There’s less than a week to go until LocalGov Digital put on LocalGovCamp and its Fringe events. I thought I’d write a quick post about what the run up has been like and what I’m hoping for from this year’s unconference, hack and summit.

So, the organisation. I’ve been leading on pulling the two-day Birmingham event together on behalf of the group. It’s been pretty hard to fit this in and do it well on top of the day job, rebuilding the LocalGov Digital website and keeping bits going, family and Louder Than War. It’s been really great that other people have helped out – most of all Nick Hill (of PSCSF) who not only stepped in to simplify the practical side but shared and supported with his wealth of event organisation experience.

The other sponsors and partners have been ace too – Phil Rumens partnered with Nesta to organise Friday’s hack event and Sarah Jennings (CapacityGrid) has been working with Jon Foster (FutureGov) on the Friday Leaders’ Summit, including a great line up of speakers.

Like all things LocalGov Digital there is individual effort but the power lies in the collaborative effort and I’ve been thankful to have a great network of people helping me pull the event into shape.

It’s been great to expand the event to two days and try to include aspects in the fringe that reflect the work we’ve done with LocalGov Digital over the last 18 months – practical collaboration to real local government problems with the hack day and helping leaders (both officer and councillor) more confident with the possibilities of digital and service design.

While the Saturday unconference set up is unchanged it’s been nice to be able to add a little touch here and there – I’m really interested to see whether the ‘think different, do different’ area (space in the venue full of creative and crafty tools for simple prototyping or to aid discussion) is used or adds anything positive.

As a seasoned camper has turning organiser changed the way I’m feeling about the event? Both yes and no.

Being the organiser means I feel in many ways I’m forgoing attending camp as a practitioner this time round. I’m prepared to be too busy / too exhausted to join in as much as I usually would as an attendee. As camp is about more than any one person I know this won’t matter much to how vital the day is or the ideas and collaboration that come from it but it has given me pause for thought on value to me personally as well as the council I work for.

However, seeing people start pitching ideas online this weekend has awoken the excitment, and my head and heart are full of the possibilities for the sessions, conversations and activity of next weekend. I’m really glad that I still feel that way about camp.

It’s been a great honour, and a great experience, to be the guardian of this year’s LocalGovCamp 2014 and I, along with the rest of LocalGov Digital, are looking forward to camping with you next weekend.


If you haven’t grabbed a ticket yet details of the day and a link to the last few tickets is on the LocalGov Digital website here.

Follow @localgovcamp and #localgovcamp to see and join the discussion. Don’t forget to follow @localgovdigital too.

The amount I’ve been able to write about music has dropped recently but hopefully I’ll get caught up on the great things I’ve heard over the summer. Check out Louder Than War for my words about music.