Scrutiny social media and us


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Presentation for the local by social online conference November 2010

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  • Scrutiny involves councillors who are not in the cabinet
    Purpose is to improve local public services and hold decision makers to account
    Makes a difference through in depth reviews and holding meetings in public
    Potential to support policy making, accountability, performance monitoring and public engagement
    Find out more from the Centre for Public Scrutiny (
  • Boards each have 11 councillors sitting on them, committees have 19 councillors
    Three boards are chaired by opposition councillors the rest are chaired by councillors from the ruling group
    Each board has a dedicated scrutiny officer to support their work
  • We use a Wordpress Blog hosted on the council’s servers
    We can even use different plug ins (sometimes!)
    Biggest influx of visits when we get an ad on the council intranet
  • Tweetdeck is great!
    We only follow organisations and organisational representatives
    We have 192 followers
    We could be having more conversations
    We should be making better use of hashtags
  • At least we want to… this has been relatively unsuccessful with a small number of followers and very little interaction
    We know that we either have to find a way to make this work better or accept that it’s not really for us and close it down
  • Council web pages
  • Scrutiny social media and us

    1. 1. Scrutiny, Social Media and Us Dave Mckenna Overview & Scrutiny ManagerPresentation for the Local By Social OnlineConference November 2010
    2. 2. Caution Social Media Amateurs at Work !
    3. 3. Purpose of this presentation is to share: • A little about local government scrutiny • Why we wanted to use social media • What we have done • What has been good, what could have been better and some wishes
    4. 4. First, what is local government scrutiny? A bit like parliamentary select committees but for local government
    5. 5. The aim of scrutiny in Swansea is… To provide ‘critical friend’ challenge to the executive (and decision makers) by undertaking a range of overview and scrutiny activities to ensure that improvement is delivered, sustained and embedded
    6. 6. In a nutshell , the outcomes of effective scrutiny are: Better Decisions Better Policies Better Services (this is why we do it)
    7. 7. Put simply…in bad Haiku.. Ask the right questions Investigate and propose Ways we can improve Scrutiny…
    8. 8. In Swansea we have 5 boards + 2 committees Child and Family Services Children, Young People & Learning Environment & Communities Health, Social Care & Wellbeing Performance and Finance Partnership Business Overview & Scrutiny Boards Overview & Scrutiny Committees
    9. 9. …that need effective support Project Management – work planning and organising for the boards & committees Research – doing research, providing the analysis, presenting the results Communications - drafting reports and giving presentations Relationship Management – working with councillors, departments, partners and the public Diplomacy – working in a politically sensitive environment Overview & Scrutiny Unit (us)
    10. 10. Why social media?
    11. 11. No one really downloaded our newsletter…
    12. 12. Surveys told us there was low awareness of what we do Staff (157 responses) Do you agree that you have a good understanding of the work of overview and scrutiny? 2010 2009 Strongly agree 10.4%(16) 6.6%(9) Tend to agree 42.2%(65) 39.7%(54) Tend to disagree 32.5%(50) 40.4%(55) Strongly disagree 14.3%(22) 12.5%(17)
    13. 13. We thought it would help us get evidence for our reviews…
    14. 14. …and we thought it would widen involvement in the work of the boards and committees
    15. 15. We wanted to overcome council formality…
    16. 16. …and engage people in issues that really matter Recycling Corporate Parenting Shared Services Literacy in Schools Community Alarms Adult social care Cycling Youth Services Public Transport Regeneration Projects
    17. 17. What We Have Done
    18. 18. We spent time planning and came up with some principles • Be clear why we are using which tools • Live the values of each tool • Focus on news relevant to people • Use the ‘language of questions’ • Use ‘swansea scrutiny’ as a consistent brand • Extend our use of different media • Communicate as people - be friendly, readable and fun
    19. 19. We even made ourselves a logo!
    20. 20. This is the plan we made… Minutes & Agendas via council site Scrutiny web pages on council site Staff intranet Wordpress Blog Twitter Facebook Slideshare Flikr Youtube Staff Councillors National / Expert Bodies “General” Public Back End Interactive People Corporate We support Conversation Multimedia
    21. 21. We use our blog to talk about our reviews and some of our meetings
    22. 22. We can now share presentations from meetings
    23. 23. We have even started making films!
    24. 24. We use Twitter mainly to signpost and to find out what’s happening nationally
    25. 25. We use Facebook to (try to) reach the public
    26. 26. We realised we had to redesign our webpages
    27. 27. Each board now has their own ‘homepage’
    28. 28. Three things good
    29. 29. 1. We are fairly happy with the numbers • In the first 6 months 613 unique visitors to the blog - 10% visited 3 times or more • 192 twitter followers • 22 people ‘like’ us on facebook
    30. 30. 2. It’s opened many new lines of communication
    31. 31. 3. We have benefited from great help and support • Duncan our Web Manager • Lee our Head of Service • Twitter & CoP friends: – @ingridk – @davebriggs – @carlhaggerty – Many others!
    32. 32. Two things that could have been better
    33. 33. 1. facebook – not sure it’s right for us
    34. 34. 2. It’s been communication but not yet conversation
    35. 35. Three wishes
    36. 36. 1. Better links from our internet / intranet would increase our traffic
    37. 37. 2. New staff social media policies would help our internal engagement
    38. 38. 3. More councillors engaging online would be better all round!
    39. 39. Thank you for (virtually) listening