What a wonderful world (of local government blogs and blogging) – We Love Local Government
This feels like a shameless plug, but what’s a blog for if you can’t self-promote? I was delighted to be mentioned yesterday in We Love Local Government’s excellent round-up of blogs they deemed to be of interest to the sector. The good folk at WLLG were clearly aware of my lack of posts during Euro 2012 when stating that the blog was worth a peek ‘every now and again’. It’s good to be noticed though. The other blogs are well worth a read by the way.
This in an unexpected post on the We Love Local Government blog which is worth sharing; someone from the sector speaking out in favour of one of its sternest critics. The points made, around the need for openness, transparency and explaining clearly the reasons why the public sector funds particular services, are well put. If taken up, some of the points made by the Taxpayers’ Alliance could be rebutted more effectively.
I’ll be interested to see the debate which follows.
The Guardian has today published a leader in defence of the Freedom of Information Act, saying that any proposed move to restrict its application would be ‘a retrograde step’.
This is in response to Parliamentary considerations on possible reform of the Act and mentions a report from the Ministry of Justice into the volume of requests dealt with by Government departments. It’s interesting that the leader states that the report suggests dealing with FoI requests is ‘increasingly onerous’, when no such language is used in the document.
I was flattered to be asked and duly set about putting my thoughts into a tweet for them to use in a round-up of opinions from the sector and those who work with it (as I do). It was not easy, not least because there are things I don’t like about local government. Sometimes the bureaucratic, jargon heavy, flat-footed approach where a quick, clear and simple response would do is cause for frustration.
‘Engagement’: fashionable yet bankrupt – Canalside View
Martin Weigel writes at length about the industry-wide misuse of the term ‘engagement’ and hits the nail squarely on the head a number of times. The problems he cites in his nine ‘bad habits’ of engagement highlight his main point that the phrase has become so widely used, yet without any common definition or metrics to back it up, that it has come to mean everything and nothing. It’s well-considered, insightful and well worth a read.
‘You know you’ve worked in Local Government for too long when: you see chatting to the person next to you on the bus as a community engagement exercise.’
Using unnecessary capital letters for words like Local Government is a point I’d like to add to their list, but congratulations to the team for producing a great daily digest of life at a local council.
Local Government Oscars – We Love Local Government
I’ve been on the periphery of a couple of entries for the Local Government Chronicle Awards this week, in connection with projects we support. They are fantastic schemes and worthy of recognition. Assembling an award entry can be time consuming and demanding, especially when left to the last minute. Restrictions on photography budgets can make getting high quality up-to-date images to support your entry more difficult. And how many people do you send to the do if you are shortlisted? Done wrong, chasing awards can be decried as a waste of public money. But few people are heard saying that about the winners. This blog post on We Love Local Government sets out some reasons why some awards are worth entering. Others (which will remain nameless) are not worth the hassle.