We all find reasons for not delivering things from time to time. And technology is often blamed as a barrier. So how would you fancy running a press conference from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles: virtually...
Scotland’s island councils celebrated the the successful launch of the ‘Our Islands – Our Future’ campaign via the notoriously challenging method of video conferencing.
Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles Councils came together to launch their campaign for increased powers for island councils following the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 – without leaving their individual island area.
Each Council leader video-conferenced into COSLA’s headquarters in Edinburgh on Monday morning at 11am, where a number of national journalists were waiting. Local journalists were in attendance at each island site.
This arrangement presented many challenges as Communications Team Leader at Orkney Islands Council, David Hartley, explains: “As a local authority we’re used to organising press conferences and campaign launches, but this was completely different to anything we’d ever done before.
“Not only did we need to co-ordinate the work of three different organisations’ teams with their own way of doing things, we also had to put our faith entirely in the video conferencing system.
“As a remote island authority we use video-conferencing on a very regular basis – with the budget pressures and the increasing costs of travel, we can’t always justify attending meetings in person. Video conferencing therefore has its benefits but there’s the drawbacks too - not least the issue of technology failing and the challenge in ensuring that each participant feels involved in the process.
“In the end the conference could not have gone better. Our message literally came through loud and clear and the campaign was picked up by a range of local and national media, across all platforms. It was even picked up in Australia, by the Sydney Herald.
“The press teams in each island authority are small; two staff in Orkney, three in Shetland and just one in the Western Isles, so it’s been a real success story achieved through up to date technology, careful planning, well briefed participants and strong working links between the three island groups.”
The ‘Our Islands – Our Future’ campaign presents the island authorities’ vision for a stronger future for the island councils following the Independence Referendum in 2014.
For more information on the campaign read here.
And you can keep up with the campaign via Orkney Islands Council’s Twitter feed.
Kirsty Groundwater isPress Officer at Orkney Island Council