To blog, or not to blog…

Having sat down to write my first ever blog, it seems pertinent to consider why I might be doing this??!

I can see with my fairly limited understanding of new media that there’s scope through blogging to broaden the word on Scrutiny, which can only be a good thing. Scrutiny needs all the help it can get. I’ve worked in Scrutiny for more than 8 years, and have yet to meet someone outside of work who’s actually heard of Scrutiny (my friends and family apart). Clearly there is considerable work to be done!

At the very heart of the Scrutiny function is giving local people a say on a local issues and decisions. A blog gives us the platform to tell people about Scrutiny, not just in broadening understanding but increasing public involvement, whether that’s through encouraging contribution to specific task group reviews or suggesting items for the work programme. We have long used the traditional media outlets to promote our work through press and radio, which hasn’t been without success. However new media opportunities such as blogging and twitter offer a much more direct route to engage with young people who don’t necessarily read their local paper.  We want to encourage diverse engagement in Scrutiny and in doing this we need to promote a range of ways to capture the public’s interest.

The technology is all in place to make it much easier for councils to create a discourse with the public and report on what we are doing. Well designed websites provide a key platform in doing this. Council meetings can now be streamed directly into people’s homes, along with the latest news, and details of the services local authorities provide. And now here we are making tentative steps in Scrutiny blogging…

People’s Scrutiny Committee meets next week on 27 September 2012. It’s an agenda jam-packed with interesting items from safeguarding children to dementia services – don’t miss it!

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