Tag Archives: digital

Policing digital streets

25 Jun

This week as I looked forward to the start of the Policing Social Citizens conference in Manchester tomorrow (26th and 27th June) the BBC reported that nearly 1/2 of the crime that frontline cops are dealing with is online including abuse, threats and ASB. You can see the full story here at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27949674

As we have blurred social networks online and offline, feeling safe in both spaces feels important to us. Those of us with a reasonable experience of using social networks will appreciate when something is a genuine threat such as the Caroline Criado Perez incidents but can pretty much manage general anti- social behaviour using the the tools provided by the social networks themselves such as blocking or muting and reporting. The same as in physical streets, we use our experience to decide on keeping ourselves and others safe.

Quick list of the obvious stuff this throws up-

1 Visibility – many services are increasing a regular presence on our social media virtual streets and are increasingly adept at using social networks to work with blurred on and offline networks

2 Clarity on what constitutes online ASB – this term is difficult enough to agree on with offline communities…online, it becomes a nightmare. People are allowed to be cross online and unpleasant online.

3 Understanding the online community – the various digital spaces/ networks within their “patch” and their ability to feed them with the resources they need to prevent issues/ and self service in terms of online safety and perception. Without replicating the lonely officer sitting in a church hall engagement motif!

In Brighton several charities including a domestic abuse charity, a money advice charity and an LGBT mental health charity are delivering services digitally …so this presents an opportunity – but how connected and supported are they in the digital neighbourhood beat? (Note – they probably are as Sussex police do tend to engage well) but how many people can they reach etc… How effectively does the civic network function?

Anyway, this is super rough and ready…you tell me where it’s wrong or point me at better posts!

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UK Gov Camp 2 – imagining the council of 2030

26 Jan

There was a session at the conference I went to yesterday on what the future council might look like. The conversation whilst I was in the session described a change paralysis, funding crisis, and issues with councillors. There are many debates on local council funding and powers and in this post I am not going to touch on those. Not because I don’t have views on those matters but because they tend to get in the way of this conversation which is worth having in its own right.

However where I feel a good place to start on imagining the council of the future is understanding the expectations of 2030 citizens. I believe their expectations will be driven in part by the technological revolution of the social web. So I will focus on those features.

– content creators – I think citizens will expect to create their own answers to issues and be supported by the council. This develops the behaviour in social enterprise and the voluntary sector already there to an extent but which is being driven out or squashed by intense commissioning discussions. More peer to peer support networks, more pop up projects like riots clean up, coats for kids etc will emerge and the future council needs to support and create an environment where these flourish.

– feedback – the culture of trip advisor, eBay, “liking” etc will be important in any service delivery and democratic participation..I think this will drive decision making and conversations and enabling this instantaneous feedback rather than surveys etc will be the new normal.

– direct relationships – I think citizens will have a direct conversation with staff and councillors via digital tools and have a blurred on and offline relationship with them. This challenges the culture of the “invisible” officer working behind the scenes and I can see already an appetite to engage with local councillors.

– wearable and environmental tech – I think that all services will begin to use tech in people’s homes and on their persons to respond to needs or to prevent more expensive crisis prevention. I also think that tech might address environmental issues such as waste management massively, ideas like food waste disposal from sinks, perhaps waste as a asset to be used to 3d print are coming up and I am optimistic that we will have some action by 2030 which has addressed this problem. Already in social care – tech is important in maintaining people in their own homes rather than institutional care.

There is no doubt that like the industrial revolution, the digital revolution is changing our lives and expectations very fast. How do you think the council of 2030 will change to meet the expectations of its citizens by 2030?

UK gov camp 2014

25 Jan

This is just a quick reflections post on my day at this event. It was my first time at the event and I *really* wanted to go. My first two sessions we on increasing voting and getting more young people to vote. I found the sessions really fascinating although I was struck by the overwhelming message that both politics and politicians are the thing that is broken. Obviously, I wanted to know more, sadly the sessions were a little short and very popular to completely develop these conversations today.

Delving deeper, many felt that they should work more openly, more collaboratively, more digitally and in a more networked manner. Good news for the Networked Councillor project I am involved with for Public-I developed with EELGA.

Here are some of the ideas I heard today –

1. More independent councillors at local level – some felt party politics wasn’t relevant at a local level
2. Proportional representation – so all votes count rather than going for the least worst option or spoiling paper
3. That councillors should blog
4. That councillors should work along a community activist method.
5. That councils should work with schools to teach kids about local democracy

I would have liked to see some experimental ideas come out of the sessions and be sketched out that don’t require a constitutional change or “permission” from a statutory sector body to be trialled.

Also, I wonder what we can learn from methods like rock the vote, Speakers Corner projects, City Camps or any projects that have made an effort to increase voter registration and turnout from anywhere.

There wasn’t time to develop some prototype projects today but I look forward to this conversation continuing at UK Vote Camp later in the year.

I also took a UK gov camp selfie with Christine Townsend from Musterpoint because … Why not?

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Solihull – The future council is a social council?

4 Dec

I have been working with officers and community activists in Solihull on projects to implement their vision of a future council which is called The Social Council. It is so interesting to see a Council tackling the uncertainty and complexity of developing a vision and taking practical steps to test it.

The key assumptions that the leadership are making are these:

  • The funding situation is not likely improve so they will be working with less resources (see the Barnet Graph of Doom article in the Guardian)
  • That there is a technological revolution that can be harnessed to transform service delivery
  • And, fundamentally that Web 2.0 or social, interactive media has shifted the public’s expectation of involvement in their services and the decisions made by Councils.

The Social Council is an umbrella term which mostly focuses on the final assumption and these are the objectives as I understand them:

  • To share leadership across the organisation and with the community – to achieve a new normal that they work in a networked rather than hierarchical manner most of the time
  • To actively enable people internally and externally to make best use of social technology to achieve organisational and civic objectives
  • To be ready in both service delivery and democratic arms of the Council to meet the expectations of the public that they can report issues to us, find out about services and engage with all aspects of the organisation via social, mobile technology

Which is cool. And, I am really enjoying supporting this change programme with some project work …not least because the community activists get it, and want it to work very much.
Stop press – just as I finished I saw this tweet which was timely, as this describes the challenges organisations find with these types of change programmes!

Barriers to digital change tweet

Both tweeters well worth a follow btw and the #digileaders tweets worth a look (4/12/13)