Our site for NALC, What Next for Localism, is going pretty well. Quite a few ideas submitted and some conversation starting up around them and the articles published on the blog.
To further development the online discussion, we’ll be hosting a live web chat on the site next Tuesday (16th October) at 1pm on the future of localism.
It ought to be a great opportunity to debate the issues and opportunities with a group of like-minded folk – so bookmark the page and stick a reminder in your calendar!
We’ve been working quite closely with the National Association of Local Councils this year. We produced the Planning for Councillors microsite a few months ago, and have contributed to the three People in Action conferences run around the country over the summer.
The parish and town council sector may have a certain image, but it’s hard not to be enthused by the likes of Justin Griggs, whose presentation at the recent Open Space South West event (slides here) was an illuminating discussion of a sector growing in importance.
So when Justin asked for some help in generating a debate online about the future of localism, we were only too pleased to!
The What Next for Localism site we have built is a simple one to allow people to give their views and ideas on what needs to happen next to push forward the localism agenda.
This is quite a departure for the usual way of doing things for NALC, and it’s great that a new approach is being taken. Hopefully it wil mean that a new bunch of people will get involved in NALC’s work that normally don’t bother.
I know that the team are hoping to hear from as many people as possible, with innovative and challenging ideas about the future of localism – so please do visit the site and add your views!
I received an email today, from a local council contact, for me to respond to a consultation about an ongoing piece of work. This was to a web page, where I could download a 25-odd page document, and then an email and physical address where I could send my views. Some immediate problems with it sprung to mind:
- the barrier to entry – reading 25 pages on a screen is hard, so you have to print it out – it’s also quite a big ask in terms of time and attention
- it didn’t give me any questions to answer, or themes to comment on. Just ‘send us any comments’ – doesn’t frame the consultation well
- the method of responding isn’t very intuitive or user friendly
- the whole page had no images, just lots and lots of text
What made this worse was that the subject of the consultation was a digital one – ripe for doing something interesting online!
Luckily for me, we have Fraser Henderson on the team at Kind of Digital, who is a bit of an expert on consultation and played a big part in putting together the Digital Engagement Cookbook, as well as working on numerous other projects.
He’s also built his own knowledge base on consultation good practice, called HelpMeConsult, which is well worth checking out.
Here’s Fraser quick guide to doing online consultation well:
- Spell out a consultation “mandate” (what has been decided and what hasn’t/how results are analysed/timescales/etc)
- Make sure people give informed feedback by presenting background information in an easily digestible format. For example, use video or break questions into chunks.
- Use alerts – for when a consultation of interest is happening, is about to close or when the results are in.
- Allow conversations to form between participants, including debate about the outcome.
- Don’t just ask questions. Think about more interactive input types such as getting people to click or draw – it’s more compelling and a better use of the medium.
Those are Fraser’s tips – anything you would add?
I find this stuff so you don’t have to: