Posted on | January 6, 2011 | Comments Off
You can have your project or campaign up and running in a matter of minutes, just like on WordPress.com, but without feeling so remote. It is comprehensively featured (local projects get a free domain mapped to the site), with a range of functionality available to paying users.
The standard free website toolbox is pretty good, though you are currently stuck with a dozen or so simple, if elegant and customisable theme. For a mere £24 you can get a number of features enabled, and string of other themes, custom css and helpful responsive support. We’ll can also advise on your online communications generally and help you get your message across cogently and successfully.
Pay us a decent retainer and we will even feed the cats.
Posted on | September 2, 2012 | Comments Off
We’ve just created an online survey tool to go alongside an initiative to improve rural bus infrastructure. Betterruralbuses.org.uk was devised to list all stops in East Lothian and provide a way of gathering information about each stop, provide an assessment of its condition and the quality of the timetable information supplied by the operators.
Alongside this we undertook a rapid research exercise to determine the variety of sources of bus transport information available to the travelling public in East Lothian. We found no shortage of information, but a potentially confusing array. Online resources are not as easy to use nor as clearly signposted as rail services are. We also undertook an assessment of the usability, only to find that even under unstressed and relaxed experimental conditions only simple journeys are easy to plan, and then familiarity with the route, the service provider were essential ingredients to success.
Posted on | October 30, 2011 | Comments Off
Here is a list of projects that we’ve either hand-held or fully developed over the the last 9 months using the Ourlocality publishing platform.
Almost all projects were pulled off in less than a day, with a great many in just a couple of hours. Site owners can also develop their projects using a powerful array of behind the scenes tools.
We have a host of pipeline projects that are taking longer, but will they be better? Well who knows.
- The Bakery Dunbar
- Tyne and Esk Writers
- Scottish Participatory Initiatives
- Fashion School
- Innerwick Village
- Feed Your Family From 50 Miles
- Visit Dunbar
- Art Root: Open Studios September 2011
- WeeGreen Search
- Buy Local Food
Posted on | August 16, 2011 | Comments Off
Not long ago I worked on major project to provide support to the Romanian Ministry of Development on ways of integrating Sustainable Development into their Regional Operational Programme (these are regional development funds known as EU Structural Funds). On contract to WYGInternational via ESEP Global, I was called in following the withdrawal of the Sustainable Development Key Expert. Bureaucratic delays meant that I eventually had only 8 weeks to complete a task which would have taken place over a period of 72 weeks. Nothing like an impossible deadline to concentrate the mind. The upside is that I didn’t get bored once in Bucharest, but missed out on visiting much beyond the capital as work took precedence over everything (ie. except a few hours out for classical concerts and the odd opera.)
My final report included:
- recommendations for integrating the Horizontal Themes (with particular reference to Sustainable Development) into the current working Regional Operation Programme processes and procedures
- specific recommendations for integrating the Horizontal Themes (with particular reference to sustainable development) into the appraisal and selection processes and procedures
- an assessment of the training and mentoring needs
- a practical guide on integrating sustainable development
Taken together the recommendations should provide a robust basis for improving the available toolkit for delivering the Horizontal Themes throughout the Regional Operational Programme.
Special thanks are due to WYGInternational for their unstinting support and my colleagues from ESEP Global, and the Romanian project office and the interpreters especially. One should not neglect all the very good people that offered to me help, insiders and hangers on. Last but not least all the IBA staff whose friendly and cheerful manner made the closing workshops very worthwhile. I never sent them my pictures of the gathering, but will reproduce them here at some point when I retrieve them.
If anyone would like to see my report, feel free to contact me or download the last working draft of the sustainable development for regio projects guide.
Integrating the Horizontal Themes: Report Structure
Analysis and recommendations for integrating Horizontal Themes – high level policy
- Recommendation 1. Elaborate a meaningful conceptual framework for encouraging Sustainable Development in the Regional Operational Programme
- Recommendation 2. Develop Sustainable Development pilots / exemplars
- Recommendation 3. Develop national and regional Memoranda of Understanding between Competent Authorities
Analysis and recommendations for integrating Horizontal Themes in core business processes
Organisation & Functioning Regulation Of The Monitoring Committee
- Recommendation 4. The Monitoring Committee should extend it’s strategic role and guide action in relation to the Horizontal Themes
Nurturing Horizontal Theme Networks
- Recommendation 5. The Managing Authority, under guidance from the Monitoring Committee should consider networks or task forces as a means of advancing Horizontal Theme issues.
Growing capacity through partnership
- Recommendation 6. Managing Authority should examine whether it’s interpretation of partnership is too narrow and develop a more inclusive approach to programme policy development and implementation
Analysis and recommendations for integrating Horizontal Themes in appraisal and selection processes
Improving integration of Horizontal Theme issues in the application process
- Recommendation 7. Add supplementary sub questions to the application to separate compliance issues from value adding ones
Encouraging applications that address Horizontal Theme issues more explicitly
Improving Integration of Horizontal Theme issues in Project Evaluation processes
- Recommendation 8. Increase the pool of Horizontal Theme evaluators from 1 in 5 of the available pool of evaluators to 1 in 4 while ensuring that Intermediate Bodies utilise the additional capacity
- Recommendation 9. Investigate further the reasons for the low draw down of Horizontal Theme evaluators and examine critically whether thematic evaluators feel they have enough time to consider a single financing request per day.
- Recommendation 10. Provide basic mandatory training or induction for evaluators with special reference to the importance of the horizontal themes.
- Recommendation 11. Develop a means of benchmarking evaluator assessments of the horizontal themes, initially using training exercises.
- Recommendation 12. Develop a feedback mechanism so that evaluators are able to add value to projects without compromising the independence of the process.
- Recommendation 13. Develop a single consistent scoring grid across each priority and consider supplementing this, if necessary, with detailed evaluation measures for each priority
Building capacity to deal with Horizontal Theme issues
Arrangements for monitoring the Horizontal Themes (Environment) in the Regional Operational Programme
- Recommendation 14. That most of the high level environment indicators are dropped and the recommendations by the Twinning Short Term Expert adopted or modified, as appropriate
- Recommendation 15. Widen the number of project level indicative indicators for Sustainable Development
- Recommendation 16. Include a number of high level programme indicators from the project indicative indicator list
- Recommendation 17. Adopt the proposed monitoring visit checklist
Training and mentoring support
- Recommendation 18. Mechanisms should be explored to encourage sharing of experiences and practices with other Sectoral Operational Programmes, e.g. Environment and HRD
- Recommendation 19. The draft Sustainable Development brochure should be adopted as soon as is practical and published on the web in a form that it can be easily and quickly updated or modified