A few weeks ago I wrote a post decrying the sad state of a part of our great British media and in particular their favourite tool of laziness; the Freedom of Information Act.
As a part of this post I promised that if people sent in some nominations for those journalists who most often mis-used the FoI Act I’d come up with some form of ranking and publish it on the site.
That was three weeks ago and as the more observant of you would have noticed I haven’t yet written that post. The reasons are two-fold:
1) We actually got quite a good response from information officers and others from around the country and I needed to work out some form of ranking.
2) I suddenly had this feeling that writing a post about lazy journalists with a penchant for FoI requests was not a very bright idea.
When we re-started this blog we made a commitment to our wives that we would not write more than one post per week each; something we are trying to live up to. The added benefit of this is it means there is loads of space for guest posts of whatever stripe. So, today we are please to have our first guest post of the new site, written for us by Sophie O'Neill or Worcestershire County Council. She's been having fun with a video camera and explains why. Check it out below:
At Worcestershire County Council, we recently released our video "At Work in Highways" starring our Highways Manager Jon Fraser and inspired by Torfaen County Borough Council's excellent gritting Elvis. The aim of the video is to get the importance of reporting potholes across in a way which rather than boring our residents to tears is interesting, engaging and memorable.
Whilst we have had some criticism in response to the video, the overall response has been hugely positive. People have told us they are happy to see that the council has a sense of humour, and more importantly a human side. Too often local government organisations can seem faceless bureaucracies, and we wanted to show our residents the people who are working for them on a daily basis are human beings who actually do care (enough to make fools of themselves stood by the side of a Worcestershire road in a tuxedo covering Frank Sinatra!)
Concerns raised have understandably been around resources used: time and the all important money factor. We made the video in less than two days with a local filmmaker, and it was funded by our contractor rather than from our Highways budget. We've been able to address these issues where they've been raised directly, through our Twitter, Facebook and Youtube accounts. By responding directly we've been able to maintain openness; the most-liked comment on the video on Youtube is our comment pre-empting Freedom of Information requests.
Rather than going through formal channels for compliments, comments and complaint, using digital and social media platforms has allowed residents to deliver this feedback directly, and for us to respond directly in turn. The level of take up on this shows us that residents want to communicate with us in this way, allowing us as an organisation to be better communicators and therefore ultimately to better serve our residents.
Sophie O'Neill is the Marketing and Business Development Officer at Worcestershire County Council. You can find her on twitter here @sophieelleno, watch the video here http://youtu.be/9adUVUogc8E or follow the council @worcscc
With the 2014 World Cup set to start later today even the most refusenik of local government employees will have already entered their team’s World Cup sweep stake. But just in case you are yet to choose your team we thought we’d lay out a few recommendations for prominent local government figures:
Eric Pickles MP: Italy
You may not like their style of football but there is no mistaking the fact that they are effective operators. <Insert Andrea Pirlo is slow joke here>
Hilary Benn MP: Croatia
Very quiet prior to the tournament with most commentators, when not ignoring them, placing them right in the middle of the pack. Perhaps this is their time to shine?
Mayor Lutfur Rahman: Portugal
A one man team where that one man receives an absurd amount of attention.
Sir Merrick Cockell: Russia
Recently unseated as the top dog in his respective organisation the manager is looking for a second act on the big stage.
Cllr Jim McMahon: Belgium
Young with a lot of good ideas based on a local blueprint; tipped for future good things whilst stepping up to the big stage.
UKIP Councillors: Chile
Still haven’t won anything but have the potential to really mess it up for one of the other ‘bigger’ teams.
Andy Sawford MP: England
Worked brilliantly in the local league (which is obviously far superior) but who knows what will be achieved for the newbie in the national game.
Ben Page: Brazil
Apparently Nate Silver is backing Brazil and it is impossible to imagine Ben doing anything that isn’t backed by the numbers.
Merton council (where I work): Spain
Having recently won a major title people are questioning whether they can live up to their previous success; perhaps unlikely but that’s still a pretty damn good team (oops; that was a bit sycophantic; I’m obviously getting ready to be a myopic supporter for the next two weeks)
Because I think they have a really really good team!