Andrew Brown has been stung into action by an article in Prospect and a regular reader of his blog. He’s promised to come up with some positive reforms to make local government better. He has started the discussion on his blog here.
One aspect is going to be the role of the councillor and it makes me contrast his approach to that of the DCLG.
Exhibit One: Andrew posts some ideas and asks for comments. He responds to those comments. A conversation ensues. Stage two might be more people involved and a Wiki to help gather those thoughts.
Exhibit Two: Dr Jane Roberts DBE (I don’t know who she is or why she is chairing the forum and there is nothing to tell me why on the forum either), asks for views. She doesn’t contribute her own and she has not posted on the forum herself. There is no feedback. There is no incentive to participate.
There is little point using online techniques to gather views if you are not going to use them properly. Consultation and engagement should be about a conversation, a dialogue like Andrew is creating and not a static request for ideas like the DCLG produces.