Social Networking and Participation in Local Government - Opportunity and Challenge


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LGIU - Action Learning Set - Session 5 - 25th June 2010

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  • Put simply, the level of spending cuts expected requires more than fire-fighting and belt-tightening: it requires a completely new approach. Current estimates for reduction in council budgets sit at around 20-30% for 2011, which is a tall order for any organisation to handle. Add to that the likely policy shift towards direct funding for schools and other services. In the midst of funding cuts and increasing delivery pressures, councils also face new possibilities, and new challenges. The days of councils writing letters to us, or demanding to see us, are already looking slow, antiquated and costly. In fact, the notion of councils talking to us at all without listening to what we are saying is looking increasingly outdated. Councils are not equipped for this. And how can my council deliver services that meet the needs of digitally-enabled people like me, but also serve my neighbour, who doesn’t even have a computer? How does my council e-mail everyone in my building? If I can use a single profile for managing all my communications with Google, why not with my government? Why can I vote on X Factor, but not on the future of my child’s school? tools like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter connect people to other people. These sites aren’t about sharing knowledge or facts, they are about self-expression and relationships. The information on the internet has been “socialised”. This social media has been supplemented by an explosion of rich media tools – podcasting, social video sites like YouTube and, web TV, photosharing on Flickr – giving us a powerful new matrix of tools and channels for sharing knowledge and building communities. Increasing role of technology to reduce costs and improve services, but social media puts the technology in the hands of business people and consumers. No longer is this the realm of ICT professionals.  
  • Web is Cheaper - The Society of Information Technology Management’s recent analysis of customer service interactions lists web transaction costs at 27p on average, compared with phone transactions of £3.22, and face-to-face transactions of £6.56. Successful innovation is available but not broad enough for BIG change
  • Respondents to the survey saw many applications for social media, with over half of them citing three topics, increasing or improving: Communications with citizens, innovation, and knowledge sharing. Improved communications between teams scored just under half of the votes. Surprisingly, given the number of people saying they could see no reason to adopt social media, no one opted for ‘none at all’, Other areas it could be used include: ¨ Internal knowledge management and professional development ¨ Recruitment, staff retention and strengthening professional relationships ¨ Delivering technology projects and digital architecture ¨ Public engagement and consultation, to a micro level ¨ Reaching new, disengaged audiences, especially young people ¨ Personalisation and co-design of services ¨ Engaging citizens and service users to help with service delivery ¨ Petitions and awareness campaigns ¨ Social marketing and behaviour change ¨ PR and reputation management ¨ Public accountability and open government
  • External 'Gritter Twitter', giving 24-hour updates on the roads that were being gritted. Call for help – citizens with 4x4 cars were asked to support the delivery of meals on wheels to the elderly TwitterPlan – notification of when planning applications are submitted in your local area School Meals via twitter Internal Yammer Blue kiwi reduction in email usage and distribution lists Team communications PR and reputation Management Listen, acknowledge and respond appropriately
  • KM focuses on the management of knowledge and not the “sharing” of knowledge. Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration – Social Networks – moving away from email and opening up conversation (a virtual water cooler) eLearning from peers – blogs, video, case studies and stories Social media driven events – localgovcamp and ukgovbarcamp (open space event) IDeA Knowledge Hub Project – a public sector knowledge enviornment. Ideas management - DCC Pilot Project People Finder / staff directory
  • Collaborative action - Birmingham City Council website – BCCDIY project over ran, went over budget and didn’t deliver, so local active people collaborated and built a comparable website reusing information sources ePetitions and Campaigning The 2007 campaign by HSBC’s graduate account customers shows the power of these tools to achieve impact. They used Facebook to complain about HSBC’s introduction of charges for overdraft facilities, and gained such a large following (and, crucially, told them all how to switch banks) that HSBC were forced to drop their proposals. Devon has started a handsupfordevon campaign and petition to change the schools funding formula system. Schools in devon get £3k less per pupil then other parts of the country. The campaign is about fairness and is supported by school and pupils alike. Real time election results Newcastle and derbyshire used twitter to broadcast live results during last years local elections. Disadvantaged groups DCC youth participation – teenage mothers engaged through facebook and youth workers.
  • Harringay Online was set up to strengthen the neighborhood of the Borough of Harringay in North London. The site was launched in 2007, built on the free white label social networking platform called Ning. The central idea behind the social network was to generate and provide neighbourhood information, by neighbours for neighbours, such as information about safety, health care, local businesses, community event planning and local news. The site now has over 2,300 registered users and gets about 300-500 hits a day from between 200-250 unique visitors. A community priorities survey hosted on the site had a remarkable 70-percent response rate. The web site also hosted the largest petition ever signed in the neighbourhood in response to local traffic issues, and the local police have become active members of the site, providing safety information while listening to the concerns of the community. The community is now sufficiently established that members of the platform recently collaborated to clear the ice from Harringay Passage, without any involvement from the council. Southwark Circle The Southwark Circle uses social media to promote good neighbourliness, helping elderly and vulnerable people stay in their own homes, and reducing the need for formal help and support from the council. The London borough of Southwark provides financial support to this initiative. Southwark Circle recruits helpers who help by providing practical advice, eg on financial matters, tidying the garden or picking up the shopping. The East Renfrewshire Libraries Facebook Page was one of the first UK council services available on Facebook back in January 2008. The Facebook page includes: ● opportunity to sign up to regular updates on forthcoming events, special offers, photos and newsletters from East Renfrewshire ● information on opening times and facilities ● ability to leave comments, interact with staff, discuss a favourite book or seek advice on how to use a PC with other users on the discussion boards.
  • Social media is not a replacement for existing methods of contact. It would be disingenuous to present the internet as the great ready-made solution to this problem. There are a great many problems which the internet cannot solve. Not everyone is online, and those that are will know the web is still primarily used to find information, and to a lesser extent to send money. However, to say that the social web has no role to play in the future of councils is to suggest that there are no problems affecting councils which do not involve sharing information, sending money, or connecting communities. These tools are establishing themselves as part of our social infrastructure, and in order to meet people where they are, and do business in a digital society, councils will need to integrate social media into their work very quickly. Bigger question is what is the role of councils in the new information age.   Effective Risk Management however is more than likely going to drive you towards the adoption of social software/social media Blocking access is a higher risk – plymouth city council experience Information Security – valid risk- requires common sense and a professional approach.
  • People are still struggling with the convergence of personal and professional lives. Do I present myself or my professional self, can I manage two or more online personas. Should I just be myself - my work is part of who I am. What happens when successful people move brands? Scott Monty @Ford. Need to get rest of organisation engaged and not just the early adopters. Why is this different from the telephone, we can all have conversations on the phone with our customers and colleagues. Email was restricted then became widespread Social media will follow suit
  • People to People – everyone becomes a brand advocate, marketer, customer service advisor etc. With Chief Executive blogs - employees have direct access to the top of an organisation – bypassing often layers of management to get their voice heard. Culture change Open, transparent, and instant. Recruitment An alternative CV is being built online
  • Online civic spaces If people are talking about real issues already online, how are these conversations fed into the decision making process. Virtual Town Hall Project Elected Officials Can they demonstrate that they understand the issues of their communities or are they disconnected from a large group of disconnected citizens Louder voice Everyone has the ability to publish and broadcast.
  • Naturally there is a focus on comms and marketing (obvious choice ref slides from earlier) BUT it is actually fundamental to organisation change Public sector has examples of learning, but needs to innovate more and more often to enable others to reduce costs and improve services Successful organisations always adapt
  • Social Networking and Participation in Local Government - Opportunity and Challenge

    1. 1. Social Networking & Participation in Local Government Opportunity and Challenge Carl Haggerty Devon County Council
    2. 2. What I’ll cover… <ul><li>Brief Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>The context for local councils </li></ul><ul><li>The opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>The challenge </li></ul>
    3. 3. Context for Local Councils <ul><li>Public Sector Finance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dramatic reduction/cuts in budgets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff reductions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Property Reductions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increasing pressure from public </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deliver more for less </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social inclusion and participation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consumerisation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Speed and access to information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People to People networks </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Time for Transformational Change…
    5. 5. The Opportunity <ul><li>The big question facing ALL councils right now is. </li></ul>&quot;Will this eat up my time and make me less productive, or make things more efficient?&quot;
    6. 6. Potential Uses <ul><li>Survey by SocITM of Public Sector IT Managers - 2009 </li></ul>
    7. 7. Improving Communication <ul><li>Empowering and involving </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile and real time </li></ul><ul><li>Internal and External </li></ul><ul><li>PR and reputation management </li></ul>
    8. 8. Knowledge Sharing <ul><li>NOT knowledge management </li></ul><ul><li>eLearning and professional development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ideas management </li></ul><ul><li>People Finder/Staff Directory </li></ul>
    9. 9. Enhancing Democracy <ul><li>Collaborative action </li></ul><ul><li>ePetitions and Campaigning </li></ul><ul><li>Real time election updates </li></ul><ul><li>Reaching disengaged audiences (young people) </li></ul>
    10. 10. Building Communities <ul><li>A sense of place </li></ul><ul><li>Reconnecting neighbourhoods </li></ul><ul><li>Connecting People to People </li></ul><ul><li>Fostering active involvement </li></ul>
    11. 11. The challenges <ul><li>The big question here is? </li></ul>“ With all the opportunities these new tools present, why isn’t everyone using them?&quot;
    12. 12. Risk, Relevance, Reputation <ul><li>Social web in still immature </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Inclusion Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Blocked access < this is really a lack of good management </li></ul><ul><li>Information Security </li></ul><ul><li>Web might be cheaper but you still need people to engage and participate </li></ul><ul><li>24/7 expectation management </li></ul>
    13. 13. Getting Personal <ul><li>Who am I? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CarlHaggerty – Carl@DCC– DevonCC-Carl??? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Training, awareness and guidance </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons from the past </li></ul>
    14. 14. Organisational <ul><li>The “social organisation” challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Challenging hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Culture change </li></ul><ul><li>Recruitment and retention of staff </li></ul><ul><li>Performance Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Manage People not Technology </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Political <ul><li>Online Civic Spaces </li></ul><ul><li>What about Elected Officials? </li></ul><ul><li>Citizens have a louder voice </li></ul><ul><li>Citizens have a direct route to service planning and budget setting </li></ul>
    16. 16. Final thoughts <ul><li>Poor performers will be amplified by Social Media tools </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not about marketing or communications, it’s about organisational change </li></ul><ul><li>Public sector is under increasing pressure to reduce costs and innovate </li></ul><ul><li>Successful organisations will adapt </li></ul>
    17. 17. Thank you <ul><li>Twitter: @carlhaggerty </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul>