You’ll know that (by and large) this blog is a “glass half full” type of blog, but even I find the temptations of oppositional thinking quite hard to resist on occasion.
You know how it goes, you find something that is a bit rubbish and then make a mountain out that particular molehill.
And then I started thinking that the email was indicative of how the council views interaction with the people it serves and started to construct my negative mountain of “evidence” to support my contention. But really it’s just a neglected bit of the council’s communications portfolio.
Anyway, I’m pleased to say I’ve drawn back from the brink of criticising without offering constructive alternatives. So today I’ve emailed the council and said:
I’ve been subscribed to the email service for the last year or so and wanted to give you some feedback which I hope is constructive.
The fact that it does nothing more than reproduce the corporate communications for the week is really starting to grate. I know that the council is more than the sum of its press releases and I’d like to have my attention drawn to that in what you send out.
I also think you might look at how you can make the emails even more locally specific for us. It would be useful to know about public meetings in our area, where our councillors hold their surgeries, and so on.
I’d welcome more choice in terms of allowing me as a subscriber to find out more about particular subjects. For example, I’m interested in education in the borough as a parent and a school governor and if the email brought me news about that area of interest I’d be more interested.
You might also link to articles from Lewisham Life – particularly as our road doesn’t seem to be on the distribution list for the hard copy anymore – which would make the email livelier.
Can I also say that the way the press releases are written may work for the local papers but they just make me irritated. The style is so formulaic and corporate as to make me not feel included.
Finally I find it very strange that the council doesn’t yet have RSS on the site. Particularly for those areas where there are often changes to content (I’d be interested to know what decisions the Mayor and Cabinet are taking for instance).
I’d be interested in hearing whether you have plans to improve the way the council communicates with those of us who have an interest in what it is doing.
Anyone who feels similarly might want to make their own points to the communications team.