Workshop idea by Ken Eastwood & Cllr David Harrington
All of the workshops at Local Democracy for Everyone have been created by our participants. We’re sharing a summary of each workshop idea to help you decide what you’d most like to participate in – and so that everyone can start to share their comments about each idea.
Digital Local Democracy – The 21st Century Councillor
We have all seen how the digital revolution is empowering citizens to engage in campaigns or community issues in different ways. Against this backdrop, the role of elected representatives can become unclear. This workshop seeks to explore this issue in further detail, considering the opportunities presented by digital technologies.
We have seen how social media and other digital tools are enabling self-organisation and facilitating campaigning, whether against an oppressive regime in an overseas country, or an unpopular planning application much nearer home.
Facebook, forums and blogs are increasingly being used by local communities, to have their own place on the web. An online mixture of parish newsletter, noticeboard and discussion forum, these ‘hyper-local’ websites are enriching communities by connecting individuals with shared interests, often based on place and belonging.
Ken Eastwood has experience of developing online communities, including for a West Yorkshire village and Parish Council, and believes that there is opportunity for community leaders and elected representatives to engage with citizens in new ways.
David Harrington has been reaching out to citizens making use of technology including by running ward surgeries online using Skype.
Together, we are interested in how elected representatives can make use of digital technologies and in the opportunity presented by online communities.
Ken Eastwood is the founder of Digital Nomads. He has 26 years local government experience, latterly as an Assistant Director and member of the leadership team at Barnsley MBC.
Ken has significant expertise in transformation and technology enabled change. An author of articles on digital innovation and new ways of working and delivering services, he is a well known commentator on the digital agenda. Former Project Nomad national eGov board member and founder and national lead of Public Sector Nomads, Ken has been at the forefront of mobile & flexible working for over a decade.
Councillor David Harrington
Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Finance,
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
& LGiU Online Councillor of the Year 2013
First elected in 2005, re-elected in 2007 and 2011, as an Independent, David represents Ingleby Barwick which is believed to be the largest private housing estate in western Europe. He was the first Ward Councillor in the North-East to use social media as a means of engagement in 2008. In 2013, he was awarded the title of Online Councillor of the Year by the LGiU and CCLA for his innovative use of Skype and Twitter for engaging with residents.