Posted tagged ‘local’

Listen to what’s inside

September 13, 2011

Can local officers help with translation?

Last week we took a look at how Council’s respond (or not) to social media.  Our argument was that generally we don’t, and the comments received pretty much back that up.  This got us thinking about other simple ways in which local authorities could make better use of their organisational ears in order to take the local pulse.

Usually when officers want to find out what local people are saying they will run some form of engagement or consultation exercise.  The quality and usefulness of these activities is a topic for another day, but in essence they involve officers going out into the community in some way to find groups of residents and other stakeholders to ask them what they think about something.  This often takes some time to do and can cost a significant amount to organise, although arguably this money is very well spent and can save that same authority ten times as much by ensuring the services delivered better meet local needs.

However, this still involves reaching out to local people and hoping or expecting them to get in touch; how about turning this around and reaching inwards for a change?

Those readers who currently work in local government (and at a guess, most of our readers do) will be able to conduct their own quick field test by looking around their office and seeing just how many of their colleagues live outside of the borough in which they work.  A solid mixture is normal, but generally speaking a decent percentage of any workforce lives locally.  In fact, in many places schemes are set up to promote precisely this, with positive discrimination offering opportunities for positions and additional training for locals.  If schools are included in the mix, it would not be unusual to see anything up to 40% of council employees having less than a thirty minute commute, which adds up to a significant number of opinions to gather. (more…)

I don’t want to go to Chelsea (Local Partnership Zone 4 West)

November 10, 2010

If it's not Dalston, where is it?

I’m dong some work at the minute talking to people about the places they live in, and a simple theme is emerging.

People think locally.

Obvious to you and I perhaps, but often not to the Council.  The Council seems to like dividing the borough up into ever more complex areas, with street partnerships, wards, areas, area partnerships, zones, quarters, places, parishes neighbourhoods, communities and regions all being used somewhere to describe the same things; where people live.

Here’s a revelation – people don’t care what we call these places; they will go on using the same names they always have, and to hell with our definitions.  No manner of advertising will convince me that I live in the North area, or Partnership Zone 1; I’ll always call it by the name it is known by. (more…)