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UK Councils Social Media Reputation Index for March 2012

This month:

  • The top 20 UK councils for new online buzz
  • Spotlights stories:
    • Twitter hits MJ Headlines
    • Investment Under Scrutiny
    • New Cities announced
    • Boris Learns a Lesson in Social Media
    • Buzz and Media Mix – News v Blogs v Twitter etc
    • Council Service Buzz

The Top 20

These are the councils that have seen the biggest increases in the volume of online buzz they are attracting. The biggest movers (subject to them attaining a minimum number of references during the month – Districts = 100 mentions, Counties and Unitaries = 300) for this month are:

Top 20

Top 20

Spotlight stories

Now let’s take a look at some of the stories behind the buzz…

Twitter Hits MJ Headlines

It seems from the recent headlines in The MJ Magazine that some councils are struggling to realise the financial savings that the likes of Twitter and Facebook have to offer, and many are saying that they believe there are significant benefits but are unable to prove it.

MJ Headline

MJ Headline

Over 54% of the 67 local authorities questioned in a recent poll felt that using social media had improved customer satisfaction and 35% said it had reduced the number of telephone interactions  and there are even indications that face to face avoidable contact has been improved.

Measuring the effectiveness of social media is tough especially with such new and evolving channels and we’re all still learning about the best ways to use them – but there is no denying it’s power and influence in shaping our future practice, Traditional evaluation  methods just don’t work with social media , at least not in the short term.  Measuring return on investment isn’t a simple equation but what is certain is that NOT doing social media has bigger consequences – so the important thing at this stage is to start investing and thinking about future-proofing customer access strategies.

Investment Under Scrutiny

Investing time, focus and money in social media is vital. Ensuring you understand the variety of media through which your customers communicate, becoming experts in the different conversations you can have with them and learning to interact with, not just respond to, your citizens- all are essential to the success of a social media strategy.

west sussex story

west sussex story

Many councils, however, are coming under criticism for spending time and money on social media. Take, for instance, the recent debate at West Sussex Council who invested £40,000 in setting up a YouTube channel, some of the content of which has been viewed as arbitrary and questions raised about the level of investment. Public reaction here has been centred around cost.  It’s important to bear in mind that most users will see these channels as “free” and therefore do not see what the investment is based on. This doesn’t however mean the channel or the communication has no value – the nature of social media is that it can reach unknown audiences and in many respects the communication is untargeted. This makes evaluation of communications more important- are you reaching the right people in the right way? How do you know it’s working? It will take time for the real monetary benefits of using social media to manifest, in the meantime maybe it’s more important to satisfy ourselves that we are adapting to new channels, different ways of interacting and maximising the opportunities to reach out to citizens.

New Cities Announced

Three British towns were granted city status in March as part of the Queen’s Jubilee Celebration year. Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph were chosen from 22 applications to receive the honour.  All three new city councils received a huge increase in social media activity on release of the announcement. The reaction to the news was generally positive, especially for St Asaph Council who allegedly only spent around £300 to complete their submission! We look forward to seeing if the new accolades have any bearing on the perception of these councils  in the longer term !

New cities story

New cities story

Boris Learns A Lesson In Social Media

Boris Johnson has been a great advocate of Twitter and has used it as an effective communications tool for some time. Last month, however, he came a little unstuck when he took the @mayoroflLondon Twitter feed, along with it’s 200,000 followers and changed to a more personal @borisjohnson, and all around the time of the launch of his re-election campaign.

There are no rules about what you call yourself on Twitter and you are able to change the name of a Twitter feed, as long as the name isn’t already taken.  But this caused a backlash, with many reacting that @mayorofLondon was about the role and not about Boris as an individual AND that Boris was taking advantage of the not insignificant level of “followership” to boost his campaign promotion audience figures. As soon as the outcry began the feeds were restored and Boris has now developed the @backboris2012 feed as the focus for telling everyone way he should keep his job.

Boris the Tweeter

Boris the Tweeter

So, while Mr Johnson did nothing wrong per se, it was yet another high profile lesson learnt about social media identity and keeping conflicting interests separate in a particularly transparent medium.

Buzz and Media Mix

Next, this month’s total references to ‘Councils’ online which shows there has been another increase in activity – reinforcing that the increase trend in social media is continuing.

Total Buzz March 2012

Total Buzz March 2012

And this month’s Media Mix  saw all media increase in activity and the return of “Forums” as the 3rd highest volume medium, overtaking Blogs.

Media  Mix March 2012

Media Mix March 2012

Council Service Buzz

Finally, here’s a look at the top trending council services in March.

Servicetrends March 2012

Servicetrends March 2012

Education was the top story feed this month, centred around the news that Kent County Council are to extend an existing Grammar School reigniting the old debate around selecting pupils based on academic ability.

Notes

PublicServiceMonitor images and chart data may be used provided PublicServiceMonitor is credited accordingly.

For a more comprehensive service description please look at www.publicservicemonitor.com/about

Monthly Buzz Index methodology – Details can be found here

About PublicServiceMonitor – PublicServiceMonitor trawls the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, searching through news, blogs, forums and social media sites. It reads through all of this information and summarises what’s being said about UK councils, and can even tell you whether the sentiment is positive or negative (similar to the election worm we have seen at #leadersdebate). The service was launched in December 2009 so is still quite early on, but by measuring a benchmark group of councils on a consistent basis we hope to be able to provide some national trend information relating to what people are saying about their councils – and how they choose to say it.

Categories: Uncategorized

UK Councils – Customer Access Index January 2012

Welcome to the review of GovMetric data. This time we are looking at January 2012

This index is based on aggregated data from 70 UK councils, gathered monthly through www.govmetric.com.

This month:

  • Monthly Spotlight – Highest multi-channel satisfaction scores
  • Monthly Spotlight – Highest per channel satisfaction scores
  • Find out where you rank amongst other councils with our satisfaction tier chart
  • UK Councils – Channel Access Ratios
  • UK Councils – Highest volume service demand
  • Methodology for Monthly Spotlights

Monthly Spotlights 

The first table looks at overall satisfaction on a multi-channel basis:

Overall Satisfaction Ranks Jan 2012

Overall Satisfaction Ranks Jan 2012


The second table looks at customer satisfaction with the Face to Face channel:

F2F Satisfaction Ranking Jan2012

F2F Satisfaction Ranking Jan2012

The third table looks at customer satisfaction with the telephone channel:

 

Tel Satisfaction Ranking Jan2012

Tel Satisfaction Ranking Jan2012


The fourth table looks at customer satisfaction with the web channel:

Web Satisfaction Ranking Jan2012

Web Satisfaction Ranking Jan2012

UK Councils – Channel Access Ratios & Highest volume service demand

This is where we take a look at the two key charts from the national trends data – channel ratios and service volume trends for UK councils in the sample.

Volume Interaction trend jan2012

Volume Interaction trend jan2012

Service Volume Trend Jan 2012

Service Volume Trend Jan 2012

Methodology for Monthly Spotlights

The monthly spotlights are calculated using aggregated data from 70 UK councils. The methodology is as follows:

Overall satisfaction is based on GovMetric councils which have achieved the required total number of feedbacks across a minimum of 2 channels:

  • County – min of 800 feedbacks for the month
  • Unitary – min of 800 feedbacks for the month
  • District – min of 400 feedbacks for the month

Channel satisfaction is based on GovMetric councils which have achieved the required number of channel feedbacks across a minimum of 1 channel:

  • County – min of 400 feedbacks for the month
  • Unitary – min of 400 feedbacks for the month
  • District – min of 200 feedbacks for the month

Notes

Populations circa 2009.
The arrows indicate the council’s position on the chart compared to the previous month’s results.

Data is sourced from www.govmetric.com. GovMetric is a customer experience measurement service that enables you to listen to the Voice of the Customer across all contact channels, to prioritise which areas to improve and to measure improvements through near real-time reporting.

As the data used is a fixed snapshot taken at the end of each month there may be minor variances to the data seen in GovMetric reporting due to final data updates after the end of the month, mapping updates etc.

For a demo of how GovMetric works please visit http://www.govmetric.com/demo.  Make sure you have volume turned on!

Categories: Uncategorized

UK Councils Social Media Reputation Index for January 2012

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

This month:

  • The top 20 UK councils for new online buzz
  • Spotlights stories:
    • Warming up for a bumper year of celebrations!
    • Birmingham City Council uses Twitter to promote live video streaming of council meetings
    • Council Services Activity –our view of the social media activity around the main council services
    • Buzz and Media Mix – News v Blogs v Twitter etc

The Top 20

These are the councils that have seen the biggest increases in the volume of online buzz they are attracting. The biggest movers (subject to them attaining a minimum number of references during the month – Districts = 100 mentions, Counties and Unitaries = 300) for this month are:

Image

Spotlight stories

Now let’s take a look at some of the stories behind the buzz…

Councils start to gear up for a bumper year of celebration!

Much of the buzz this month has been around council plans for celebrating both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend and this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

Many councils have set up funding  to help their citizens  to get in the party mood  – East Dorset council announced it would be setting up a grant of £30,000 causing widespread media attention and catapulting them to the pole position in our Top 20.

Newark and Sherwood Council and Basingstoke and Dean Council were also among the headliners in one of the top national news stories in January.

As the preparations continue it will be interesting to monitor the impact the two big events of this year have on council reputation and the amount of buzz they generate. It looks like many councils will be capitalising on what the LGA have predicted will be a bumper year of celebrations and an ideal opportunity to raise community spirit and engage in some positive communications.

Birmingham City Council promote live video streaming of Council meetings via Twitter

Image

Birmingham City Council are successfully streaming live video of their council meetings over the internet and using twitter to publicise their events. With over 4,700 followers on Twitter (many of which are proactive retweeters), and a consistent communication strategy – this is a really cost effective way of engaging and educating the community in council business. This is a great example of using social media to create your own buzz and opening up dialogue with citizens.

Council Services – Social Media Activity

We’re pleased to be able to reintroduce our monthly report on social media activity for council services. This report tracks the 17 main council services and looks at the buzz trends surrounding them…

Image

We can see some significant peaks in activity occurring during January, the most notable being the reaction to the Welfare Reform Bill which created nationwide media coverage of the protesting groups and the Government rebuttal that ensued.

Council Tax was also causing a storm this month as it was revealed that some local authorities would reject Government funding initiatives to freeze council tax bills and increase council tax for residents by up to 3.5%.

Look out for next month’s service index and the headline stories that have been talked about.

Buzz and Media Mix

Next, this month’s total references to ‘Councils’ online which shows there has been little change on last month’s volume of activity…

Image

 

And this months Media Mix results show that there was still plenty of news to be had in January, however the Twitter volumes fell for the second month in a row….

Image


Notes

PublicServiceMonitor images and chart data may be used provided PublicServiceMonitor is credited accordingly.

For a more comprehensive service description please look at www.publicservicemonitor.com/about 

Monthly Buzz Index methodology – Details can be found here

About PublicServiceMonitor – PublicServiceMonitor trawls the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, searching through news, blogs, forums and social media sites. It reads through all of this information and summarises what’s being said about UK councils, and can even tell you whether the sentiment is positive or negative (similar to the election worm we have seen at #leadersdebate). The service was launched in December 2009 so is still quite early on, but by measuring a benchmark group of councils on a consistent basis we hope to be able to provide some national trend information relating to what people are saying about their councils – and how they choose to say it.

Categories: Uncategorized

UK Councils – Customer Access Index October & November 2011

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Welcome to the review of GovMetric data. We are looking at both October and November 2011, following the Christmas break.

This index is based on aggregated data from 70 UK councils, gathered monthly through www.govmetric.com.

This month:

  • Monthly Spotlight – Highest multi-channel satisfaction scores
  • Monthly Spotlight – Highest per channel satisfaction scores
  • Find out where you rank amongst other councils with our satisfaction tier chart
  • Feature story – Post Offices and Local Government delivering services in partnership
  • UK Councils – Channel Access Ratios
  • UK Councils – Highest volume service demand
  • Methodology for Monthly Spotlights

Monthly Spotlights 

The first table looks at overall satisfaction on a multi-channel basis:

October

oct all

oct all

November

nov all

nov all


The second table looks at customer satisfaction with the Face to Face channel:

October

oct f2f

oct f2f

November

nov f2f

nov f2f

The third table looks at customer satisfaction with the telephone channel:

October

oct tel

oct tel


November

nov tel

nov tel


The fourth table looks at customer satisfaction with the web channel:

October

oct web

oct web


November

nov web

nov web

Finally, this chart looks at the number of Feedback gathered:

October

oct feedback

oct feedback


November

nov feedback

nov feedback

Nearly 30,000 pieces of feedback were collected by the Top 10 councils this month.


Post Offices and Local Government delivering services in partnership

Post Office Ltd is the largest retail and financial services chain in the UK – bigger than all of the UK’s banks and building societies put together. Considered to be vital community assets in both urban and rural areas, 99% of the UK population is within 3 miles their nearest Post Office, and 90% is within 1 mile.

post office

post office

But with the mail market in decline, the government is encouraging the Post Office to expand its financial and government services. This will include more local authority involvement in the planning, delivery and level of post office service provision, and further developing the Post Office network as a Front Office for the government at both the national and local level. More details about the proposals can be found here.

In other countries, local government services are provided through post offices to good effect. These include the payment of childcare fees in Australia, applications for disabled parking permits in Italy and pre-paid city and airport parking in Ireland. Post offices in Switzerland are hubs for local government information, notices and newsletters and post offices in Ireland display local authority planning department information. In the UK, over 300 councils already use the Post Office for delivering some services.

There are potential benefits for both sides. For the Post Office, it will help to secure the financial viability of the network; for local councils, it presents the opportunity to deliver services through a wide-reaching, well-trusted channel while also achieving significant cost savings.  Older, poorer and other vulnerable citizens (who regularly use post offices and do not always have access to online services) will also benefit; the Post Office network includes 1,500 branches offering services in deprived urban neighbourhoods, and in many rural areas the local Post Office is the sole retail and financial services provider.

Some of the services that the Post Office can support councils to deliver include:

  • Cash collection from residents – rents, business rates, council tax, parking fines, penalty charge notices, licence fees
  • Payments to residents – asylum seekers, care leavers, school uniform vouchers, rebates
  • Form checking – benefits, planning and concessionary travel applications
  • Identity checking and verification – customer relationship management, enrolment, change in circumstances.
  • Assistance with online applications.

Below are some recent and forthcoming pilots and projects.

 Westminster City Council

In September 2011, the Post Office signed a contract to provide through its branches a suite of managed services on behalf of Westminster City Council. The first two services to go live were parking penalty charge payments and applications for resident parking permits. Other services to be offered through Post Office branches will be casual parking scratch cards, casual trader vouchers, ordering commercial waste bags and collection as well as Business rate and Council tax payment.

Westminster cabinet member for customer services and transformation Cllr Melvyn Caplan said: “This innovative deal with the Post Office will give Westminster residents more choice of where to make their cash or cheque payments across the borough. The fact residents can pay a wide range of services in one spot – everything from council tax to parking permits – also increases convenience and efficiency.”

The Post Office’s head of regulation strategy Mike Granville added: “We are pleased to bring on board Westminster City Council, which joins the large number of companies that already trust and rely on the Post Office to manage payments services on their behalf. Innovative contracts like this deliver access and convenience to the customers of the council’s services as well as ensuring that more people come through the doors of our Post Office branches, which will help to sustain our valuable branch network into the future.”

 

Ryedale District Council
Last September, Ed Davey (Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs) announced that 25 councils would be invited to explore a partnership with the Post Office similar to that in place with Westminster City Council. One of these was Rydale District Council. The council was already reviewing post offices in its district to pre-empt threatened closures when the Royal Mail Group approached it. The authority has been asked to work with Post Office Ltd and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help shape the future of the network. The partnership will see the authority discuss how more of its services can be offered through local post offices.

 

Sheffield City Council
In November 2010, Sheffield City Council, the Post Office and the National Federation of Subpostmasters began a pilot to make Post Office branches a front office of Government and public services across the city. Building on the 700,000 transactions Post Office already carries out on behalf of the council, the pilot was designed to improve access to local public services through Post Offices whilst increasing Post Office sustainability. The pilot is now being evaluated and early findings are positive.

Welsh Assembly
In 2009, the Welsh Assembly Government sponsored a trial of the Post Office Validate service with two local authorities in Wales: Cardiff Council and Conwy County Borough Council. Validate was used as a housing benefit error and fraud detection and prevention service for local authorities. The service used targeted mailshots to encourage customers to report changes in circumstances via local post office branches (as well as presenting other options, including mail). Cardiff Council has seen this as a successful trial: “The pilot has been very successful. 67% of customers opted to use the Post Office rather than visit the council’s offices and satisfaction rates with the service have been very high. Changes to benefit amounting to £85,000 per week have been identified.”

Does your council offer services through local Post Offices? Have you got any plans to expand this over the next 12 months? Perhaps you are you one of the 25 councils that has been approached to form partnerships? We would love to hear from you.


UK Councils – Channel Access Ratios & Highest volume service demand

This is where we take a look at the two key charts from the national trends data – channel ratios and service volume trends for UK councils in the sample.

nov channels

nov channels

nov services

nov services

No significant changes this month.


Methodology for Monthly Spotlights

The monthly spotlights are calculated using aggregated data from 70 UK councils. The methodology is as follows:

Overall satisfaction is based on GovMetric councils which have achieved the required total number of feedbacks across a minimum of 2 channels:

  • County – min of 800 feedbacks for the month
  • Unitary – min of 800 feedbacks for the month
  • District – min of 400 feedbacks for the month

Channel satisfaction is based on GovMetric councils which have achieved the required number of channel feedbacks across a minimum of 1 channel:

  • County – min of 400 feedbacks for the month
  • Unitary – min of 400 feedbacks for the month
  • District – min of 200 feedbacks for the month

Notes

Populations circa 2009.
The arrows indicate the council’s position on the chart compared to the previous month’s results.

Data is sourced from www.govmetric.com. GovMetric is a customer experience measurement service that enables you to listen to the Voice of the Customer across all contact channels, to prioritise which areas to improve and to measure improvements through near real-time reporting.

As the data used is a fixed snapshot taken at the end of each month there may be minor variances to the data seen in GovMetric reporting due to final data updates after the end of the month, mapping updates etc.

For a demo of how GovMetric works please visit http://www.govmetric.com/demo.  Make sure you have volume turned on!

Categories: Uncategorized

UK Councils Social Media Reputation Index for December 2011

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

This month:

  • The top 20 UK councils for new online buzz
  • Spotlights stories:
    • Stirling Council: #hurricanebawbag – would your council have had the balls to use this hashtag?
    • South Northamptonshire Council: Silverstone ‘masterplan’ granted planning permission
    • Horsham District Council: Safety warnings over fake vodka
    • Buzz and Media Mix – News v Blogs v Twitter etc

The Top 20

These are the councils that have seen the biggest increases in the volume of online buzz they are attracting. The biggest movers (subject to them attaining a minimum number of references during the month – Districts = 100 mentions, Counties and Unitaries = 300) for this month are:

top 20

top 20

Spotlight stories

Now let’s take a look at some of the stories behind the buzz…

Stirling Council: #hurricanebawbag – would your council have had the balls to use this hashtag?

For many, the 8th December was a proud day to be Scottish. Despite the brutal hurricane-force winds battering the country, many Scots had a smile on their face as Scotland found itself at the centre of a media storm over its affectionate naming of the storm as “hurricane bawbag”.

For those unfamiliar with colloquial Scots, the term bawbag means scrotum. The mischievous epithet sparked a trending topic on Twitter, with #hurricanebawbag quickly becoming one of the top trending hashtags worldwide. Just a couple of hours after the term was coined there was already Hurricane Bawbag merchandise on sale, and by 5pm, the hurricane had its own Twitter and Facebook pages.

bawbag facebook

bawbag facebook

The hurricane’s Facebook page has a huge number of ‘Likes’

The worldwide adoption of the term – which utterly outstripped the official but comparatively dull name Hurricane Friedhelm and the hashtag #scotstorm – led to a dilemma for local authorities and the more upright members of the media community. What should they call it?

Hurricane Bawbag was cheerily adopted by STV and the Daily Record, but the name did not appear on the BBC website, and the Herald and Scotsman ignored it.

At lunchtime, Stirling Council broke ranks and became the first (and only) council to use the term in the following tweet:

stirling bawbag tweet

stirling bawbag tweet

This sparked a retweeting frenzy (in itself, highly unusual for council communications) and a great deal of popular approval:

bawbag tweets

bawbag tweets

Just a few of the dozens of tweets applauding the council’s use of ‘bawbag’

Sadly, it wasn’t long before the council thought better of its rather risqué tweet, and it mysteriously disappeared from its twitter stream. We can only speculate as to the internal council dialogue that led to its removal (“You said what?!! Do you know what it means?!!), but it does raise an interesting question. Was the council right to use a highly popular (if somewhat improper) nickname, and thus broadcast important information to the widest possible audience? Or was it inappropriate? What do you think? What would you have done?

South Northamptonshire Council: Silverstone ‘masterplan’ granted planning permission

silverstone graph

silverstone graph

Graph showing South Northamptonshire Council social media mentions during December, spiking on 16th December following the announcement of the planning approval for the Silverstone site

The council seeing the biggest rise in social media buzz this month was South Northamptonshire, following the approval of the Silverstone ‘masterplan’ for extensive development around the circuit. Jointly approved by Aylesbury Vale District Council (#3 in the top 20), the development will provide a mix of uses including offices, distribution facilities, three hotels, new spectator facilities, a museum of motorsport and an educational campus with accommodation.

The majority of the social media interest came from the motorsport industry and associated blogs, with little activity seen on Twitter or Facebook. SNC themselves did not tweet about the news, despite issuing a press release the day after the plans were approved.

This highlights the need for councils to integrate social media with their traditional communications function. SNC’s own Economic Development Strategy identifies the Silverstone site as of “vital strategic importance”; at a time of gloomy economic forecasts, this is a major ‘good news’ story for the region and deserves to be shared.

Horsham District Council: Safety warnings over fake vodka

In the run up to 2011’s New Year’s celebrations, trading standards teams for a number of councils issued warnings about the risks of conterfeit vodka. The story was widley picked up by the National Press, and included Horsham District Council’s warning over finding fake vodka that was found to contain industrial solvent Propan-2-ol.

In actual fact, the warning from Horsham District Council was originally issued the previous month, in November, and was announced on the Council’s Facebook page:

vodka warning

vodka warning

The story was reposted on the ‘Horsham UK’ Facebook wall, a very popular community. It is worth having a look to see how powerful Facebook can be when used well.

http://www.facebook.com/horsham.uk
 

Buzz and Media Mix

Next, this month’s total references to ‘Councils’ online is:

total buzz

total buzz

media mix

media mix


Notes

PublicServiceMonitor images and chart data may be used provided PublicServiceMonitor is credited accordingly.

For a more comprehensive service description please look at www.publicservicemonitor.com/about

Monthly Buzz Index methodology – Details can be found here

About PublicServiceMonitor – PublicServiceMonitor trawls the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, searching through news, blogs, forums and social media sites. It reads through all of this information and summarises what’s being said about UK councils, and can even tell you whether the sentiment is positive or negative (similar to the election worm we have seen at #leadersdebate). The service was launched in December 2009 so is still quite early on, but by measuring a benchmark group of councils on a consistent basis we hope to be able to provide some national trend information relating to what people are saying about their councils – and how they choose to say it.

Categories: Uncategorized

UK Councils Social Media Reputation Index for November 2011

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

This month:

  • The top 20 UK councils for new online buzz
  • Spotlights stories:
    • Lewes District Council: Exploding parking meters and a community success story
    • Oxford City Council: Outcry over taxi CCTV proposals
    • Newcastle City Council: Council defy the renaming of St James Park
    • Buzz and Media Mix – News v Blogs v Twitter etc

The Top 20

These are the councils that have seen the biggest increases in the volume of online buzz they are attracting. The biggest movers (subject to them attaining a minimum number of references during the month – Districts = 100 mentions, Counties and Unitaries = 300) for this month are:

top 20

top 20

Spotlight stories

Now let’s take a look at some of the stories behind the buzz…

Lewes District Council: Exploding parking meters and a community success story

lewes graph

lewes graph

Graph showing Lewes District Council social media mentions during November, spiking on 24th November following the parking meter attacks.

The town of Lewes has again been targeted by vandals who are delighting in blowing up parking meters in protest against parking charges.

The campaign started in 2004 after Lewes District Council introduced on-street parking charges to ease congestion in the narrow streets. After a period of peace, it now it appears that parking wars have broken out again, with one machine completely destroyed.

The story was quickly picked up by the national press, obviously tickled by the thought of rebellious, firework-wielding Lewesians taking matters into their own hands.  More interesting to us, however, was the discussion on the community website lewes.co.uk.

At a time when many community websites have found themselves utterly overtaken by more current forms of social media – such as Facebook and Twitter – lewes.co.uk has bucked the trend and appears relevant and well used.

In the days following the attacks, the site’s forum hosted several discussions about the parking problems faced by the town, and how to solve them. Although a certain amount of council-bashing is probably inevitable in such spaces, the majority of the debate was well-informed and remained focussed on possible solutions.

So what has kept lewes.co.uk flourishing while others have languished?

In part it is the content – alongside the old stalwarts of community sites (think forums, free ads, and event calendars) the site also boasts live a twitter feed, property pages pulling content from RightMove, last minute hotel deals served by LateRooms, ticket booking, and up-to-date business listings. Perhaps a strong sense of community and a ‘keeping it local’ ethos is also a factor.

Either way, a successful community site can be fantastic asset to the local area by promoting local businesses, supporting tourism and also as a platform of consultation. Local councils would do well to look to their community sites and see how they can support them.

lewes forum

lewes forum

Lewes.co.uk hosted discussions on solving parking problems in the town.

Oxford City Council: Outcry over taxi CCTV proposals

The world of social media is always excited by any talk of sinister Big Brother goings-on. This month Oxford City Council caused almost universal outcry when it announced plans to place closed circuit television cameras inside all its licensed taxis by 2015. It is believed to be the first such scheme to record sound as well as images.

oxford taxi

oxford taxi

The national press took hold of the story on 14th November, and the reports typically led with led with the vociferous opposition to the scheme by civil liberties campaigners. The news spread quickly on Twitter, and Oxford City Council was mentioned in over 200 separate tweets about the story, generally in a negative light.

The council’s own statement highlighted that the move had been designed to improve safety and had been drawn up in consultation with taxi drivers, and that the recordings would be encrypted and only accessible in the event of a police investigation, or an investigation into a complaint against a driver.

However, although the statement appeared on its website, the council failed to tweet a reference to it, or engaged in any dialogue on Twitter. It also seems not to have proactively promoted the statement on its Facebook page, only responding two days later when appears that offensive messages had been posted and subsequently removed.

oxford facebook

oxford facebook

Oxford City Council’s only response in social media to the CCTV taxi story

Given that the story was always going to be controversial, it seems a shame that the Council did not take the lead in promoting its own position in social media, before it was overtaken by the voices of opposition.

Newcastle City Council: Council defy the renaming of St James Park
November might not have been a great month for Oxford City Council in terms of social media sentiment, but Newcastle City Council can relish the satisfaction of having taken a hugely popular stance.

When Newcastle United announced that St James’ Park – home to Newcastle United – was to be renamed the “Sports Direct Arena” for commercial reasons, fans were absolutely horrified. On the 10th November, NCC made an official statement in opposition to the decision, recognising that changing the name “without consultation, will upset the overwhelming majority of fans who loyally support the team” and went on to state that it “has no plans to change any existing wayfinding signs which bear the name St James’ Park.” Hundreds of Tweets and retweets supporting the Council’s decision then followed.

newcastle tweets

newcastle tweets

The council’s decision not to support the renaming of St James Park was hugely popular

Buzz and Media Mix

Next, this month’s total references to ‘Councils’ online is:

council buzz

council buzz

This month sees an increase in buzz, driven by some big stories featuring some our selected councils – Cardiff (man admits murder of council worker), Glasgow (Unite workers at GCC back strike) and Essex (teenager fights to save care home).

media mix

media mix

This uptick is reflected in all of the different sources.


Notes

PublicServiceMonitor images and chart data may be used provided PublicServiceMonitor is credited accordingly.

For a more comprehensive service description please look at www.publicservicemonitor.com/about

Monthly Buzz Index methodology – Details can be found here

About PublicServiceMonitor – PublicServiceMonitor trawls the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, searching through news, blogs, forums and social media sites. It reads through all of this information and summarises what’s being said about UK councils, and can even tell you whether the sentiment is positive or negative (similar to the election worm we have seen at #leadersdebate). The service was launched in December 2009 so is still quite early on, but by measuring a benchmark group of councils on a consistent basis we hope to be able to provide some national trend information relating to what people are saying about their councils – and how they choose to say it.

Categories: Uncategorized

UK Councils – Customer Access Index September 2011

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Welcome to the review of GovMetric data for September 2011.

This index is based on aggregated data from 70 UK councils, gathered monthly through www.govmetric.com.

This month:

  • Monthly Spotlight – Highest multi-channel satisfaction scores
  • Monthly Spotlight – Highest per channel satisfaction scores
  • Find out where you rank amongst other councils with our satisfaction tier chart
  • Feature story – There’s an app for that: How councils are going mobile
  • UK Councils – Channel Access Ratios
  • UK Councils – Highest volume service demand
  • Methodology for Monthly Spotlights

Monthly Spotlights 

The first table looks at overall satisfaction on a multi-channel basis:

all

all

North Kesteven District Council hold on to the top spot for a second month – well done!

The second table looks at customer satisfaction with the Face to Face channel:

f2f

f2f

Kensington & Chelsea and Exeter make it into this month’s top 10.

 The third table looks at customer satisfaction with the telephone channel:

tel

tel

Dundee City Council continues to rise up the table.


The fourth table looks at customer satisfaction with the web channel:

web

web

Well done to North East Lincolnshire – a great performance.

Finally, this chart looks at the number of Feedback gathered:

feedback

feedback

Over 30,000 pieces of feedback were collected by the Top 10 councils this month.


There’s an app for that: How councils are going mobile

Predictions show that 50% of the UK population will own a smartphone by 2012. This month we are taking a look at some of the different options available to councils wanting to take advantage of the smartphone revolution to deliver lower cost and convenient services to citizens.

Barnet Council: developed its own app

Last month, Barnet launched its own Smartphone app, which has been designed and created in-house. It enables users to find out local information, see the latest council jobs, contact their local councillor, find answers to common questions and get involved in local consultations. Residents can also pay for their council tax, sign-up for pay-by-phone parking or search an interactive map of local activities via the application. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and the iPad and an application for Android is currently being developed and will be launched in due course.

Councillor Robert Rams, Cabinet Member for Customer Access and Partnerships said: “By launching the official Barnet Council’s app, we are not only increasing the number of ways residents can contact and engage with the council, but are achieving this in a cost effective way, proving excellent value for money to the taxpayer. Smartphone applications are now widely used by many companies, but as far as we are aware, Barnet is one of the first local authorities to design and launch its own unique version.”

barnet

barnet

See also
http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/barnet-mobile/id467700560?mt=8

Wychavon District Council: uses the Looking Local app

Wychavon District Council has adopted the Looking Local platform to provide mobile access to online services. This platform has grown out of the DigiTV National e-Gov Project, and it enables subscribing organisations to deliver content to TV, smartphones, mobile web, social networks & games consoles.

Central to the Looking Local app is the ‘Report It’ feature, which enables users to quickly report local issues such as graffiti, abandoned vehicles, potholes, damage to street furniture, anti-social behaviour and dumped rubbish. In five easy steps the user can map where the problem is, attach a photo and a comment and submit the report which then gets sent to the council.

In addition to the reporting functionality, the Looking Local app gives access to a wide range of local services provided by over 125 partner organisations including choice-based lettings, repair reporting, news and events, local health services and listings, as well as nationwide job searching from Jobcentre Plus and information from NHS Choices.

wychavon

wychavon

See also
http://lookinglocal.gov.uk

Sutton Council: uses MyLoMo to deliver smartphone-compatible content

You don’t have to provide an app to successfully deliver services via smartphones. Sutton Council uses the MyLoMo platform to deliver ‘mysutton.mobi’, a ‘lite’ version of its primary website that displays the most relevant content on mobile platforms. The MyLoMo platform has been designed with Local Authorities to minimise integration work, be back end agnostic and enable the re-use of existing web services. Also, although the service is specifically designed to display accurately when using smartphones, it will also display successfully on any other internet enabled mobile phone to varying degrees of display & speed.

Services available to residents include reporting an abandoned car, fallen trees or graffiti, and the ability to check local maps & travel information as well as the latest Council News or even what’s showing at the local cinema.

sutton

sutton

See also
http://mysutton.mobi
http://www.sntmedianetworks.com/mylomo.php


Other options

There are other task-specific apps available, that can be used directly by citizens or subscribed to by councils. For example, FixMyStreet by MySociety is a service for reporting, viewing, or discussing local problems such as graffiti, fly tipping, broken paving slabs, or street lighting. Apps are available for Apple and Android smartphones.

What has your council been doing to get mobile? What levels of take-up are you seeing? How do you expect this to continue over the next 12 months? Do you think smartphones offer a real opportunity for reducing the cost of service delivery? We would love to hear from you.

 

UK Councils – Channel Access Ratios & Highest volume service demand

This is where we take a look at the two key charts from the national trends data – channel ratios and service volume trends for UK councils in the sample.

access channels

access channels

key services

key services

No significant changes this month.

 

 


Methodology for Monthly Spotlights

The monthly spotlights are calculated using aggregated data from 70 UK councils. The methodology is as follows:

Overall satisfaction is based on GovMetric councils which have achieved the required total number of feedbacks across a minimum of 2 channels:

  • County – min of 800 feedbacks for the month
  • Unitary – min of 800 feedbacks for the month
  • District – min of 400 feedbacks for the month

Channel satisfaction is based on GovMetric councils which have achieved the required number of channel feedbacks across a minimum of 1 channel:

  • County – min of 400 feedbacks for the month
  • Unitary – min of 400 feedbacks for the month
  • District – min of 200 feedbacks for the month

Notes

Populations circa 2009.
The arrows indicate the council’s position on the chart compared to the previous month’s results.

Data is sourced from www.govmetric.com. GovMetric is a customer experience measurement service that enables you to listen to the Voice of the Customer across all contact channels, to prioritise which areas to improve and to measure improvements through near real-time reporting.

As the data used is a fixed snapshot taken at the end of each month there may be minor variances to the data seen in GovMetric reporting due to final data updates after the end of the month, mapping updates etc.

For a demo of how GovMetric works please visit http://www.govmetric.com/demo.  Make sure you have volume turned on!

Categories: Uncategorized

UK Councils Social Media Reputation Index for October 2011

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

This month:

  • The top 20 UK councils for new online buzz
  • Spotlights stories:
    • City of London Corporation: The protest outside St Paul’s
    • Northampton Borough Council: Nightclub tragedy and resignation of council Leader
    • Hastings Borough Council: Row over BNP speech in village hall
    • Buzz and Media Mix – News v Blogs v Twitter etc

The Top 20

This month we have made some changes to the Top 20. Rather than focussing on sentiment, we are going to be looking at the councils that have seen the biggest increases in the volume of online buzz they are attracting. The biggest movers (subject to them attaining a minimum number of references during the month – Districts = 100 mentions, Counties and Unitaries = 300) for this month are:

Top 20

Top 20

Spotlight stories

Now let’s take a look at the top three stories behind the buzz…

City of London Corporation: The protest outside St Paul’s

london graph

london graph

Graph showing City of London Corporation social media mentions during October, peaking on 28th October with the announcement of legal action to evict protestors

On the 15th October, 3,000 people protesting against economic inequality and corporate greed gathered in the square outside the London Stock Exchange, near St Paul’s Cathedral, with the aim of occupying it. Police prevented that from happening.

The Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) protesters then turned to St Paul’s Churchyard, the square in front of the cathedral, planning to set up camp. By the third day, more than 100 tents were set up.

On the 28th October, St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London Corporation decided to take legal action to evict the protesters, and it was this decision that led to a frenzy of activity on social media networks, and Twitter in particular.

Many were supportive of the action…                       … while others were siding with the protestors

london pos neg tweets

london pos neg tweets

It was good to see that the City of London Corporation actively engaged in the dialogue by replying to individual Tweets in an attempt to correct misinformation and misunderstanding, and to direct users to official statements.

london tweet responses

london tweet responses

Northampton Borough Council: Nightclub tragedy and resignation of council Leader

Two separate stories Bought Northampton Borough Council into the social media spotlight this month. The first was the tragic events in a city centre nightclub on the 19th October, in which two people died and which have led Northampton Borough Council to temporarily suspend the nightclub’s licence while an investigation takes place.

The second was the surprise resignation of Leader David Palethorpe just a week later – made all the more dramatic by the fact that it was announced via Twitter.

northampton leader tweet

northampton leader tweet

His announcement was quickly retweeted by BBC Northampton, and followed by a Tweet from the Labour camp…

Npton_Labour Cllr Mason [Labour leader Councillor Lee Mason] shocked at resignation saying the Tories are clearly divided and fighting each other like rats in a sack.

A couple of days later, Nprton_Labour made the following observation:

Npton_Labour Seriously I’m finding the use of twitter amongst Npton political establishment has surged in the last few days.

Hardly surprising, when it has become the communication channel of choice for political breaking news!


Hastings Borough Council: Row over BNP speech in village hall

Hastings Borough Council attracted media attention in October when it threatened to cancel a village hall’s rate subsidy if hosted a speech by BNP leader Nick Griffin. Hastings Borough Council said it was “contrary to the interests of the community” and councillors voted to withdraw the hall’s rate relief. The Leader of the labour-run council, Jeremy Birch, said: “I can’t agree that Hastings people should be subsidising a charity that’s prepared to provide a platform to someone who is so completely opposed to the community harmony philosophy of this local authority.”

The BNP responded by accusing the authority of blocking free speech, and this view was echoed by many in social media networks. The meeting was subsequently moved elsewhere.

hastings village hall

hastings village hall

BNP supporters leapt on the story, accusing Hastings Borough Council of obstructing free speech

Buzz and Media Mix

Next, this month’s total references to ‘Councils’ online is:

total council buzz

total council buzz

Looking back over the past 12 months, it is interesting to note that the overall volume of buzz is now relatively flat month-on-month, indicating that social media usage has reached a plateau, for now at least. This month, a new study by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth found that for first time in the past 4 years there is virtually no change in Fortune 500 companies adopting Facebook, Twitter or Blogging.

Could this be a reflection that most of us have each reached our own personal plateau, and we have each come as far with social media as we are likely to come until the “next big thing”?

media mix

media mix

This plateau is reflected in all of the different sources.


Notes

PublicServiceMonitor images and chart data may be used provided PublicServiceMonitor is credited accordingly.

For a more comprehensive service description please look at www.publicservicemonitor.com/about

Monthly Buzz Index methodology – Details can be found here

About PublicServiceMonitor – PublicServiceMonitor trawls the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, searching through news, blogs, forums and social media sites. It reads through all of this information and summarises what’s being said about UK councils, and can even tell you whether the sentiment is positive or negative (similar to the election worm we have seen at #leadersdebate). The service was launched in December 2009 so is still quite early on, but by measuring a benchmark group of councils on a consistent basis we hope to be able to provide some national trend information relating to what people are saying about their councils – and how they choose to say it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Welcome to the review of GovMetric data for August 2011.

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

This index is based on aggregated data from 70 UK councils, gathered monthly through www.govmetric.com.

This month:

  • Monthly Spotlight  – Highest multi-channel satisfaction scores
  • Monthly Spotlight  – Highest per channel satisfaction scores
  • Spotlight: GovMetric Awards 2011 Winners Announcement
  • UK Councils –  Channel Access Ratios
  • UK Councils – Highest volume service demand
  • Methodology for Monthly Spotlights

Monthly Spotlights 

The first table looks at overall satisfaction on a multi-channel basis:

CAI Aug 2011 - All

CAI Aug 2011 - All

Well done to North Kesteven District Council, who take the top spot this month despite not appearing in last month’s top 10.

The second table looks at customer satisfaction with the Face to Face channel:

CAI Aug 2011 - F2F

CAI Aug 2011 - F2F


South Northamptonshire, Mid Devon and East Hertfordshire all appear in this month’s index.  


 The third table looks at customer satisfaction with the telephone channel:

CAI Aug 2011 - Tel

CAI Aug 2011 - Tel

Dundee City Council is the highest new entrant this month.


The fourth table looks at customer satisfaction with the web channel:

CAI Aug 2011 - Web

CAI Aug 2011 - Web


Well done to North Hertfordshire District Council – a great performance.

Finally, this chart looks at the number of Feedback gathered:

CAI Aug 2011 - feedback volume

CAI Aug 2011 - feedback volume

The positions of the top six performers are all unchanged this month, with well over 20,000 pieces of feedback between them in just a month. That really is a huge amount of insight!

 

Spotlight

GovMetric Awards 2011 Winners Announcement

We are very pleased to announce the winners of this year’s GovMetric Awards. Many thanks to all of you who made submissions, we were all very encouraged by the fantastic work our subscribers are doing to engage with customers and use their feedback to bring about real change- both in the way services are provided and on improving the culture and strategy of their organisations.

Council of the Year (Unitary/ County) – London Borough of Sutton
Sutton have had an incredible year, spurred on by their gong last year they have gone from strength to strength. Again they have collected a staggering amount of customer feedback – over 94,000 individual ratings across the three main channels. Using their customer feedback in a variety of ways Sutton have been able to demonstrate the real value of customer insight in making improvements and they have learnt hard lessons from their customers by effectively using  the service to monitor issues having a strong impact on the customer experience. They now have a strong commitment to really listening to the voice of the customer.

Council of the Year (District) – Stevenage Borough Council
We know that smaller organisations are different from large ones and they work in different ways, this is why we decided to open up our ‘Council of Year’ category and recognise the great work that some of the smaller borough and district councils are doing. Stevenage Borough Council have collected over 23000 feedback responses which is amazing given the population of the borough is under 80000. Stevenage are prolific across all of the three main channels and are relentless in striving for customer satisfaction. They know that you need to measure satisfaction consistently to better understand your customers. They have regularly appeared in our top ten in our Customer Access Index, and continually obtain excellent ratings from their customers.

Council Website of the Year – Warwickshire County Council
Having been in our top 5 for satisfaction in almost every month since we started publishing our Customer Access Index, and hitting number one on several occasions, Warwickshire are worthy winners of our Council Website of the Year. They have received more feedback on this channel than any other council and they have used the feedback constructively to fine tune their new website. They know that making little changes on the web and continually looking to make improvements, for which customer input is a huge feature, is the key to success. They value both the quantitative and qualitative feedback they receive through GovMetric and this is really driving their plans for the future.

Service Category Excellence – Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council for Council Tax Service
This year we decided to look at results based on the basic GovMetric service categories to see if we could recognise some excellent practices in a particular service area. This was a tough challenge as we needed to prove consistency as well as overall excellence. Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council were our ultimate winners for their excellent customer ratings in the Council Tax category. Most of their feedback came from the face to face and telephone channels, so we know that the staff do a fantastic job and that the council provides a quick, informative service to its customers.  Achieving an overall satisfaction figure of 94% which was an increase of almost 3 points on last year, they also managed to increase the feedback levels by over 4% too. Consistent, measurable improvement – just what we like to see!

Case Studies in Excellence – The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Southend-On-Sea Borough Council
Both of these councils continue year on year to improve their use of GovMetric and make progress with the overall customer insight agenda.

We were really impressed with the staff engagement work that Southend-On-Sea Borough Council have been doing, they actively educate and brief their staff in the importance of collecting customer insight, continuously measure individual staff involvement and have integrated this into their formal appraisal processes. Most importantly we can see that staff have better visibility of the entire insight process, from collection, to analysis and accountability for responding to feedback.

At The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea GovMetric has become well embedded in their operations, and they have worked hard on incorporating customer insight into their KPIs and the organisation’s “vital signs”.  Add to this further improvements in staff training and mentoring, making better use of data and analysis of comments, and progressive feedback throughout the organisation, RBKC are definitely getting it right!

GovMetric Team of the Year – Dundee City Council
Dundee City Council have been using Govmetric for over a year. They had a slow start but they know how important it is to be listening to customers. They now have a structured approach to monitoring take up and have empowered the staff to use the techniques that work for them when engaging with customers. This has resulted in much more useful data and some great responses from customers about the staff themselves. We recognise that the team at Dundee have put in a lot of hard work this year to really embed GovMetric into their everyday responsibilities.

We had many submissions for this category and it was a hard choice for us to make, indeed all teams are to be congratulated for their efforts. There were a couple of submission that stood out for us for which we would like to mention and award a runner up prize, they are

Runner Up – The Borough of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk
Runner Up – Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

Both of these teams have been through significant changes in the last year but we were impressed with their commitment to the customer and the team spirit that has prevailed!

GovMetric Promotion Award – The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
We are always on the look out for ideas for promoting GovMetric. Raising awareness, communicating key messages to customers and generally encouraging them to participate is vital on all channels, but on the face to face and web channels we have an opportunity to do this through a visual means.  Signposting and clearly explaining to customers the importance of their feedback and how you use it can easily be done through articles, posters, signs and displays. Earlier this year The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead created a presentation which is shown on their LCD screen their Customer Service Centre. The presentation is simple but very effective, and shows video footage of customers giving feedback and reinforces the importance of customers telling us what they think. Along with some other promotional work RBWM have significantly increased the number of responses they receive on the face-to-face channel.

Finally, thanks to Colchester Council who kindly hosted the East Region User Group this month.  It was a really enjoyable and valuable day, with a jam-packed agenda.

UK Councils – Channel Access Ratios & Highest volume service demand

This is where we take a look at the two key charts from the national trends data – channel ratios and service volume trends for UK councils in the sample.

CAI Aug 2011 - channel chart

CAI Aug 2011 - channel chart

CAI Aug 2011 - services chart

CAI Aug 2011 - services chart

Methodology for Monthly Spotlights

The monthly spotlights are calculated using aggregated data from 70 UK councils. The methodology is as follows:

Overall satisfaction is based on GovMetric councils which have achieved the required total number of feedbacks across a minimum of 2 channels:

  • County – min of 800 feedbacks for the month
  • Unitary – min of 800 feedbacks for the month
  • District – min of 400 feedbacks for the month

Channel satisfaction is based on GovMetric councils which have achieved the required number of channel feedbacks across a minimum of 1 channel:

  • County – min of 400 feedbacks for the month
  • Unitary – min of 400 feedbacks for the month
  • District – min of 200 feedbacks for the month

Notes

Populations circa 2009.
The arrows indicate the council’s position on the chart compared to the previous month’s results.

Data is sourced from www.govmetric.com. GovMetric is a customer experience measurement service that enables you to listen to the Voice of the Customer across all contact channels, to prioritise which areas to improve and to measure improvements through near real-time reporting.

As the data used is a fixed snapshot taken at the end of each month there may be minor variances to the data seen in GovMetric reporting due to final data updates after the end of the month, mapping updates etc.

For a demo of how GovMetric works please visit http://www.govmetric.com/demo.  Make sure you have volume turned on!

Categories: Uncategorized

UK Councils Social Media Reputation Index for September 2011

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

This month:

  • The top 20 UK councils for online reputation
  • Caught in the fray – Basildon Council and #dalefarm debate
  • Twitter Top Tip – @reply vs. direct message
  • After the riots
  • The Media Mix – News v Blogs v Twitter etc

The Top 20

The top 20 councils ranked by social media sentiment (subject to them attaining a minimum number of references during the month – Districts = 100 mentions, Counties and Unitaries = 300) for this month are:

top 20

top 20

Gloucester City Council and Sutton Council, who have both appeared before in the Top 20, reach the top of the sentiment chart this month.

 

Spotlight

The single biggest story in social media this month was without a doubt the clearance of Dale Farm by Basildon Council. The six-acre plot of land in the village of Crays Hill has been used as an unauthorised traveller site since 2001. In July 2011, Basildon Council issued a notice to the travellers to vacate the site, and the weeks that followed the travellers fought back.

The arguments on both sides are not new – angry residents complain illegal camping, damage and disruption, while travelling families complain they’re continually moved on by police and bailiffs and subject to constant prejudice. The strength of feeling involved on both sides has inevitably led to an explosion in social media buzz.

The story peaked on 19th September when the scheduled clearance was halted by a last minute injunction.  The day’s events saw Basildon Council ‘trending’ on Twitter for nearly 8 hours – in itself extremely unusual for a council.

peak

peak

There was a huge spike in online buzz for Basildon Council on 19th September

However, this was dwarfed by the #dalefarm hashtag that has been adopted by Twitter users on both sides of the battle, and which has been used to express extreme views that many commentators say have crossed over into outright racism. This places Basidon Council in a difficult position – how to use social media to inform citizens about events at Dale Farm, and to educate people about the Council’s legal duties, without being dragged into a dirty debate?

Basidon Council has responded by broadcasting frequent updates on its website, facebook page and via Twitter, but it appears to have steadfastly refused to enter into any kind of dialogue in these spaces. This seems to be a pragmatic approach in sensitive circumstances.

basildon facebook

basildon facebook

Basildon Council has chosen not to respond to Twitter and Facebook messages

It would be wise to remember that a big story like this one will shine the social media spotlight into other corners of your online presence that otherwise might have gone undiscovered. We won’t name any names, but in researching this story we came across tweets from individuals associated with the Council that we cannot imagine were ever intended for public consumption.

Top tip:

Make sure that your officers and Members understand the difference between an @reply and a direct message. Although they are directed at a specific user, @replies are PUBLIC and will appear on the twitter timeline for all to see! If you want to say something privately on Twitter, you MUST use a direct message.

To finish… this is the last Reputation Index to be published under the CouncilMonitor brand! In response to growing demand, we are broadening the scope of our reputation management solution to include all public services, not just local government. So this month it seems appropriate to take a quick look at a story from the wider public sector – in this case, the police.

LGC reports that an independent review of the riots in Wandsworth that saw unchecked lawlessness in Clapham Junction has called on the police to review its use of social media after officers ignored warnings that the area would be a flashpoint.

You can read the full story here: http://www.lgcplus.com/briefings/joint-working/community-safety/riot-review-calls-for-new-social-media-procedures/5035917.article


Buzz and Media Mix

Next, this month’s total references to ‘Councils’ online is:

Total Council Buzz

Total Council Buzz

September has seen a continued recovery in online buzz. Let’s look at the media mix for more information:

Media Mix Sept 11

Media Mix Sept 11

Twitter usage continues to grow – just look at how it has roughly trebled its share since this time time last year.


Notes

CouncilMonitor images and chart data may be used provided CouncilMonitor are credited accordingly.

For a more comprehensive service description please look at www.councilmonitor.com/about

Monthly Buzz Index methodology – Details can be found here

About CouncilMonitor – CouncilMonitor trawls the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, searching through news, blogs, forums and social media sites. It reads through all of this information and summarises what’s being said about UK councils, and can even tell you whether the sentiment is positive or negative (similar to the election worm we have seen at #leadersdebate). The service was launched in December 2009 so is still quite early on, but by measuring a benchmark group of councils on a consistent basis we hope to be able to provide some national trend information relating to what people are saying about their councils – and how they choose to say it.

Categories: Uncategorized
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