Thursday, 22 September 2011

More Government Waste - A Twitter Marathon

How many of your family, friends, acquaintances or work colleagues use Twitter on a daily basis?  In my own circle I'm aware of only two and one is me. Most days I spend around ten minutes reading the links from my favourite bloggers.

If you use Twitter, how many of you follow your local council?  I don't.

However, that's of little importance to the financially hamstrung Scottish councils, all of whom are cutting back services because of cuts/efficiency savings imposed by the Scottish government.

From midday on next Tuesday 27 September, for 24 hours, almost all of Scotland's 32 local authorities will take part in a 24-hour Twitter event called What We Do. The aim is 'to give residents an insight into a day in the life of their council'.

Highland Council is among those taking part. Council budget leader David Alston said:

"Councils provide literally hundreds of services around the clock, 365 days a year, and this event will give service users a chance to see one day in the life of a council".  source

I can't speak for Highland Council but my own council severely restricted services from 24 December last year until 5 January. My local town was a death trap to shoppers and those of us who normally need travel by car found it impossible to park in any council car park (all of which make charges).  It's not so many years ago - in such snowy conditions - local farmers, complete with tractors fitted with snowploughs, would have appeared and had town roads and pavements cleared within hours. Not now. Health and safety I was told. Shopkeepers and home owners did their best to clear pavements although that resulted in ever increasing mounds of hard packed snow lying in gutters. Most older people was housebound, afraid they would slip and break a limb.

The 'event' has been organised by the National Communications (Advisory) Group - a taxpayer-funded quango - which has a membership of 74 and website activity of 23 member visits last month plus the excessive number of 3 contributions.  Obviously a highly active organisation which buzzes day and night with promoting their Communities of Practice.  The National Clommunications (sic) Advisory Group (Scotland)'s lead facilitator is Gill Kindness who is possibly responsible for this nonsensical Twitter marathon.

Should you considering registering with the NCAG, be aware of the terms and conditions regarding personal information. 'We collect personal information about you when you register to use the CoP Platform and as and when you use the CoP Platform. We have explained what this information is, what we do with it, and who we share it with and other related matters such as cookies in more detail in our Privacy Policy'.

My advice to NCAG would be, if they're so intent in using Twitter for this social experiment, call it 'What We Intend To Cut After The Budget'.  Maybe then a few council tax payers would read their tweets although I foresee some quite acerbic replies.

Of course, if councils decided to operate a Twitter marathon between this Christmas Eve and the 4 January next year, my opinion could alter, but that won't happen.  This event, I suggest, will be a series of pre-timed tweets. What a waste of money but we have to be grateful it won't be anything on this scale.


billythekid said...

almost every local I follow follows the council's(@AberdeenCC) twitter account. I find they're a valuable direct link to the people behind the scenes. I've even used twitter to report problems.

Our council seems to do twitter properly by not thinking of it as just an advertising platform they reply and interact but I'm sure that's not the case for all councils in Scotland.

billythekid said...

...that almost comes across as if I think the council are actually competent. That's not the case, their twitter use is an exception... ;oP

subrosa said...

Jings Billy, I am impressed. It never crossed my mind my own council would be on twitter. It's not that long ago they didn't have access email accounts and everything had to be done by telephone, or if you wanted it scribed, then by snail mail.

And they reply to you? Even more impressive.

RMcGeddon said...

SR. You get a good idea what your council gets up to by following their credit card payments.
Aberdeenshire Council credit card payments ( above £500) are here...


Aberdeen City Council don't seem to have published their data yet. Maybe they twitter it ;)

RMcGeddon said...

Looking at Aberdeenshire Council credit card spending ( above £500 - dontcha bet a lot of stuff is now £499.99 since the new disclosure policy lol)

We have £512 for banana hoodies ? maybe part of Dave's 'hug a hoodie ' campaign ?

And £1,000 for hair and beauty products. Take more than that to beautify the sheep ;)

subrosa said...

I've been trying to find my own council's credit card spending RM. Maybe they too will tweet it.

RMcGeddon said...

Aye my council is being shy as well SR. Maybe try an FOI request lol. That'll work ( not)
It will be like the MSP's expenses database. All smoke and mirrors designed to make you give up.

subrosa said...

Exactly RM. As individuals we have no power whatsoever and they're not slow in letting us know just that.

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