, and that business as usual carriage of the actions from this report will be distributed amongst several agencies.
There is an inherent risk in that approach, which is why (I assume) the Taskforce recommends a lead agency. But it won’t be the Taskforce (more’s the pity).
The work the public service does serves not only citizen, but also many others.
The term “citizen” is used too often and it sometimes unintentionally excludes those who are not citizens, yet are recipients or users of the services the public sector provides.
GovHack was a great success at showing that the AU Govt is behind such efforts, and that these efforts can yield grand results.
Engaging interactive and film schools would garner participation at the content creation core.
Completely agree with Simon, also in some cases state governments are leaps and bounds ahead of federal in the 2.0 sphere. The experience alone could be of great benefit to federal government iniatives, let alone the ability to partner up based on subject matter.
I personally agree with your point, and think that we should go for many more ‘federal’ bodies like the NCC and now the CRC. I think we should consider this for lots of co-ordination services governments have – I think regulation review bodies should be like this, and if the states would agree one could do it for Ombudsman type services, commissions of various kinds – even if they administered somewhat different legislation. But I’ve been suggesting it for a while without traction. In the meantime, regarding this agenda, as you’ve seen we’re proposing giving it the COAG treatment, out of which there could come something like that for Govt 2.0, but I think that’s something I’d see being articulated after the decision was made to accept our recommendation that this should be a national agenda.
I note that DSD generally does not approve government use of iphones because there is some security deficiency. As more innovative and media-rich PDAs enter the market, it is helpful in a cultural sense that our public servants use with confidence and familiarity the same tools that citizens may well be using to access government services online. Can this security deficiency be fixed?
I like how this section reflects on the collaborative style of the open source community and presents evidence of where the same approach can produce very good outcomes elsewhere. While no single agency or organisation can ever claim to be the sole authority: govt can create an authoritative space where those interested, with expertise and/or experience can openly collaborate to achieve real outcomes. Very exciting. Begin experimenting.
Some of that advice is contained in the deliverables from Taskforce project 8, which Headshift is completing.
While it is important for IT resources to be involved in the planningand maintenance of 2.0 technologies, at the core of these applicationsis communication. For this reason it may beneficial to emphasize theimportance of the role strategic communications units have in drivingthe use, managing and ownership of these new channels as they arise.Most importantly ownership, if agencies are to these tools to improvehow we better serve the Australian public, they need to be empowered todevelop and implement strategic communications strategies and not behindered by antiquated IT approaches taken by a number of ITSC units ingovernment. It may also be beneficial for communications units to do more thanworkshop grey issues but to run test cases around those issues anddevelop plans for monitoring worst case scenarios. 2.0 technologiesallow information to spread like wild fire and without a solidunderstanding of how monitor issues which arise in this new arena, theywill neither be accountable for the spread of information nor thecorrection of misinformation.
Whilst the adoption of web 2.0 has certain productivity advantages, it’s take up has been sporadic due to the 2 major concerns – Security and Education. There are always going to be malware, trojan and social engineering attacks on content, but a bigger concern is how to educate users on the identification of suspect links and man-in-the-browser attacks. What measures will be taken to ensure the integrity of content being presented to users and how will users be better educated to protect themselves from fraudulent activity.
Members (citizens in & out) should have a set time/week to experiment with social networking. There should be a civil space set aside. N.B we are not trying to taech people about tools. We are trying to make them feel they are on the same side. so they (initially) need a common space to understand the culture.
The APSC in consultation with the lead TF to regularly review online practices and tools and compare results. ie.e number of citizens (inside and outside the PS) participating.
The lead TF to establish an online forum in which members from different agencies can identify their peers and collaborate in choosing tools, building strategy, etc.
The gov 2 lead taskforce must be the leading exponent of interactive media in public inquiries
All public inquiries funded by australian government should … require that all should be advertised on the aph.gov site (a la Scots parliamentary site), submissions are open and linked to a place to discuss them, in a fixed online environment (a domain) which can be shared with other .gov.au inquiries). Sumissions must capable of being uploaded in any format.
One thing missing – choosing the tools. Govdex and edna have proved that just putting up tools and expecting collaboration to happen is wasteful. This is something the edu space can do better than those in .gov.
No mention of the moderation skills required. This need has been felt in the edu space for about a decade now, so although embrionic they are there.
Make it easy for the agencies. Every project should be a collaboration between agencies. (try and stop using ’service delivery’ all the time. We don’t need delivery men, we need negotiators)
I think there should be some attempt to get past the federal silo mentality here. Inclusion of one member from each state would seem mandatory if we are trying to change the ‘level of gov ‘culture. Let’s face it the states have more influence here. They need to be seen to be collaborating.
No mention of international collaboration with this english speaking group (although it’s inferred). Important to mention Aussie’s non inclusion in the UK, US & Can Digital Engagement TF conferences.
No mention that PSers of tommorrow are being educated on social networking tools and have a global perspective whereas older PSers are sceptical. i.e. edu practices leads gov. practices
…………….. the invitation to engage is an invitation to citizens to participate; to be involved in understanding their mutual governance and the design of how things, and when things, will be done.
This demands a new, more inclusive, culture within our federated governments; one which is broader in their policy’s development, collaborative in their agency’s nature and pro active in their implementation.
Engagement between those citizens inside and outside the federation of public services…………..
The permanent URL for Lobby Lens is http://lobbylens.info/
The Spatial Data Access and Pricing Policy hyperlink here is broken. I believe the new location of that policy is http://www.osdm.gov.au/OSDM/Policies+and+Guidelines/Spatial+Data+Access+and+Pricing/default.aspx
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