Further the WordPress survey i have conducted recently i have started to see some really great examples of how councils are looking at opening up and looking at becoming more transparent.
There are many great examples but i’d like to share this one in particular because the Scrutiny Function of councils is not an area you would immediately thought of when considering WordPress, but it is actually a perfect candidate.
Scrutiny committees monitor how the councils Cabinet / Executive Committee puts the Council’s policies into effect, examining in detail how the goals are being met and making recommendations for change and improvement.
They can “call in” a decision which has been made by the Cabinet / Executive Committee but not yet implemented. This enables them to consider whether the decision is appropriate and they may recommend that the Cabinet / Executive Committee reconsiders it.
Opening this process up in a more conversational style and sharing stuff more proactively could allow the public to take a more proactive role in scrutiny in the future – something the Coalition Government are hoping to encourage through greater access to information.
Dave McKenna from Swansea Council introduces the blog in this way:
I suppose I should say a little about why we have set it up. Well the main reason is to share some information about what overview & scrutiny in Swansea is doing in way that is a little more accessible than what you can get from Council agendas, reports and minutes. Hopefully we will also start some conversations around some of the topics we are looking at. We believe that many of the topics will be of real interest to people in Swansea but we also know that awareness of what overview and scrutiny actually is about is very low.
Hence this different approach.
via Swansea Scrutiny.
I hope this approach works for them and encourages other councils to consider doing something similar or building on it.