England & Wales HR, workforce and communications, Technology

Looking at a more proactive approach to digital communications


The Localism Bill is pushing us towards new, more personalised ways of service delivery. At the same time, the Spending Review requires councils to deliver savings of 28% by 2015.

Digital technology is a key instrument in both these policies – it can drive better services and lower costs. But whilst much attention is focusing on social networks as a way of engaging citizens with community politics, I believe there is still great potential for email newsletters and subscription forms of communication to redesign how citizens interact with local authorities (see earlier post here).

I am therefore setting out to write a research report that will consider what these better services look like and the amount of resource they can save a council.

The research part looks like this

– Conduct a survey of UK councils to establish current perception of email relative to other forms of communication. This will identify standard techniques, resources used, cost of delivery and common barriers to digital delivery.

– Conduct interviews with relevant officers in UK councils you are proactively usingemail newsletters and subscription forms of communication e.g. Norfolk CC to assess benefit to council in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and engagement.

– Audit potential cost savings

Which will then be written up in to a report that will

– Analysis of survey data and qualitative interviews to highlight best practice and audit cost savings.

– Feature case studies– one illustrating challenges / barriers facing local government (e.g. culture, old IT systems), one highlighting best practice and then others somewhere in tn between, decided upon after reviewing survey results.

– Develop practical recommendations for how council can improve their practice.

Want to get involved?

If you work for a council and would like to take part in the survey you can do so here – it should take about 10-15 mins. Or, if you are doing something in the authority that you are particularly proud of and would like to be considered as a case study for the report, then please feel free to give me call on 020 7554 2855, email on rob.dale@lgiu.org or send em a link on Twitter through @robandale.