Councils such as Lambeth and Richmond are using twitter to share decisions with residents the instant they are being made.
Lambeth Council have been live tweeting since 2011using the @LBLDemocracy account.
You can follow on twitter to get up to the minute news from a number of meetings including Cabinet, Council, Planning, Licensing and Scrutiny.
The tweeting is done by one of the Councils committee support officers.
Wayne Chandai, a Democratic Services Officer with the Council, talking about the public reaction to this service, said:
“Responses vary, we receive a lot of praise for tweeting from meetings and general interactions are positive, we also receive a lot of questions and queries. We tweeted in the run up to elections sharing key dates and information voters would need.
“On election day we tweeted the results live and as they were being announced which also was received positively by our followers. We tend to get unhappy tweets when a planning, licensing or other decision doesn’t go someone’s way.
“We put a lot of thought an effort into our tweets, some people say this is not how twitter should be used but at Lambeth we disagree. We make twitter work for us not the other way around, we have some guidelines in place for the team to refer to and also talk regularly about interactions and activity, there is also a standing item on our team meeting agenda.”
Lambeth are not the only Council working in this way. There are an increasing number of Councils doing similar things.
Richmond Council, for example, has been taking a similar approach using the twitter handle @LBRUT_Democracy.
Laura Latham, Assistant Head of Democratic Services at Richmond Council says they are following Lambeth’s lead and are slowly building up followers and tweeting from a range of meetings:
“We still have a long way to go but are starting to get some interaction which is great news.
“We have been working hard to ensure Twitter is not just one person’s job, but is understood across the team and we all play our part.
“We have found it is a welcome addition to the existing ways we share news about the Council’s decision making processes.’