17th October 2013
This is a blog about local government that is largely read by people in local government so there is a very real chance that nearly everyone who reads this post today is fully aware of ‘Our Day’. However, just for completeness Our Day is a celebration of local government which asks staff working for councils up and down the country to tweet what they are doing.
Promoted by the Local Government Association (LGA) and friends of the blog such as Councillor David Harrington ‘Our Day’ is an opportunity for just a few of the c1.5 million local government staff to tell their story. To take part all you need to do is tweet what you are doing at work along with the hashtag #ourday.
I think there are many great reasons to support ‘Our Day’ and whilst it is important for the sector to collectively make a statement I thought it was worth laying out my thoughts on why supporting an initiative like ‘Our Day’ is worthwhile.
The words ‘Our Day’ can mean two different things. In its most basic sense ‘Our Day’ is an opportunity for people who work in local government to write about their working day and the services they are providing. This is valuable; from the binman to the social worker to the housing officer to the accountant to the Chief Executive and everyone in between there are a lot of local government stories to share.
What’s more there are a lot of local government stories that people are simply unaware of and sharing them can hopefully bring some wider understanding of the sector. There are parts of my council that even now I don’t know much about and I work for a local authority. Can you imagine what it must be like for a normal tax paying resident?
It is for this reason that I really hope the tweets are brought together somewhere and turned into a resource that can be used by the sector.
The second meaning of ‘Our Day’ is in my mind the more important one. It is about local government staff taking a day and saying ‘this is ours’. It is a chance for us to reflect on the jobs we do and take pride in them. Much like we celebrate all manner of anniversaries this is an opportunity to celebrate the role we, as individuals and as local councils in local areas, have in society.
Over the years I would like to see local residents contribute to this; recognising the role that their local council plays in their local area.
Taking all of this together what does ‘Our Day’ mean for me? Our Day is about the sector that I work in, and love, having the confidence to not just do what we do but to publicise and almost boast about it. You would never hear a Doctor or a nurse or a teacher apologetically talking about what they do as a job and nor should we. We should shout about it; proudly talking about what we do and why we do it. We should do it on twitter, during ‘Our Day’ and any other time, we should blog about it, tell our friends about it and campaign for it.
Local Government matters; perhaps now as much as ever and ‘Our Day’ is our chance to say a little bit about what it is all about.
So why not join in today; tweet using the hashtag #ourday or just find some way to talk about what you do with pride to a neighbour or someone who otherwise wouldn’t know what you do. And while you are at it do check out the other tweets from around the country if only because it proves that you are not alone.