For local councils, the rise of online media signals an opportunity to both broaden the scope and refresh the tone of our democratic conversation. Furthermore, the efficiency-savings that are possible from effective online communication could prove vital as many councils look to maintain frontline services in the afterglow of budget cuts.
In light of this, our next post in this blog series is of particular significance. The Online Councillor of the Year Award seeks to appreciate councillors who have embraced new technologies and used them positively to interact with their communities.
Last year, the 2012 Online Councillor of the Year Award went to Cllr Alison Hernandez from Torbay Council. In addition to maintaining a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Cllr Hernandez used social media to promote local democracy and participation in local government. This was seen most clearly in her successful encouragement of more citizen-led journalism through community blogging sites. Cllr Hernandez also worked tirelessly to engage local businesses and residents in full council debates through Facebook and Twitter, resulting in a tenfold increase in the number of residents involved in those council meetings.
The judges also liked the fact that she could point to concrete “real-world” outcomes from her use of social media. For example, a derelict area was transformed into an award-winning park due to the engagement of local residents in a Facebook group and online survey initiated by Cllr Hernandez.
This year’s Online Councillor of the Year will demonstrate:
- That they are visibly active in social media forums, such as Facebook, twitter and blogging.
- Use of such media to successfully engage with constituents and develop relationships with the community.
- Ability to involve constituents in the council through use of online technologies.
So if you want to celebrate a councillor for their efforts in harnessing new technologies for the benefit of their communities we want to hear from you!
Anyone can nominate a councillor they think deserves recognition and it is free to enter. All you need to do is fill in our Cllr-Awards-2013_nomination-form (Word document).
The C’llr Achievement Awards are proudly supported by: