Common Knowledge Network
Agency for the Public Services Reform

The Problem

support the dissemination of good practices and the construction of knowledge. The project is based on active participation and collaborative involvement of public bodies, central and local, private entities and citizens, from Portugal but also from other Portuguese speaking countries, who wish to participate, especially on issues like modernization, innovation and administrative simplification.

RCC helps build and develop the knowledge society, promoting the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices within the public administration, for a more effective public service, with more efficient solutions and with a greater ability for cooperation between different ministries and their own citizen. It’s an instrument that helps to provide a common perspective on the activities of public administration in order to help create standardization and similar quality standards in different services.

The main values of this network are: (1) Sharing - experiences, solutions, tools and interests; (2) Innovation- in the way people participate, contribute and evolve; (3) cooperation – in the construction, promotion and development of solutions; (4) and belonging – as part of the project and the process.

RCC's strategy is the dissemination of information concerning the modernization of public administration, the sharing of practices and management tools, translation and publication of various EU texts to English, making them accessible to a wider range of bodies and people. To this end, provides a directory of initiatives, selected according to quality, applicability and diversity of practices, organized by themes and entities, and a media library with carefully selected resources. In parallel, RCC supports formal collaborative networks and knowledge in several areas of Administrative Simplification and Modernization, Information Technology and Communication and Citizen Services, providing: (1) a stimulated debate on public policies and ways of their implementation at local, regional and national levels; (2) participatory decision making from groups of interest or communities of practice; (3) a contribution to the strengthening of relationships between the various stakeholders; and a (4) coordination of information sharing.

Launched on June 18, 2008, the Common Knowledge Network (RCC) is available at The collaborative platform is only available to those registered and members of one of the groups or communities of practice.
RCC was specially created for public sector but there are private entities and universities that have also joined the project and contributed with best practices, articles and solutions in different areas. The accession of other Portuguese speaking countries, like Cabo Verde, Brazil and Angola, has also been significant.

In the long term, RCC aims to be a platform that helps the establishment of a regular practice of sharing knowledge in regional and national public institutions, so that they can create, access and disseminate relevant knowledge that leads to a Public Administration with high standards of excellence.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The main benefit of RCC is the knowledge transfer within Portuguese public administration at central, regional and local level. This transfer involves the sharing of best practices between public agencies. Currently there are 291 best practices published in the RCC, organized under the following taxonomy: Citizen Services, Administrative Modernization, Information Technology, Innovation Management, eGovernment; Sustainability; and Quality.

These practices were developed by the Portuguese public institutions and also by public institutions from countries like Cape Verde, Angola and Brazil, being shared by all through RCC.
Other important benefit is the contribution of RCC to widespread the use of new information and communication technologies, bringing together all relevant actors, especially by helping the creation and facilitation of communities of practice (COPs). These communities use the technological facilities of the collaborative portal of RCC to develop their activities and achieve their goals.

It’s also important to point out the stimulation of innovation and change in public administration through the collaborative work and the growing participation of all citizens and organizations identifying new public services and improving the existing ones, particularly through its participation in the Simplex Autárquico (Simplification Programme for Local Government) using RCC as facilitator of projects development and implementation. And finally, RCC contributes to the creation of a culture of excellence in Portuguese Public Administration.

These benefits stem largely from the work of the collaborative portal from RCC, which is an area of active construction and knowledge sharing used by several communities of practice, with the goals of developing their projects, exchange experiences, developing skills, generate new solutions, accumulate and disseminate knowledge, validate products and practices and contribute to new alliances and partnerships.

Several stakeholders have benefited from the creation of Common Knowledge Network. The citizens because the easy access to relevant information about projects and initiatives from Portuguese public administration - central, regional and local, which may affect their lives.

The Portuguese Public Administration because now they have a common space that they can use to creation, sharing and disseminating knowledge of the Administration itself, in which central and local organizations can compare their needs and solutions.

The private sector through free access to a global source of information about government initiatives, allowing them to identify areas of possible development and also the participation in formal and informal collaboration networks of the RCC.

The university researchers through free access to a global source of knowledge about government initiatives where they can identify research opportunities and also the possibility of participation in RCC collaborative networks.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The idea of the RCC was created by the Secretary of State for Administrative Modernization of Portugal and the solution was designed and implemented by the Agency for the Public Services Reform (Presidency of the Council of Ministers).

The most relevant stakeholders that contributed to the project in its first steps were: (1) Microsoft Portugal, that offer the technological solution of sharepoint and involved a private company – Create IT – to prepare the solution according to the conceptual model of the RCC; (2) the local public organization “Évora Digital” that managed the servers; (3) the consultant Deloitte Portugal who shared a long list of public portuguese best practices and the contacts of their promoters; and (4) DGAL- Local Administration General Directorate , that did the same as the previous stakeholder but in a more local level.
After its release on the internet, in June 2008, many public organizations started, on their own, to send their practices and participate more and more. Some private organizations as well as universities are also contributing and involved in some communities of practice of the RCC.

The portuguese speaking countries have also been big promoters of the RCC, by sharing their experiences, with gains for all involved in the project.

Today, the newsletters of RCC have already about 7000 subscribers, mostly from public sector, but also from private sector and citizens.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
RCC main strategy is supported in the process of knowledge dissemination concerning the modernization of public administration and the sharing and transfer of practices and management tools.

To accomplish this main goal, RCC provides a repository of best practices, selected according to quality and applicability of the practices, which are organized by themes and entities. The project provides also a knowledge resource center with more than 200 documents organized according RCC taxonomy.

In parallel, drives the creation of collaborative networks about several areas like Administrative Simplification and Modernization, Information Technology and Communication and Citizen Services, promoting debate on public policies and ways of their implementation at local, regional and national level.

Other important goal is to increase the decision process participatory/ consultative by citizens and institutions and contributing to the strengthening of relationships between different stakeholders.

With regard to the overall goals of RCC, the Agency for the Public Services Reform (AMA, IP) responsible for the creation and management of the network defined a strategy of facilitating regular practices of knowledge sharing in regional and national public institutions through RCC facilities, so that they can create, access and disseminate relevant knowledge from Portuguese Public Administration.

More specific objectives are the promotion of knowledge sharing between agencies, not only through the repository of best practices, but also through the knowledge center that has more than 200 documents about themes like Administrative Modernization, Information Technology and Communication and Knowledge Management and through the “RCC Newsletter” that is a means of sharing and dissemination of initiatives for Public Administration and also the articles produced by the partners that collaborate with RCC.

Another goal is the sharing of working methods, ideas and solutions, and the processes of implementation of common strategies and practices - like the case of the ICT community of practice, which aims to set ICT standards and interoperability used in Public Administration, and also security standards improving the security of electronic services and also the creation of synergies in Public Administration.

All RCC activities mutually support each other through several types of events and even online ones trying to bring together the Public Administration, Universities and companies from the private sector.

The strategy of RCC is defined by AMA, IP and implemented by its Innovation and Knowledge Management team, in partnership with all other public institutions that collaborates with RCC sharing their best practices and knowledge.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
At the beginning of 2008 the team of the Agency for the Public Services Reform (Presidency of the Council of Ministers) developed all the conceptual model and the management solution of the RCC. In June 18, 2008, the site was launched and a series of dissemination activities were immediately put into action as, for example: (1) Initial mailing to various entities to inform about RCC and invite them to submit their practices; (2) dissemination of RCC among all citizen and company shops and all the workers and partners of the Agency; (3) launch of the RCC in an event of the OECD, in July 2008, Lisbon; (4) presentation of the RCC in the National Congress of INA – Institute of National Administration; (5) creation of a pamphlet of the RCC and its distribution to various entities and individuals; (6) news about the RCC in several sites and placement of banners on the websites of the Agency; (7) dissemination of the RCC with the municipalities participating in the Simplex project; (8) creation of a specific newsletter of the RCC; and (9) dissemination among Portuguese speaking countries, including the signing of protocols.

In December 2008, the Agency promoted the first big event of the RCC which was attended by many public authorities. The main objective of the event, besides sharing best practices, was to make the first assessment of its results and to involve everyone in the improvement of the network.

In January 2009, it was defined the management model of the collaborative aspect of the RCC and the model specification of the Thematic Networks.
Also with the launch of the collaborative platform, were promoted dissemination activities (workshops on thematic networks) and were produced several user manuals.

On 18 June 2009, the RCC has completed one year and for this occasion the Agency proceeded to the reorganization of various sections of the Network website, with the aim of improving access to information and facilitate the search by users.

Since the beginning of 2010 several collaborative networks were created and the number of RCC members grew exponentially.

In July 2010, the development of a new platform began with the goal to facilitate the access to knowledge. This new platform is under development and it will be operational in January 2011.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The main obstacles that emerged from the implementation of RCC can be categorized into two major areas, technological and related to the involvement of partners who helped the kickoff of the project.

These two types of obstacles are related, because to overcome the technological issues associated to the development of RCC technological system it was necessary to create a partnership that allowed the construction of a technological platform to support the activities of the network. It is important to point out that this first obstacle was overcome by the partnership between AMA, IP (Agency for Public Services Reform), Microsoft Corporation, Create IT and Évora Distrito Digital.

The obstacles related to the involvement of partners in all RCC activities and most important in the creation and sustainability of communities of practice, is a big challenge that the Innovation and Knowledge Management team have in mind all the time trying to define strategies to increase institutions and members participation. The identification and involvement of key persons in the public institutions at a high level of decision, but also at operational level is the key factor to overcome these obstacles.

Another obstacle to overcome was the dissemination of the project. A strong marketing strategy was necessary to accomplish the involvement of the national, regional and local agencies, not only as beneficiaries but as mainly as RCC active agents, developing processes of sharing knowledge and practices.

AMA, IP is working on overcome the obstacle of reaching a wider market. Universities and private organizations are important partners to take RCC to another level of development supporting the promotion of online spaces like discussion forums and the creation of knowledge networks related to the improvement of public services.

Finally overcoming the need for quick responses to all COPs working under RCC platform is a big challenge since its success depends on your dynamism and fulfillment of expectations in a timely manner.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
RCC was a partnership between several private entities and the investment was supported by the partners – Microsoft Corporation and Évora Distrito Digital.

The technical resources were provided by a Microsoft partner who developed the technological solution under a Microsoft platform.
The human resources allocated to this project were two technicians form AMA, IP (Agency for Public Services Reform) and a Content Manager from IGOV company.

The main activities developed by the technicians were the contacts to the public institutions to incentive them to share their best practices and to manage the repository of knowledge.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The knowledge network RCC while supporting the sharing of modernization, innovation, and administrative simplification of Public Administration practices, intends to assert itself as a reference tool for a good practice as a knowledge repository and also a tool used by institutions to new knowledge creation.

This Network aims to be a source of inspiration for those who want to develop projects in areas like innovation and modernization. As a tool of dissemination of public administration best practices, it has the power of make them public and incentivize the replication process - a good solution applied to a particular entity can be replicated (processes, technologies, people) in another, RCC is trying to create a virtuous circle of learning and re-use tools and procedures.

In this context, the RCC also aims at a global world increasingly challenging, bring all the stakeholders involved: public administration, national and Portuguese-speaking countries, universities, companies and citizens, to forming a true community of knowledge through various types of events. Currently is being defined a new strategy for the RCC in order to begin regional events, seeking to broaden further the scope of participation of all public institutions.

There are also being developed contacts with the House of Citizens of Cape Verde and also with Brazilian public institutions, to enhance partnerships activities with the RCC and to replicate the creation of knowledge communities to discuss issues related to administrative simplification and modernization.

According to financial support AMA, IP is the main investor in all RCC activities and also in the development of the new technological platform.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
RCC has had a continuous growth, both in the number of best practices disseminated and both in the interest of public organisms who wants to collaborate sharing their knowledge. With about two years of "life", RCC offers 291 Best Practices from 196 public organisms.

In the early months of RCC, the main focus was to enrich the database of best practices and in the mid of 2009 the focus was to strengthened the multicultural cooperation with countries of Portuguese official language, as a fundamental way to promote replication of best practices and contribute to promote mutual learning.

The RCC team is preparing the platform development to improve access to information at the level of usability, accessibility and web design, with the aim to make RCC more appealing and accessible.

Another aspect of the RCC, is the collaborative space that integrates several Communities of practice and has around 900 members belonging to 103 public and private entities using RCC to share knowledge related to the projects they are involved through the joint construction of documents and discussion forums.

RCC is undergone a dynamic process that aims to meet the needs of its users / participants and it main impacts results from the creation and implementation of: greater rationality in the organization, management and operation of public administration; a contribution to the widespread the use of new information technologies and communication, bringing together all relevant actors; innovation and a change attitude through partnerships; promoting a culture of excellence in Public Administration and Society.

The main initiatives to improve the success of RCC are the communication strategy using several mechanisms, email, RCC Newsletter, several events involving all members of the communities of practice. It is also important to be an active partner; the RCC team helps all communities to structure their collaborative space, defining with the members all technological aspects and also the collaborative model, also prepares training sessions for the communities that are starting and all the manuals they need help them to use the platform functionalities.

The support from top managers of AMA, IP are also very important for the success of the project, they support all RCC activities through the definition of strategies assuming a sponsor role.

The Common Knowledge is a mean to disseminate knowledge but also, more importantly, to create new knowledge and to develop the skills of people who use it.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Agency for the Public Services Reform
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Gonçalo Caseiro
Title:   Member of the Board  
Telephone/ Fax:   +351 21 7231210
Institution's / Project's Website:   +351 21 7231255
Address:   Rua Abranches Ferrão, nº. 10 3ºG
Postal Code:   1600 - 001
City:   Lisboa
State/Province:   Lisboa
Country:   Portugal

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