Today included a 1 hour chat with the Mayor, followed by a 1 hour chat with the CEO. Both were very enlightening.
I have also responded to several letters of congratulations. One from Damien O’Connor, MP for West Coast/Tasman, which was a nice surprise. Thank you Damien. And another from the Director of the Nelson Provincial Museum, Peter Millward. Thank you Peter.
Recently, on my facebook page I have been sharing some thoughts about utilising the potential of our resources more effectively.
For example, our libraries. Why don’t we offer more services through our libraries. Like local tourism information. Why don’t we use our library resources to deliver and help people access online council processes, documents, forms and other resources. Why can’t libraries also be the public face of our council.
Here’s an interesting fact from the UK. Nearly a quarter of visits to council websites are from mobiles. That trend is likely to grow as more people adopt 3G and 4G phones (see http://wps.socitm.net/news/view/11). Perhaps it’s time for our council to embrace this technology and harness its potential?
We need to start using technology to improve services and reduce costs. Here’s an idea from Wellington that would potentially take little redevelopment (or cost) to work for TDC (see http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/news/2013/02/new-fixit-app). Alternatively, a contact page with the appropriate fields on a website optimised for mobiles could be another way to go. Effectively residents can text council immediately they see a problem (for example, a pothole or footpath in need of repair). Using google maps the location of the problem is attached with the text message (or picture) and sent directly to the appropriate council staff to fix.
Wireless technology (ie phone apps) has the potential to make local government services better, more cost effective, and responsive. Here are two articles that show what can (and has been) done: (1) http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/techflash/2011/05/youtown-app-puts-government-in-pocket.html?page=all (2) http://www.statetechmagazine.com/article/2012/11/how-mobile-devices-are-feeding-local-governments-app-etite-technology-infographic. Its about better (more timely) service.
This might be a little radical for TDC, but given the fiscal pressures TDC will be under, wouldn’t it be great to engage with the community to hear how they want their money spent? Well this website does exactly that (see https://youchoose.yougov.com/warwickshire/).
Speaking of engagement, I am hoping to be able to offer some surgeries (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surgery_(politics)) for residents in the not to distant future. This is an opportunity to be available for some one-on-one time with residents and to hear their concerns. Watch this space.