What a wonderful world (of local government blogs and blogging)
Last week we wrote a number of different posts exploring themes within local government. There was one area, in particular, that we didn’t cover and that was local government blogging. Today, it’s time to rectify this.
When we started our blog there didn’t seem to be a lot of other local government blogs out there. There were of course some that we have now discovered but equally the quantity and quality has grown over the last few years. Thus, when we sat down to write this post it was a real challenge to narrow them down to a short enough list to fit in a post. We’ve tried our best to catch all of our favourites but if we have missed you out we can only apologise. Now without further ado let’s get to it:
Why? What can we say? Whilst we have our occasional disagreements with the Guardian it is surely hard for local government professionals, of whatever stripe, to challenge the notion that the Guardian Local Government Network is an invaluable resource for all local government staff. The posts are captured from a range of authors and cover a vast range of local government specialities. If you’re not a member then make sure you sign up.
One to read: It’s impossible to pick one post but if you want a feel of what the GLGN is about why not read this piece about the new homes bonus.
Why? Whilst we’re talking GLGN it is worth mentioning their contributing editor, Richard Vize. Richard’s weekly column is unique amongst local government writers in that it gets right under the skin of some of the major issues impacting the sector and is always worth a read, even on the rare occasions when we disagree with him.
One to read: Richard’s take of Eric Pickles’ high street plan is well worth a read:
Why? Because it is one of our favourite blogs and although not about local government it does address issues of public sector reform and even when it doesn’t we are yet to find a post we didn’t enjoy reading.
One to read: There is so much to choose but a post entitled Culture eats strategy is always worth a read; a little provocation for those of us embarking on transformation programmes
Why? This is a blog about health and social care written by members of staff who work in social care. Reading the blog no-one can be in any doubt how much the authors care about the people they work with and the policy context they are asked to work in. Anyone interested in these areas should check out this blog as a fantastic counter balance to whatever else is being reported.
One to read: The integration of health and social care is increasingly a hot topic in local government and this post tackles the issue from the first had perspective of mental health.
Why? We really like the LGIU; the slightly scrappier alternative to the rather staid LGA. Plus, they have a blog and they aren’t afraid to use it. The blog varies between policy blogs, extracted from the wider reports they specialise in (and which should be a key part of your working reading), comment pieces, guest posts and extensive coverage of local government elections. Always worth a read.
One to read: Why not check out this post about Health and Well Being boards and the ever changing health agenda?
Why? Becuase if you are a communications professional working in the public sector this is a blog and information hub just for you. It’s written by communications professionals and always has an interesting thing to say. Plus, it gathers up lots of other interesting links and highlights them for the discerning communicator. Plus, their twitter account has links to five interesting articles almost every morning.
One to read: This post about what comms teams should look like in 2012 seems eminently sensible and is well worth a read.
Why? Because we are massive fans of Dan Slee and so should you be. A contributor to Comms2point0 Dan’s a local government communicator and as far as we can make out simply a top banana. His blog is about social media and digital communications in PR and local government and is well worth reading.
One to read: 11 Golden Rule for Social media in an organisation. Does exactly what it says on the tin.
Why? Because we love the style of the blog and the writing of the author, Roger White. It’s a mix of serious posts, helpful suggestions and serious dissection of published nonsense.
One to read: Check out this post about the employability of former local government workers
Why? Because Inlogov is staffed by academics with an interest in and passion for local government and because the blog is always an interesting dissection of a topical but tricky local government issue or debate. There’s rarely a post that I don’t enjoy.
One to read: Check out this post about the Barnet Graph of Doom
Why? Because despite our occasional joking around we are at heart geeks, and what’s more geeks who love local government and specifically local government policy. The New Local Government Network is a local government thinktank which specialises in new ideas and interesting thought. We’re big fans.
One to read: They don’t write as regularly as some other blogs but this post really peeked our interest from just last week: Should we abolish the DCLG?
Why? The Conservative’s unofficial home website has a well developed local government site. It can be a little ‘parish newsletter’ for those who are not Conservatives but in amongst the announcement of bi-election successes and notes from senior Tories there are some really interesting pieces about the wider local government agenda.
One to read: This piece about the 202 tax commission made some interesting points about localism and Government budgeting.
Why? This is not really a blog about local government but rather tends to focus on Whitehall and the civil service. However, there’s so much that we can learn from each other in the world of Government and public service and this blog is so consistently interesting and provocative that it is always worth a read; even when the topic is not strictly local government. Oh, and the author has an alter ego who is a small dragon fairy called Puffles; what’s not to like?!?
One to read: It’s one of those blogs that is often topical in nature so just tune in and check it out.
Why? Because we love futuregov and their blog, although not furiously updated (we imagine they are too busy, you know, doing stuff) is an extension of all that we enjoy about them and their work.
One to Read: A post plugging their innovative social cooking project called Casserole. If you don’t know what that is then you should check the post out now.
Why? The FOI man is not a local government employee but as the openness, transparency and freedom of information agenda is so crucial to local government the no nonsense and thoroughly sensible approach he takes to these overlapping issues is well worth reading and is equally applicable to local authorities. A practitioner who really knows his stuff.
One to read: In defence of the exemption; a post looking at the use of the exemption by Government bodies (such as the NHS) and how it could and should be used.
Why? Because it is a really good idea. The blog club asks each of its members to write a post each week which are then summarised and linked to on the WBC site. If you agree with us that the more blogging the better then this sort of mutual support network is a really good idea and churns out some really interesting posts.
One to read: It would be rude to pick one author over the others (although some participants are mentioned elsewhere in this round up). Just try and check in when you can and you’ll find some really good posts.
Why? Because Louise is a digital front runner managing to handle multiple blogs and twitter feeds, setting up #lgovsm and developing the great idea of #1515gov. Although she has recently left local government her blog is still a good place to look for an interesting reflection and one we like to check out.
One to read: Why not check out this post about communications, digital and what happens when you don’t invest properly in understanding either.
Why? Because Dave is a bit of a legend having, in his own words, been advising government on how to make best use of social technology to engage with communities and citizens since 2004. He’s also a really interesting speaker and a passionate advocate of all things engagement and technology. His blog redirects to his company site now (we only just noticed… Gotta love shortcuts) but it’s still always worth a read. Indeed, there might even be more good stuff on there nowadays.
One to read: How about this post about writing an effective tweet. Typically good stuff.
Why? Because Carl is just interesting and always seems to be trying something new or thinking about something in a new way. He’s also way ahead of his time in many areas, and likes to push boundaries and change for better’s sake rather than just to be different.
One to read: The power of reflective thinking
Why? Because Mark writes interestingly about things that interest us. He also gets out and about and then writes about his experiences and ideas coming from there.
One to read: This post looking at why Mark uses his i-Pad.
Why? Because he is a passionate advocate of all things digital and technology with a Government core to him. He also likes to odd rant and writes some good pieces about how we communicate with our public.
One to read: This post about the nonsense in Argyle and Bute a few weeks ago is typically forthright and incisive.
Why? If Paul didn’t work in local government we probably would never have followed his twitter feed or read his blog. It’s not always about work but the rest of his interests are diverse and interesting and always worth a read; if only so you have something to disagree with!
One to read: A post about the relentless tick tock of time.
Why? Because she is so opinionated and so absolutely unafraid of expressing those opinions. Oh, and she really cares which is what matters to us.
One to read: This is a little self-absorbed as we’re on this list but her alternative to the Queens Honours was a good’un.
Why? Because Ben used to work in local government and despite leaving to join the ever growing Government Digital service he still writes incredibly interesting posts
One to read: Check out this post about the power of blogging
Why? Ben doesn’t write about local government as such but he’s in public sector communications and therefore some of his posts have local government relevance. Well worth a peek in every now and again.
One to read: This post about the future of local press.
Finally, the next two sites are not blogs as such but do check out the openly local site which tries to gather together financial and other local information from councils for members of the public to analyse themselves. This is the sort of openness we should be encouraging. Also, the ‘independent local government’ site is committed to opening up the debate about the future governance of local government. Both are worth checking out.
There are doubtless many other blogs out there that we haven’t mentioned above. Some we missed because we don’t know about them and some because we had to stop somewhere. However, the key message is that there are lots and lots of really good examples of local government writing out there, each of them contributing to the debate and exchange of ideas which plays a small but important part to the success of the sector. We thank the authors for their work and urge our readers to, if you haven’t already, check them out.
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