Monthly Archives: May 2013

networkedcllr: First comments and feedback

Many thanks to everyone who has made comments so far – as a lot have come in directly over email this post is a round up of these.  I have written it assuming that you have read the report – or at least this summary.

The overall findings seem to have hit a chord with many people and the feedback has been very constructive (including some comments about accessibility of the actual design which we will sort in the final version – thank you).  If this is not your response to the report then please let us know!

I have been struck by the enthusiastic reception we have had with democratic services officers as a way of understanding their potential role with respect to a more digital future.

In particular the distinction between first and next generation internet use has been useful to people and connects into ongoing discussions in many councils about equipping people with tablets in order to cut costs in terms of printing – the potential for behaviour change from cost saving is a useful connection.

Toby Blume has recommended some related work carried out with the urban forum which is also very much in sync with the thinking in the Networked Councillor report:

He also pointed out the links between the Lambeth work on the Cooperative Council and the ambition for a more co-productive relationship with the public and I am hoping we can draw this thought out more in the planned workshops/discussions.

A number of people have commented on the suggestions around a change in the approach to member training, and I am hoping that we can develop some shared work in this area after the LGA Annual conference when we would hope to publish the final version of the report.

The difference in officer and councillor perceptions has also been commented on a number of times – usually with an acknowledgement of the fact that it would be more productive to have this discussion in a shared space – something we hope to be able to do in the events.  However there has also been some caution in this with experienced officers voicing their concerns over the willingness of councillors to accept help and support from officers in this area – this is definitely something that needs further debate.

Within this concern was a feeling that many members do not feel the need to be more connected to their electorate between elections.  If the analysis is correct that we need more networked councillors in order to encourage greater levels of participation (which we are taking as a good thing!), then it will be useful to understand how representative this is of members as a whole – this might be something that the LGA can help with.

There also seems to be an acknowledgement of the fact that political parties have a role to play in all this and this would perhaps be a useful focus for a workshop at some point.  It’s perhaps even more important as we see more NOC councils or significant splits in the main parties, and this may mean that they are open to these kinds of ideas.

We have also had some interesting comments about how a more networked councillor could interact with more networked communities – looking at examples of hyperlocal blogs or community websites – and this links back to Toby’s point about a more co-productive relationship.  The question of ‘knowing who you are talking to’ came up in this context as well.

In addition to event planning we will also be sitting down with Carl Whistlecraft as part of his role on the local digital steering group to make sure that this work fits into what they are doing – the results of this will be talked about at the LGA Annual conference.

So – this is a real whistle-stop tour of discussions to date, so if it sounds off beam then please comment.  If you are a networked councillor – or work with one – then you may want to point them towards the events:

  • Cambridge:  Networked Councillor beta meeting – 17th June – this is an expert group meeting to look at the research and refine the final version of the report
  • LGA Annual Conference:
    • ‘Skills for the Networked Councillor’ session 5.50-6.20pm Tues 2nd July – this will be a practical session run by Public-i with help from actual networked councillors
    • ‘East of England LGA & Public-i – The Networked Councillor’ 8-9am Thurs 4th July – this will be an overview and discussion of the research report
    • Innovation Zone 12-12.45pm Thurs 4th July – this is a chance to discuss ‘what next’ for the networked councilor

We are keen to try and connect some like-minded people together as part of this work so if you want to come to one of these events then please let us know either here or on eventbrite.

And finally – as we think about the final version of the report and next steps then let us know if you are interested in getting involved – will blog about plans here soon!



Filed under The Networked Councillor

Chances to talk about Networked Councillor

We’ve seen a really good response to the Networked Councillor report already, so we think it’s time to start talking more about the project.

Last week we posted Catherine’s presentation to the Cheshire West and Chester Open Day, which you can watch as a webcast here . And we told you that it won’t be too long before there’s another webcast on Networked Councillor , at the Public-i user group. Well, there will also be a number of other events that you should know about. They are:-

17th of June: The Networked Councillor roundtable. This is an invite-only event but it’s an important date for the calendar, as it’ll be the moment we come together with an invited group of councillors and others as we finalise the report.*

Thursday 4th of July: At the LGA Conference in Manchester there will be two opportunities to talk about Networked Councillor, both on the Thursday:-

  • 8am-9am Breakfast Fringe event, with the East of England LGA and Public-i
  • An afternoon event (TBC) in the Innovation Space

Of course, if you do come to the LGA Conference, you’ll be able to find us and, at any time, you can use the Twitter hashtag #networkedcllr.

*If you’ve not been invited and think you really should be going to this event, please tell us!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Project update, The Networked Councillor

Watch a presentation on Networked Councillor

Over on the Public-i blog we’ve just embedded the webcast presentation that Catherine gave to Cheshire West and Chester Council Webcast Open Day.

It’s a great introduction to the Networked Councillor project, so please take a look. To watch with the slides it’s probably best to head over to the Webcast player page, which you’ll find here.

You can read more about the Webcast Open Day at the Public-i blog, but this was a chance to talk to an audience of council officers and councillors about the project and its findings. Catherine will also be talking about the project at the Public-i user group in June. The event is for Public-i’s users, but it will be webcast as well, and we’ll share details about that soon.

Don’t forget that if you want to talk about Networked Councillor on Twitter use the hashtag #networkedcllr and we should be able to get back to you!

Leave a comment

Filed under The Networked Councillor