Residents online: opportunities for councils?

I was greatly encouraged by the research published by Networked Neighbourhoods late last year. I’ve written about it here and referred to it in many presentations and surgery sessions I’ve had with councillors.

Their work showed how local, citizen-run websites bring social benefits to residents and the potential for co-production and public sector savings.

I am therefore very excited to be collaborating with Networked Neighbourhoods on a follow up exploration of how councils are making use of these local websites. We expect this research to add further insights of importance to members and officers as local government adjusts to new relationships with citizens.

Want to get involved?

If you are a councillor and would like to take part in the research you can do so here

If you are an officer and would like to take part in the research you can do so here

FREE event

We are also collaborating with the Hansard Society and Networked Neighbourhoods to organise a free seminar in London on this subject on 19 October 2011. Please reserve the date: further details will be circulated shortly or to reserve a place please email me on

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Brookside creator, Phil Redmond, is expected to run for Mayor of Liverpool (c)"]Phil Redmond[/caption] After Eric Pickles backed down on imposing elected Mayors in 12 cities, plans are now gearing up for referenda to be held on the 5th May 2011 in:  Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Wakefield. In Leicester there might be an earlier referendum.   Leicester Mercurys' political reporter David Maclean, who by the way runs a great blog about local politics, reports that the Labour Party in the City is going to trigger a referendum.    Some city politicians have already declared that they will be candidates, promiment amongst them is former council Leader and current  Leicester South MP Sir Peter Soulsby.    Conservative Councillor and former parliamentary candidate Ross Grant might be a contender, as too could former Liberal Democrat MP Parmjit Singh Gill.  There is no guarantee of course that the voters will back the plans in Leicester or in the other 11 cities: of the 37 referendums that have been held to date voters have only opted for an elected Mayor in 13 towns and cities. Over in Liverpool however there is an active campaign for an elected Mayor.  Potential candidates talked about in the City include council Leader Joe Anderson and his Lib Dem predecessor Warren Bradley, while the Brookside creator Phil Redmond is a big figure in the City.  He is a prominent backer of David Cameron's Big Society plans. Meanwhile in Birmingham speculation centres on the cities current political Leaders, the Conservative Council Leader Mike Whitby and his opposite number Sir Albert Bore.   The former Labour MP Sion Simon stood down from parliament earlier this year declaring that he was going to run for Mayor.    Lord Digby Jones is just one of the business Leaders that might come forward.  As far back as 2006 Digby declared his ambition to be elected Mayor and he will back the Yes campaign in the referendum.   Football business woman turned Alan Sugar sidekick, Karen Brady, is also rumoured to be interested. If there is interest I'll follow up with a post on the possible runners and riders in the other referendum cities, please post a comment, speculation welcome too.