You’ll probably know this already, but we’re no Johnny-come-latelys to local government webcasting, having pioneered streaming council meetings to the public in the UK.
When you pioneer a service, you have to be prepared to spend time convincing people of its benefits – something we’ve done a fair bit of over the 12 years we’ve been around. All the same, it’s one thing being told by us how good webcasting is and quite another learning from your peers why it works for them. Well… That’s the chance our client, Cheshire West and Chester Council, is offering to fellow councils with its Webcasting Open Day.
It’s on the 2nd of May at Wyvern House, The Drumber, Winsford CW7 1AH – if you want to come along go straight to the bottom of the post!
And if you can’t make it you can watch the webcast of the event here. There will be tweets on the hashtag #webcastday.
Cheshire West & Chester Council has kindly agreed to lay the day on to help others understand how to get the most out of webcasting, offering their vision of the service, sharing best practice and giving practical advice on using streaming services for transparency, engagement and scrutiny.
It’s not about us!
We should stress, of course, this isn’t about selling our products; Cheshire West isn’t interested in doing us a favour – rather, it wants fellow councils to understand how webcasting can be an important part of developing the relationship local authorities have with their citizens. It’s more important to convince people that using a streaming service is a very good idea than to harp on about why we’re brilliant. Without an acceptance of the former, there’s never going to be a chance for the latter.
So while we will be involved in the open day – and Catherine will be introducing her Networked Councillor work – this is much more about Cheshire West and Chester Council. And I thought it might be a good idea to talk briefly about some of the great things they’re doing… just as a sort of teaser…
So here’s a list:-
- Getting value: Cheshire West and Chester Council is keen to make sure staff get maximum value from the system. Webcasting is not used solely to stream and record council meetings. It is also available for other uses, including internal training and other internal meetings, which are often recorded for private use.
- Promoting meetings with social media: Like a number of clients, Cheshire West and Chester make good use of social media to promote meetings to the public – and has developed its use of these avenues as residents have used them more and more.
- Tweeting decisions: In keeping with this move – and the council’s commitment to respond to its customers – Cheshire West and Chester has taken legal advice to ensure that it can tweet council decisions, helping citizens to keep track of meetings.
- Scrutiny and consultation: Cheshire West and Chester has identified that the scrutiny process within local government offers the best way to incorporate citizens’ views into the legislative process. The council is looking at how it can bring these views into its scrutiny work.
- Going mobile: The Council has mobile webcasting kit, allowing it to take meetings to different locations across the borough and ensuring that webcasts can be held from a variety of often quite diverse locations and situations.
- Involving members: while Catherine will be talking about how we should be developing the concept of ‘networked councillors’ for a networked world at the open day, Cheshire West and Chester is an example of a council that has made strides to support members in their use of social media – and to take part in conversations around the political process in the borough. This has been supported, too, by Cheshire West and Chester making social media conversations part of their webcasting provision.
These are, of course, just a taste of the things that will be talked about on the day. You can see the agenda cheshire-west-and-chester-council-open-day, which gives you a flavour of the day.
If you’d like to come along you can contact us – just email Jane Purcell or call 01273 821 282. It’d be great to see you there!