To mark the fact that that the 2012 LGiU and CCLA C’llr Achievement Awards are now open for nominations, we will be posting a series of pieces in the blog that provide a bit more information about each of the categories in this year’s Awards.
As this very endeavour goes to show, blogs and other online media have increasingly become essential tools for organisations that rely on communicating effectively.
For local councils, the rise of online media signals an opportunity to both broaden the scope and refresh the tone of our democratic conversation. Furthermore, the efficiency-savings that are possible from effective online communication could prove vital as many councils look to maintain frontline services in the afterglow of budget cuts.
With this in mind, it seems apt to begin our series by focussing on an award that is surely destined to grow in significance with each year that passes: the Online Councillor of the Year award.
As in previous years, the councillor who wins this category will have to demonstrate:
- that they are visibly active in social media forums, such as facebook, twitter and blogging
- use of such media to successfully engage with constituents and develop relationships with the community
- an ability to involve constituents in the council through use of online technologies.
A great example of what this looks like in practice was given by last year’s winner, Councillor James Barber (LB Southwark). In a recent article in C’llr Magazine, Councillor Barber explained how he created an “online surgery” thread on a citizen-run neighbourhood website, which allowed him to interact with local people on the issues that mattered to them, when they mattered to them. The judges were particularly impressed that Councillor Barber effectively sought-out his constituents online, rather than waiting for them to find him – an approach that was recently recommended in the LGiU publication ‘Going Where the Eyeballs Are’.
If you have been particularly impressed by the online engagement of a specific councillor this year, then please show your appreciation of the fantastic contribution they are making to their community by nominating them for this year’s Online Councillor of the Year award. Anybody can do this by simply completing one of our new, streamlined nomination forms, which can be downloaded, along with further instructions, here.
The closing date for entries in this category is 30th December, 2011.