Online Engagement Courses – Final Report

Author: 
Pia Waugh
Category: 

The Department of Finance Archive

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In May and June Finance ran some pilot sessions of two online engagement courses for the Australian Public Service (APS), one focused on individual public servants using social media, and one for agencies looking for how to use social media strategically. Over 130 public servants from 30 Agencies attending one or both of the courses held over 5 days during May and June 2013. Each session evolved both our documentation and the understanding we have of the space as specifically applied to APS goals. Their response to the courses was positive and demonstrates the interest in entering or expanding online engagement across many Agencies in the APS. After we completed the sessions the Australian Public Service Commission introduced new APS Values which place emphasis on a commitment to service as well as building in the need for collaboration and innovation;

Committed to Service; The APS is professional, objective, innovative and efficient, and works collaboratively to achieve the best results for the Australian community and the Government.

The courseware we developed covered a lot of ground in the short time we had available, and was meant as a way to stimulate discussion and present case studies where they existed. We thought the documentation would be useful more broadly, so please find it attached below. Creative Commons licensed of course. Please note, this is not official advice but rather some useful documentation we have found.

We’ve already seen novel utilisations of online engagement for APS communication almost daily. The latest of these being the ‘Colourful Change’ campaign from the Royal Australian Mint. Promotion and community development of the Cross Agency Social Media (CASM) forum on govdex will ensure that communication will continue between public servants in all jurisdictions. CASM allows participants to share resources, knowledge and achievements while continuing to drive innovation across the APS in the social media space and already has over 200 public servants registered and sharing. We encourage public servants interested in this space to join the CASM Forum for peer support. You can do so by emailing Allan a request at allan.barger [at] finance.gov.au. Please note, this is a closed community for public servants only in order to facilitate robust discussion :) We also encourage public servants to join in the broader Gov 2.0 community.

Amongst our discoveries was the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Pinterest account – which demonstrates the innovative and out-of-the box thinking present in APS agencies.

We surveyed the participants from our online engagement courses to provide feedback regarding their experience of their session. We’ve put the feedback together in an easy to understand infographic below;

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DURING MAY & JUNE 2013 FINANCE OPERATED SEVERAL SETS OF PILOT COURSES ABOUT</p>
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ONLINE ENGAGEMENT</p>
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THE SESSIONS WERE USED TO GAUGE THE TAKE UP AND USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA WITHIN THE</p>
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AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERIVCE (APS). THEY WILL ALSO AID IN BUILDING A FRAMEWORK FOR</p>
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POSSIBLE WHOLE OF APS SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING</p>
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A VERY RESPECTABLE 130 PUBLIC SERVANTS ATTENDED THE</p>
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SESSIONS. HOWEVER ONLY 20 TOOK TO PART IN OUR SURVEY.</p>
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THAT’S OK THOUGH BECAUSE RECENT STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT SMALLER RESPONSE RATES ARE ONLY MINIMALLY LESS ACCURATE*</p>
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SO WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT THE SESSIONS?</p>
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A LOT OF YOU FOUND THE COURSE VERY USEFUL</p>
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AND ONE OF YOU THOUGHT IT WAS EXTREMELY USEFUL...THAT’S STILL 5%</p>
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MOST OF YOU THOUGHT WE GOT THE LENGTH ABOUT RIGHT</p>
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THOUGH A FAIR PORTION (40%) SAID THE COURSE WAS TOO SHORT</p>
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FOR THE MOST PART YOU SAID THE COURSEWARE WAS GOOD</p>
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HOWEVER 10% OF YOU THOUGHT IT WAS POOR WE’D LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK TO MAKE IT USEFUL TO YOU</p>
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THE VAST MAJORITY (90%) OF YOU THOUGHT WE WERE VERY HELPFUL [BLUSH]</p>
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WE’LL JUST HAVE TO TRY HARDER FOR THE OTHER 10%</p>
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AN OVERWHELMING 90% OF YOU SEE VALUE IN THE CROSS AGENCY SOCIAL MEDIA FORUM</p>
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EVEN THOUGH SOME OF YOU ARE YET TO REQUEST EVEN AN INVITATION</p>
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MOST OF YOU SEE HIGH VALUE IN WHOLE OF APS SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING IN SOME WAY</p>
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THOUGH 35% ARE NEUTRAL REGARDING THE IDEA</p>
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CASM</p>
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CROSS AGENCY SOCIAL MEDIA FORUM</p>
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SHARE OBSERVE COMPARE INNOVATE ASK LEARN</p>
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* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Response_rate

We are also asking that any Agencies involved in the social media space and would like to tell their story and give their project greater exposure get in touch with us directly. We’d be very interested in giving you some space on this blog where appropriate.

We’re still keeping our list of official APS twitter account up to date and the full list is available as an attachment to this post. We’ve also updated their follower numbers and below you’ll find the official top 20 accounts (by followers) in the APS as of July 1st 2013. If your account is not on the list please get in touch with using either the comments below or by email to ensure the account is included.

Top (by followers) APS Twitter Accounts (1 July 2013)
# Account Followers # Account Followers
1 @Australia 48,679 11 @AusAid 12,604
2 @CSIROnews 17,668 12 @AboutTheHouse 12,271
3 @2011Census 17,481 13 @AusHumanRights 12,152
4 @dfat 15,590 14 @nlagovau 11,764
5 @RBAInfo 15,342 15 @ABSStats 11,275
6 @auscouncilarts 15,088 16 @ScreenAustralia 10,511
7 @TourismAus 15,059 17 @HealthAgeingAU 10,104
8 @artsculturegov 14,250 18 @business_gov_au 9,439
9 @ato_gov_au 13,820 19 @AustralianArmy 8,956
10 @NatGalleryAus 12,715 20 @AuSenate 7,913

There is a lot of broader innovation occurring in the APS with online self service platforms such as my.gov.au which will support a more thematic and citizen centric service delivery from government. There have been a few questions raised about how to get a cohesive and whole of government approach to social media and online engagement, but in the meantime Agencies engaging with citizens online is improving service delivery, customer support, communication of important public notifications, policy consultations and much more.

As internet access continues to grow in Australia with 82.35% (according to the 2012 estimate of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union) of Australians now have access to internet. Using the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s population clock and the statistics from socialmedianews.com.au we can see that just over 50% of Australian engage in social media – and that’s only counting Facebook . The demand for more online service delivery by Government Agencies is surely only set to increase in future.

The documents below include our basic courseware as well as some additional reading (which includes links to case studies, policies and other useful documentation), and a document that outlines key information about some of the major social media tools in use today. Enjoy!

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Comments (1)

I'm getting a file not found on all those links - would also love to see them in ODF format?

Last updated: 30 June 2014