Social Media and Public Sector Policy Dilemmas

While I rarely like to use my blog as a dumping ground of PDF’s, this one I really wanted to share with you. It was written by Toby Fyfe and Paul Crookall on behalf of The Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). The title of the report  is “Social Media and Public Sector Policy Dilemmas“. This is by far the most comprehensive and well written report on the subject this year. If you work for the Government, especially the Government of Canada, you need to read this.

The report was developed based on consultations with numerous stakeholders across the country and abroad. It covers among other things, access to information, security, leadership, records retention, privacy, and the need for a culture of trust. It talks a great deal about the biggest impediment to government use of social media, which I have mentioned numerous times in this blog, i.e. the “clay layer” of middle management and the hierarchical public service culture. The report also quite accurately segments public servants into zealots, collaborators and resisters (from a social media engagement perspective), which is exactly in-line with what I have experienced as a consultant for government. Most importantly however, it cites the numerous strategic and successful initiatives being launched across the country, which are now feeding into a growing list of best practices. This document should be on every senior leader’s desk.

Even though some of you may think that pointing out risks and dilemmas only slows things down, I am a firm believer that public sector organizations need to start looking at how the digital space affects the entire organization from a strategic perspective. Part of this process is risk-mitigation and understanding the cost-benefit analysis.  This is the only way we will move beyond merely playing with “shiny objects” and one-off pilot projects and actually start thinking about how the entire organization can benefit in the era of government 2.0.

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