A Notwestminster 2016 workshop idea from Dave Mckenna
Council meetings take place all the time in town halls and are open to the public. They include full council meetings, planning meetings, scrutiny meetings and many others. Many decisions that affect people are taken in these meetings.
To the outside world, however, they look a bit strange – odd rules of procedure, hard to decipher reports and difficult to follow debates take them about as far away from popular culture as you could possibly get.
Lots of councils use webcasting and social media to encourage greater engagement which is great but doesn’t quite do it. I think Dominic Campbell captured the problem when he suggested that communication is not the issue – It’s the product that needs to be changed.
This workshop, therefore, will ask how council meetings can be made more entertaining and exciting so that people will want to be more involved. In preparation I’ve been asking people the following question:
People would definitely watch their local council meeting if it was more like. . .
I’ll be using the most popular answer as the starting point for a complete re working of the council meeting.
What you can do next
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City & County of Swansea
Dave works for the Council in Swansea where he has been for 20 years. Prior to finding a home with scrutiny he worked in a variety of front-line and policy roles with varying degrees of success. He has recently completed a part time PhD with the Department of Political and Cultural Studies, Swansea University. His topic was Local Government and Public Participation.
Photo of Dave courtesy of Anthony Mckeown.
All our 2016 workshops have been created by our participants in response to our Design Challenges for Local Democracy, which were crowdsourced from our Notwestminster network. This workshop is inspired by….
Social Council Meetings: Council meetings discuss many issues that affect people yet they are poorly attended by the public and often pass unnoticed. How can we get people to take part in council meetings so that they can be involved in debates that affect them?