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E-GOV.UK - CHAMPIONS OF THE SWAMP

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A conference and other events give e-champions the chance to share ideas and problems, says John Thornton ...
A conference and other events give e-champions the chance to share ideas and problems, says John Thornton

'When you are up to your neck in alligators, it is easy to forget why you decided to drain the swamp.'

For all of us, the day-to-day pressures can narrow our vision and focus our minds on our immediate problems. However, we can often solve those problems more quickly by talking to our colleagues and neighbours who may already have wrestled with similar issues.

In part, this is the logic behind the e-champions network. We can learn from each other rather than try to solve e-government simultaneously in 380 councils.

The network provides a means of getting information, ideas and support to council e-champions, both elected members and officers. It also gives a mechanism for feeding back experiences about what is working and what are the problem areas.

On 26 September, we will be extending this concept one stage further. We will be inviting

e-champions and others to look beyond the UK and see whether we can learn lessons from elsewhere in the world.

The first annual conference and exhibition of the e-champions network will be held in London. It will include speakers from the United States, Portugal, Italy, Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland. Local government minister Chris Leslie will make the closing keynote address.

The conference is free for registered members of the e-champions network, and there are a limited number of delegate places available for others that would find the conference useful.

As well as the national conference there are the regular workshops in Exeter, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and London. The current series is dealing with office systems, service systems and e-democracy.

These events provide an opportunity for e-champions to re-charge their enthusiasm, share their problems and network. If you are an e-champion and you need to recharge your batteries; you have some great ideas to share; or you are just up to your neck in alligators - we look forward to seeing you at the e-champions events.

John Thornton

Director of e-Government, IDeA

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