#quangocamp – a govcamp for the rest of us?

So despite my promise to myself not to get involved in any more events at least during the first half of 2011 I was struck by an idea while attending #ukgc11. Well to be honest it was the bubbling up of an old idea and an evolution of something I’ve spoken to a few people about quite recently.

Basically there are a whole bunch of us who don’t quite fit in with central gov, are a long way from local gov and also don’t quite click with the events in higher education, museums or the charity sector. For the sake of this blogpost (and maybe event) I’m going to reclaim the term ‘quango’ and make it a positive rather than the focus of scorn it so often seems to be! My definition for the sake of this is wide and entirely non exclusive it just starts with those that survived the ‘bonfire’ and builds from there πŸ™‚

I *think* we have alot of common concerns and maybe (just maybe) they lean toward the more practical end of the govcamp discussions. Finding ways to do better with less (including maybe open source or shared services), making use of the social web in a useful but risk managed way, better understanding analytics to demonstrate impact and make better decisions, the whole agile and product management agenda(s), dealing with the demands of the COI, coping with crazy procurement rules and just generally sharing experiences – good and bad – as well as contacts, tips, schemes and the rest of the traditional barcamp craziness are just a few things I thought of off the top of my head.

I might of course be completely wrong (and in some ways that would be a relief!). That said I have bought http://quangocamp.org (though it goes nowhere yet) and I will point it at an Eventstreams site maybe if there is interest. However I am going to stick with at least some of my previously stated rules about getting involved with events again (a) I’m not doing it alone (b) I’m not doing it unless sponsors are on board and (c) this is a new one – someone else would need to sort a venue!

So if anyone is even vaguely interested in this please tweet or leave a comment!


  1. Great idea – think I chatted once to Phil McAllister about this a year or two ago. Be good to see it happen!

    Good way to gauge interest might be to create a group on ukgovcamp.com as it’s where a lot of the community hang out.

    If it does happen, let Steph and I know if we can help fund it.

  2. Cheers Mr Briggs – I was chatting to Phil about the idea on Saturday in quite broad terms before I had too much time to think on the train πŸ™‚

    I’ll drop something onto the UKGovCamp site at some point..

  3. Absolutely fab idea Matt! Even if I don’t technically work for a quango. Would be good to get together with other arms-length and non-local, non-central gov types to see what people are getting up to.

  4. Yea I’m using the —-widest—— possible definition of Quango here – it just sounded better the NDPBcamp πŸ™‚

  5. Great idea πŸ™‚
    I’m in if this goes ahead. Lots of focus at #UKGC11 on central & local government, but not alot on “quangos” in their general sense.

    Might also be useful for those of us that aren’t going to be around for much longer. Some of us have done some interesting work in the digital area (e.g. my team at CF Labs – http://www.cflabs.org.uk) & our experience faces being lost if we close without passing it on.

  6. Dafydd – the CF Labs stuff looks great – would be very interested in some of that!

    I’m going to take the weekend to ponder it but I think something is going to happen – just need to decide what, where and when πŸ™‚

  7. Fascinating subject, Dafydd and one we really should have discussed on Saturday – how to preserve and re-use online innovation?

    It’ll be worth coming to quangocamp just for this!

  8. It isn’t just preserving innovation – its everything digital.

    A bunch of websites will shift over to National Archives never to be touched again. Will twitter accounts & engagements with the public be saved for future use? What about data we’ve published? Give my experience, I’d be surprised if every quango is aware of the requirements to preserve & redirect domains and content.

    We have a huge amount of change on the way when the Public Bodies Bill becomes law. We will have a large number of bodies that will either alter significantly (through mergers etc) or completely disappear. There is a huge potential to lose a wealth of useful knowledge, information and data.

    I was thinking about this on the route back from UKGC & wished I’d suggested a session on it.

  9. Funnily enough my old employer has a *major* interest around the wide issues of digital preservation including things like data and the social web as well as websites. Would make for a very interesting session (or more)..

  10. Hi Matt,

    Nice idea. If we can spare the time, would be very happy to help organise / promote…let me know by mail?



  11. It is bubbling along in the background – hoping to announce something later this month..

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