The fine folk at Hackney have been in touch about digital engagement. Tim Upton, Overview and Scrutiny Officer writes:
Here at Hackney we are pondering how to improve digital engagement with scrutiny. We would love to hear how others are approaching this or if they they are pondering along the same lines. Here are some thoughts as a starter for ten.
Digital engagement with scrutiny
Since the pandemic, public meetings including Scrutiny have become virtual. Despite teething issues with the format, the ease of virtual access has allowed more of the public & a wider array of external guests to participate without having to travel to a physical space, or even commit to an entire meeting. It’s as simple as opening a webpage, something that’s so much more commonplace and attractive to busy people in a modern world.
With conversations now taking place about returning to ‘business as usual’, it’s a crucial time for Scrutiny to examine the situation and try to maintain, harness, and push the momentum that digital meetings have allowed for, and to try and raise the profile of the scrutiny function at this crossroads in how local authorities conduct business.
The opportunity to demystify the purpose of the work and attract new interest is now great and within reach. How to make engagement easy and highly visible should be a major conversation happening between scrutiny departments in the UK.
Digital skills will clearly be of paramount importance for digital Scrutiny to function properly. Including:
- Setting up & maintaining a blog
- Do’s and don’ts of what to write and include
- Synergising with Members’ Social Media
- A dedicated Twitter handle for the Scrutiny function – pros & cons
- Using & Creating Short Videos
- Digital Annual Reports
- How to connect with existing ‘networked neighbourhoods’ in your area
- How to distinguish Scrutiny’s profile from that of the Council
- How to handle angry posts, pile ons and avoiding confrontation