If you don’t do it, someone else will

Here’s more proof.


Birmingham City Council are asking for people’s views on their ‘Big City Plan’. They have even created a website to help people to do so.

I asked Jon Bounds, Birmingham blogger extraordinaire, what was wrong with the Council’s approach. He answered:

Not so much “wrong” per-se as we thought helping discussion (rather than just comment) would generate understanding & ideas.

So Jon and others did something to generate that understanding and those ideas. They’ve translated the consultation document out of local government regenero-speak and into something approaching normal English. They’ve also made the thing properly commentable enabling people to have discussions about their city and what should happen to it.

They’ve called it Big City Plan Talk, and it’s a lovely thing. Let’s hope that Birmingham City Council take note and engage with these people with an obvious love for their city.

Readers working within local government: how could you make the most of the civic energy in your area, to work with residents to create something really worthwhile?

Everyone else: What’s going on in your local area that you could take a bit of time out to help out with, or improve?

Posting links

Since delicious upgraded itself, the automatic posting of stuff I have bookmarked has stragely stopped on DavePress. Not at all sure why.

Anyway, to improve things, I have installed the Postalicious plugin for WordPress, which will handle all this for me, on the recommendation of the social media John Virgo, Jon Bounds. There are quite a lot of options and configuration to be done, so I might have to tweak it a bit over the next few days, but hopefully normal service will now be resumed.

Large female required

I was delighted to be a part of the winning pub quiz team at WordCampUK, not least because it meant that I won a wicked cool dark green WordPress tshirt. I asked the now-legendary quiz host Jon Bounds for a large, and a large was what I got.

Only, it’s in the ladies style, which makes it significantly smaller than me.

So, there is a free WP tshirt going spare to any suitably sized female who wants it. Let me know in the comments or by email. See the photo of Automattic dude Sam Bauers below, who is sporting the manly version.

Sam Bauers in Green WP T Shirt
Photo by Benjamin

Get satisfaction with your council

Jon Bounds has come up with another brilliant idea – using the ‘people powered customer support’ site GetSatisfaction to create a community around the services provided by Birmingham City Council.

So, I thought, could this work for a local council? Imagine time saved by council officials if knowledgeable citizens helped answer questions, imagine the resources available (once someone had explained how to apply for a licence, the information would be there for everyone), imagine a monolithic body “joining the conversation”.

Rather than deciding to attempt to persuade my local council (Birmingham City Council – one of the largest in the UK) that this would be a good idea, I discovered that – as the site is “a space for an open conversation between you and other people with interests and passions in this organization.” – anyone can set a company page up. So I have.

It ill be interesting to see whether the City Council gets involved. I guess it is like a Fix My Street but for all Council services. Might just have to make one for my local council in Kettering…