Town hall tweets bring budget straight to public

Cornwall Council’s emergency budget meeting last week identified millions in savings, and interest in this was understandably high.

Public sector communicators often wrestle with the question of how best to inform the public about key decisions which impact on the services they receive.

In the spirit of openness, the council, local media and elected members have used Twitter to send ‘real time’ information about the decisions (the budget was supported by 60 votes to 39), political reaction and a mischievous flavour that social media is more adept than newspapers at providing.

Whether most people find the snippets of information shotgunned from many sources entirely useful or informative is, of course, a moot point. But it’s impossible to know the answers to this issue without at least asking the questions first (and giving it a go).

This activity, a webcast of the meeting (to be released soon), information on the Council’s website and ‘tradtional’ media relations underlines a commitment to ensure that people are informed in the best and most timely way possible.

It’s that commitment, rather than embracing one ‘tool’ over another, that should be welcomed by local people. I am sure many of them find the tweets of the council (@CornwallCouncil), the Western Morning News (@thisiscornwall) and local councillors worthwhile and engaging.