Home > Uncategorized > Watch out Councils Part 2

Watch out Councils Part 2

I’m sure most of you will be aware of 6Music listeners being able to get the BBC to reverse their decision to close the station.  And yesterday I hear their listener numbers have now now doubled!

So we have a publically funded service provider, which goes through some internally centred consultation, to decide which services to cut.

The users of the doomed service then mobilise all their might and make use of all their tools – to create a strong ‘Voice of the Customer’ – and in doing so start to increase their numbers and the overall passion for the service.

End result =Service reinstated, more people using it, service provider picks up extra costs for a bodged consultation and change of policy. And then decide what else they’re going to cut instead.

I think the key thing all public service providers need to realise now is that the public can now mobilise and organise behind an issue in a way which is equal or greater than the Council’s ability to do so. The balance of power has shifted to the community. Councillors will no longer be able to turn a deaf ear to stuff they dont want to hear, otherwise it will come back and bite them even harder.

So as we come to budget setting and deciding which services to cut it is going to be vital to listen to what people are saying – not just back through rigid consultation channels – but actually listen to what they are saying to eachother. If they don’t they’ll get buried.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Interesting commentary, and by the way, I have become a 6 Music listener because of all of the fuss!

    We have been working with a large London Borough on a Participatory Budgeting Exercise where the engagement was phenomenal. The call to action of “come and decide how to spend £1.5m” proved to be pretty compelling and they did indeed see ‘social networks’ develop virally when it came to mobilising a group of people behind an idea.

    The flip side to that of course was that when there are winners, there are also losers so they took some time and effort to make sure as many people were happy as possible. It’s a fascinating area and you are right – there’s no going back!

  2. August 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Hear hear,

    In the interests of fairness and transparency perhaps councils should (be made to?) adopt policies of a period of notice before withdrawing funding on projects, say 60 or 30 days, and give the public the chance to have their full say.

    Funding for CABs (Citizens Advice Bureaux) springs to mind, and that can affect all strata of local government (county, district, town and parish).

  3. August 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Damn, forgot to say the thing that prompted me to reply : I had never even heard of 6Music before all the palaver, now am addicted to some of the programmes on a Sat night.

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