DIGITAL COMMS: How #ourday helped tell the local government story

Okay, so the stats of the #ourday event tells one story but there is so much more to tell.

What was it? It was a chance to see what local government did over a 24-hour period.

A load of unglamorous unheralded tasks across the 700 services that your council does to help improve people’s lives.

A total of 10,161 tweets reached a potential audience of 768,227 people, according to organisers the Local Government Association.

And 3,967 accounts tweeted or retweeted the updates. That’s a large set of figures.

Hats off to Sarah Jennings and the Local Government Association team for attempting to herd cats and encouraging people to take part in the event.

Lovely stories

It goes without saying that the snippets of stories that emerge point to why things like this work.

The officer talking about the public art in Walsall or the barking dogs being investigated.

Tales like this is beauty of campaigns like #ourday.

It’s a model that does work.

But what next?

Back in March 2010 at Walsall Council we staged Walsall 24 an idea we shamelessly borrowed from the inspirational GMP 24 which saw every call logged to Greater Manchester Police’s call centre.

It was fun, inspiring and brilliant to do and we learned loads.

But it dawned on us that actually, this is how it should be everyday. If we’re doing good things then we should tell people in a variety of channels.

But most of all it underlines why devolving social media access is important and that the sweets should be shared. Something I never tire of banging on about.

It’s public relations that’s taken out of the pr department. Or comms that can be done by non-comms.

Because stories from the frontline handcrafted and authentic are like bullets of gold in telling the local government story.

Making the most of a Twitter 24

The big lesson we learned in Walsall was that things like this shatter glass ceilings.

This is the important bit.

Take screen shots of what you’ve done. Print them out. Circulate them. Turn them into posters. Put them where people can see.

Add them to your intranet.

That piece of praise for the parks department that came back from a resident? Tell parks.

That shot of the roadmending machine out and about? Put it on the noticeboard in the Town Hall.

By taking things offline we can show the benefits of using digital communications to people who may never have thought that this is for them.

I bet that’s what the real legacy of #ourday will be if you’re careful.

Wouldn’t it be good if…

Next time we did this there are lots more of the difficult stuff to cover. The social care people, the binmen, the teachers and the housing staff.

And wouldn’t it be good if there was a single issue – as well as everything – to focus on too. Whether that be signing people up to a library. Or doing a specific task.

But maybe more important than that is the fact that it starts conversations and makes local government appear what it can be best. Human.

Creative commons credit

Urban initiatives


Join the Conversation


  1. “But maybe more important than that is the fact that it starts conversations and makes local government appear what it can be best. Human.”

    So true.

    I spent the day in our customer service centre and saw, first hand, the broad spectrum of cases they have to deal with (many of which not our direct reponsibility). Yes, the “system” is designed around workflow, but the calls are always about people and their stories, not process.

  2. Thanks for this blog post Dan. And well done to you for a successful #10by10WM event earlier this week.

    You won’t believe how emotional it was for the team here at LGA yesterday watching Twitter explode with all the marvellous stories from libraries to fire services; dog wardens to customer service desks. We had contributions from chief executives, councillors, comms teams and the all important frontline staff.

    I could name so many councils and individuals (and we will be #ff as many as we can) but in particular, Cornwall for creating their own special hashtag – #CCourday – and Stockton who set up a dedicated Twitter handle for the day – @ourdaystockton

    We’ve received requests to do it again next year and we (the collective local government) should. It started out as a Social Media Week campaign to get more of us using the media but ended up being much more about being (in Dan’s words) human.

    Finally, a big thanks from me to all my team, in particular Sian Morgan, Michelle Rea, Liz Copeland and Kristian Hibberd.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply