What has Bruce been up to in the first half of 2019?

Napier

When What outcome and notes
December to early January marking Work-based learning mid-year reports Success: Marking was done, including handling students’ queries, and writing and delivering a presentation on how I will mark final reports.
January PB in Brazil: whether and how PB benefits the very poor in Sao Paulo work on a paper was stalled for ages. It took until late June to get a focus-group transcribed. Translation is to follow…
February to May running WriteNow! sessions on Wednesday afternoons
  • success! 95% of writing goals met; 23,720 words written (579 per session per attendee)
  • failure: I wasn’t paid for this. Even though the initiative was strongly appreciated by participants from other schools, the feedback on the funding bid was ‘schools should do this themselves.’
February onwards RIVAL: 4 networking events in 2019-2020 for Library and Information Scientists and practitioners See project website for details.
March onwards GCRF map/database The Scottish Funding Council wants a map of all of the GCRF projects it funds. Image of possible look-and-feel is here awaiting contract-signature
February, May Internal examiner for 3 BIT MSc students All three passed. (Credit belongs to the students and their supervisors!)
April-May Writing RFC funding applications
  • Information avoidance in diabetes (PI: Gemma)
  • LitRev paper with Leandro (PI: Colin)
  • examination of Todd’s data (PI: Laura – she wrote this bid)
May Marking Computing in Contemporary Society courseworks Work was done.
June Marking Work-based learning final reports work in progress

 

Elsewhere

January onwards minuting meetings between Community Councils Together on Trams and Edinburgh Council’s Trams Team better citizen-involvement?
September 2018 onwards  member of £eith Chooses steering group Success! See website. Survey on possible improvements due to close soon.
since time immemorial minutes and websites for three Edinburgh community councils: Leith CentralLeith Harbour & NewhavenNew Town & Broughton Success, I think: better recording and publicising of hyperlocal government activities
ongoing taking part in various democracy events, e.g. practical democracy project, Democracy Alive Some better understanding of what various bodies are doing to improve democracy. I’m not sure how effective they will be, or what my role should be.
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Developing new ways to study information literacy: examples from the workplace context and among youth

This workshop was presented by Professor Gunilla Widén(@gunillawiden) to members of Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Social Informatics. This post is based on my live-tweets and the text of Gunilla’s slides, so the good things here are from Gunilla, and any mistakes are by me. My thoughts are in block quotes. Continue reading

Deliberative Innovation: Research and Practice

This afternoon I was at a seminar on Deliberative Innovation: Research and Practice at Edinburgh University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. This was presented by Oliver Escobar and Stephen Elstub, and chaired by Sara Drury. It was great to to meet and learn from Oliver, Stephen, Sara, some of Sara’s students from Wabash College and others in a very varied gathering.

As usual, this post is mostly composed of my tweets, slightly edited for comprehensibility. Larger amendments and additions are in [square brackets]. The block-quotes are my thoughts.

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Initial lessons for Scottish PB (updated)

This is an update of a post from my first week in São Paulo, with input from my much better half. Mistakes of course are my fault, not hers.

  • If we don’t get PB right first time, people will lose confidence in it.
    • In this lesson, right can be replaced with good enough, because nothing is perfect, and Scotland is just learning to do PB.
    • This lesson means we need effective processes so that people know they have made the choices.
    • It also means that what is promised must be delivered near enough on time and near enough on budget.
      • This should happen in any context, no matter how much (or how little) money is involved.
      • We can argue about what near enough means at appropriate points.
  • Projects must be monitored as they proceed.
    • Also, due diligence/monitoring must happen at the end of project periods.
    • And that data must be analysed to see what is effective.
    • There should also be the possibility of discontinuing projects if it turns out that they are unlikely to be delivered, or if the benefits can be delivered in better ways, or if an urgent need arises for the money allocated to the project.
      • But this must be done transparently, and must not even appear to be party-political.
  • Don’t rely on revenue forecasts, because what is forecast may not materialise!
  • Annual cycles, i.e. projects that must be started and completed in a year, may be sub-optimal.
  • LeithChooses’ 2018 turnout (1000/20,000 = 5%) is good.
  • The current Scottish model of PB should have a deliberation stage before projects are formulated.
    • At the moment, PB process-runners (e.g.LeithChooses steering group) set themes, then invite projects.
    • The Brazilian model involves participatory deliberation on what the themes should be.
  • There should be some data gathered on who participates.
    • This is to show whether PB schemes are truly participatory, and whether they attract votes from people who need the services PB would offer.
  • Don’t build up an unhelpful bureaucracy around PB.
    • This may lead to clashes between parts of the bureaucracy that support different aims and objectives.
    • While spending money to create and perfect process is valid, wasting it on un-neccessary process is invalid, and puts people off the work.

Scottish Open Government Action Plan: launch event #OpenGovScot #OpenGovScotLAUNCH #OpenGov

I’ve been a mostly-quiet member of the Open Government Network Scotland for about two years. I’ve not done much, just quietly supported the idea that if we have access to facts and ideas, we can make more informed, and hence better, decisions. However, in December I spent a weekend proofreading a late draft of the new Open Government Action Plan, so I was delighted to be invited to this morning’s launch of the finished document.

As ever, this post is to consolidate and review my thinking and learning, as well as to share it. So errors and omissions in this account are mine.

Here is the agenda for the day. My tweets, thoughts and write-up follow it.

9:30 Official Launch (Livestreamed): Welcome speeches by, then Q&As with, co-chairs of Open Government Steering Group:

  • Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Michael Russell
  • Member of the Open Government Partnership International Steering Committee, Lucy McTernan
  • COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) – Cllr Graham Houston, Vice President
10:30 Break
10:50 Workshop: Delivering the Action Plan in partnership and beyond

Group discussion questions: How do we work in partnership?
How do you want to be involved? How can government and civil society/third
sector work collaboratively together? How might this work? How do we take
this forward?
Table 1: financial transparency
Table 2: participation and public involvement
Table 3: access to information
Table 4: being more accountable
Table 5: transparency on Brexit

12:15 Closing remarks – Stephen Gallagher, Director of Local Government
12:30 Lunch and networking

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