The annual LGiU C’llr Awards is in its fifth year. When we started the awards in 2010, local authorities were not yet familiar with the social media and digital tools which would go on to revolutionise communications and the delivery of public services. Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Youtube were growing, and growing rapidly, so that today many councils and councillors comfortably incorporate social media and digital tools along with traditional ways of achieving positive change for their communities.
To reflect how councils are using technology in new and innovative ways, LGiU is delighted to relaunch the ‘Online Councillor of the Year’ award as the ‘Digital Innovator of the Year’ Award for 2014. This councillor who wins the ‘Digital Innovator of the Year’ Award will have championed the use of technology to achieve positive change for their community. This could be in a number of ways:
- through use of digital tools to achieve savings for their community
- through use of social media to improve interactions with their constituents
- through use of technology to transform the way the council delivers public services.
Past winners of the ‘Online Councillor of the Year’ have included Cllr David Harrington, from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Cllr Alison Hernandez, from Torbay Council.
Cllr Harrington pioneered the digital agenda within his Council. In an area of historic low engagement, Cllr Harrington succeeded in using online technology to reach out to his constituents. For instance, he is one of the first to set up Skype surgeries (alongside his normal surgeries) to enable engagement with those unable to attend his surgeries in person. Furthermore, Cllr Harrington effectively uses social media to disseminate useful local information and monitor any problems arising within his ward. In addition, as a result of his leadership in online working, Stockton-on-Tees Council now also uses social media. This was especially useful in the September 2012 floods when the Council used Twitter and Facebook to distribute urgent information. Judges were impressed by the innovative ways he has used technology to “do something really different and inspire the local government family”.
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. You can read about past winners of this award here.
If you know a councillor who has used their digital and online skills to deliver positive change for their community, make sure you nominate them for the Digital Innovator of the Year Award 2014. The awards are open now! Find out how to nominate a councillor here.