Just over twelve months ago we were frantically getting the first set of DFID Bloggers up to speed on using WordPress and the difference between blogging and drafting briefing documents. We were working hard to make sure they had posts up in time for Blog Action Day.
Last year it was on poverty and therefore very relevant to DFID’s agenda. This year – today – the issue is Climate Change. Again DFID has Climate Change very high on it’s list of priorities. They are working to help advise the developing world on how to reduce their carbon footprint and supporting it in dealing with the effects of climate change.
One of the aspects of the ongoing reorganisation of Local Government (i.e. scrapping of District Councils) is that Parish and Town Councils should become relatively more important in our democratic processes. I met Justin Griggs, (@JustinGriggs) Head of Policy and Development, of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) at the recent LocalGovCamp in Birmingham. He’s acutely aware that the image of Parish and Town Councillors (Local Cllrs) is not exactly dynamic and go-getting despite in some cases Town Councils are representing towns like Salisbury with 70,000 residents.
He is very keen to get some of those councillors online. The benefits could be enormous. Not only would it help the councils start conversations with their communities and boost their profile, but it would also help the councillors network amongst themselves. Blogs and social networks would be a quick and easy way for town and parish councils to share information, success stories and help each other achieve what they want. This peer networking aspect of blogging is useful but not often mentioned.
To help NALC along the way we sent them 40 copies of the CivicSurf DVD to go to each of the 38 county associations that filter information down to the town and parish councils. Hopefully it’ll get shown and a few more of our democratic representatives will benefit from blogging. Maybe some coaching might be in order.