ACTION EIGHT: Hold regular Q and A sessions with Executive Members and get them all blogging regularly by the end of 2014
Only one of the 9 member Executive blogs. In 2014, in a city that wants to be known for its digital successes, this is extraordinary. Other than individual councillors’ surgeries, there appears to be no opportunities for citizens to both hear from and question the Executive members on a regular/predictable basis. Given the general distrust and antipathy that the political class is held in, this is deeply troubling.
By the end of 2014 all nine Executive Members blog regularly.
Hold regular, well-advertised face-to-face events with Executive Members (no more than three at any single meeting).could be held in the Town Hall, and social media used to engage people who were unable to attend, or who wanted to view proceedings at a later date
The Executive Member for the Environment could lead by example by beginning to blog by no later than March 15th.
Given the Culture and Leisure remit, the Exec member for that shouldn’t be far behind.
And given the horrific budget that the Tories are going to force the Council to pass, the Finance Exec shouldn’t be far behind that (with the words “Withington” and “Leech” banned,alright?)
They’ll only get two or three posts in before purdah kicks in, but it’s all about showing willing, isn’t it?
T’others could follow after the elections. There are going to be some new Executive Members then…
Btw, there are plenty of members of the public who have experience with blogging, and would be happy to give the Exec members the benefits of their expertise, pro bono.
Q and A sessions
Before purdah, just have them in the Town Hall, after Executive or full Council. Invite people to film them, live stream them, tweet them etc. Ask for help in publicising them.
Then make a schedule for the rest of the year, with at the very least on per month, tied either to Exec, Full Council, Wythenshawe Area Committee or other events where at least one Exec member was going to be present anyway. Ask for help in publicising these.
Get two Q and A sessions with Exec members before the purdah period starts. Both could/should involve the Exec Member for the Environment.
An expectation to blog and to take part in regular public Q and As should be written into the “job descriptions” of Executive members before the Labour Group (if by some miracle it has more than 49 of the councillors after the May 22nd) chooses who will be the Execs for the coming year(s).
Command & Control/unanswered questions
Should it need any?
The City Council’s website probably has a bit of bandwidth left for eight additional blogs. Failing that, there’s always wordpress.com, eh?
The public meetings could be at zero-cost venues (Castle Grayskull) and on occasions when the Executive Members were going to be there anyway (full Council, Labour Group, Exec etc).
Potential multiplier effects
Not huge. Let’s not kid ourselves, public meetings and Exec blogging will never compete with One Direction and the toe marbles. But it’s the Principle Of The Thing, isn’t it?
Consequences of non-delivery of this action
Same low low levels of understanding of who the Executive members are, what they do etc.
Next short-term action(s)
Get two or three Execs to do this before purdah.
Medium-to-long term actions
Get all the post-May Executive Members to commit to this once the new 9 has been elected.