The #OurDay initiative aims to paint a picture of what local government does. And with key decisions on spending coming up there's never been a better reason to get involved. And there are tools to help you, too.
On Wednesday, councils across the country will be taking part in #OurDay, the fourth annual tweetathon to highlight the huge range of work that goes on all day, every day in local government.
Last year, over 8,000 accounts tweeted 16,500 posts to more than three million people in 24 hours – and with #OurDay 2015 taking place just one week before the Chancellor’s Spending Review, we want this year’s event to be even bigger.
We need to make sure that people know just how much local government does, making people’s lives better through everything from day-to-day tasks right up to life-changing interventions.
It isn’t too late to get involved, and there are lots of reasons why it’s worth taking part for anything from a few minutes to a whole day.
Everyone knows that the council collects the bins, but do they know about the support groups you run, your cycling safety courses or the 2am calls you get to pick up a stray dog? A council’s reputation – and residents’ trust in it – is directly linked to how well informed people feel about the services being provided, and council tax is a significant outgoing for most households, so this is a great opportunity to show residents what they’re getting for their money!
Every service is an opportunity to tell a story – whether it’s the number of affordable homes that you’ve delivered to help people stay in the villages where they grew up, or the event you ran to help boost apprenticeship opportunities.
Tweets with photos and video work best – show residents that the council is human, that real people are delivering their services. Getting councillors involved will show residents the work that their elected representatives carry out for them every day; a lot of this normally goes on behind the scenes, so many councillors will relish the chance to demonstrate how they’re representing their communities.
Stats are also popular, giving scale to the task faced by councils every day – from the number of people receiving care in their homes, to how many phone calls are answered, to how many miles of roads are swept. People are often surprised at just how many lives a council impacts upon every day.
Getting involved is worth it from an internal perspective too. Residents like to see real people out doing the work that keeps their communities going, so feedback on the day is usually incredibly positive. If your councillors and senior management are involved and kept up-to-date with responses, this can be a real eye-opener about the value of good communications and social media.
And don’t underestimate how important it is to staff to have their work recognised – public services get a lot of bad press, so being part of a national celebration of everything good going on is great for morale.
We’ve got a tool kit on our website to help you to get involved, and we’d love to see as many councils as possible taking part. Those of us working in local government know just how important our work is for our communities – let’s take this opportunity to show how proud we are!
David Holdstock, Director of Communications, Local Government Association