Last week I came across a brilliant storytelling project called Unsung New Yorkers (from the trenches to the treetops they keep the city running)
The project is a collection of amazing videos shining the light on the day-to-day workload of a range of people - from a lost property attendant to a crew keeping the city sewers clean.
In my opinion the stories are incredibly effective because they don't look like glossy promotional videos, they tell the real tale of real people doing the sort of jobs many of us simply take for granted.
Ring any bells?
My immediate thought as I watched the New York project was that we should do a local government version of this. Not a single council initiative (which would be interesting in its own way) but a UK-wide look at Unsung Heroes.
We know people working in local government do interesting things. We know their efforts often go unnoticed by the wider world. We also know people like to see how their council tax is spent.
Successful projects like #walsall24 have helped shine a light on the thousands of individuals who provide vital services day in, day out. As Walsall Council said at the time: "More than 700 services are offered by local government and many of them go uncelebrated."
So let's celebrate.
There are already videos out there that highlight the work of unsung local government heroes.
Stories like: Ready for Winter 2011-12 (South Lanarkshire Council) really highlight the work undertaken by council officers – the sort of stuff we all take for granted…until there’s nobody there to do it.
So all we have to do is pull these and loads of new stories together into one easily accessible archive.
The stories will be hosted on YouTube or similar platforms and we can then embed them on one website - either an existing site like comms2point0 (if Darren and Dan are OK with that) or a new tailor-made site – nothing fancy, a wordpress.com install will do.
And we don't have to leave it at video, audio diaries on audioboo or photographs on flickr are already used to great effect by councils. If we pull them all together we can in theory reach a much wider audience.
Right, that’s me off my soapbox.
This is just a starter for ten; an idea I think is worth discussing. If you think I’m talking nonsense (it wouldn’t be the first time) please tell me. If you’re interested in working together on a, ‘Unsung local government’ project please let me know in the comments section below. If enough of us fancy having a go, we can discuss what to do next.
Geoff Coleman is a Birmingham-based journalist, local governnment PR and social media fan
Geoff also designed and built Birmingham Newsroom