About Me

Full-time husband and dad, Head of Governance and Democratic Services at Kirklees Council. Passionate about democracy, local government, Sheffield United, my mountain bike and punk rock. Views here are my own

Friday, 7 January 2011

Its Your Council - Join In (A Positive Footnote)

A few weeks ago I blogged about our webcasting / Tweeting Council meetings experience at Kirklees (Its Your Council - Join In).  The reason for  the post was to share our learning and generate some interest and debate.  Looking back now, I was genuinely surprised at the attention it attracted and the discussions it sparked.  We received enquiries from officers across the sector and were the subject of a case study by those lovely folk at Tweety Hall.

All of this is brilliant in itself, but there is now another dimension to the experience, one that is worth sharing.  You may recall that in the post I wanted to give another perspective on Tweeting meetings, one that differed from the pervading media line that had been reported so regularly elsewhere.  It was the line that focussed on the negatives - councillors not showing respect, not concentrating, using Twitter like naughty schoolboys / girls electronically passing notes across the Council Chamber.  The benefits of opening up democracy, stimulating public engagement and interest, raising awareness around decision making, seeing politicians in action - none of these stories featured.  Where are the positive stories?

Well, here's one - Hundreds Tune in for Kirklees Council Webcasts.   It would have been easy I guess to write more of the same negative stories that have been a feature in the past.  Credit where credit is due - the piece is a very positive one.  
I hope this post provides encouragement to other councils considering exploring social media to open up democracy - there are some good news stories.  Finally, I would add that evidence is invaluable in making a compelling argument - the stats are an important consideration when trying to make the business case.

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