How social media is bridging the gap between local government and citizens in the UK

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    18-Aug-2015

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<ol><li> 1. how social media is bridging the gap between #localgov and citizens DIRECT MESSAGE </li><li> 2. direct message 2 introduction state of the nation cashtags risk conclusion going global about bdo FOREWORD Im pleased to introduce the 2014 BDO Local Government Social Media Survey. This is the third year we have surveyed local authorities in the UK on their attitude to social media, and how it is used to deliver services. This years results show that social media is being used to bring councils closer to the people they serve, both by pushing use of social media out to the teams that are delivering services, and replacing one-way channels of communication with a dialogue. Were also delighted to partner with BDO New Zealand for this years survey. Our survey can now be used by councils to benchmark not only nationally, but also internationally. I hope you enjoy reading this years findings. BDO New Zealand is delighted to be involved in what is an inaugural survey for us. The local government sector has many challenges, not least that of communicating across significant geographical and sociological areas. Social media provides an easy and accessible method of managing the risks inherent in communication. We are very pleased to have been able to partner with BDO UK on this project and strongly believe the data from both countries can be used to gain real insight into risk management on both sides of the globe. andy mahon, partner, bdo uk Tim Gacsal, Associate, bdo new zealand </li><li> 3. direct message 01 introduction state of the nation cashtags risk conclusion going global about bdo the embedding of social media INTRODUCTION 2014 marks the third year of BDOs Local Government Social Media Survey. Our survey sets the scene for how local authorities are currently using social media, analyses trends and provides a valuable benchmark for the sector. BDOs 2012 survey Updating Your Status helped local authorities to get set up on social media, while the 2013 survey Following the Trends identified the key barriers that local authorities were facing to achieve social media success, such as measuring return on investment and managing risk. This years survey sets out the extent to which social media has become embedded in the day to day workings of local government: local authorities have undergone a cultural shift in their attitudes and approach to social media. Whilst a perception remains that it is difficult to measure Return on Investment (RoI) and manage risk, councils actions show they have overcome these barriers regardless. The result is that social media uptake is the highest this survey has ever recorded and it is being used by a diverse range of officers as part of their core service offers. Despite perceived barriers, councils are beginning to see tangible benefits from the investment which they have made over recent years. The 2014 survey results show how social media has shrunk the space between the council and the citizen: Local authorities have overcome the perceived barrier of measuring return on investment by using social media to reduce time spent on other activities such as writing press releases or traditional approaches to public consultation. Not only can this help contribute to savings by reducing workloads but this signals a softer benefit - councils are moving closer to their customers by using the two-way dialogue of social media to communicate, rather than a one-way monologue of press releases and leaflets announcing new council policies. Councils appear to be overcoming the suspicion that social media is a risky activity and have extended its use out across their organisations. Control of social media has shifted away from the communications team and out to service delivery and customer services teams. This means the public have the opportunity to directly interact with the people responsible for delivering their services. The cultural shift in councils attitudes to social media has therefore brought them closer to the people they serve and the result is a free flow of information between council and citizen that means services can be more responsive to users and improved through feedback. This year our report has also gone global for the first time by incorporating the views of local government officers in New Zealand. This provides a unique opportunity for both countries to benchmark themselves against their counterparts on both a national and international scale. A special section of this report highlights some key similarities and differences between the two countries approach and best practice from New Zealand is featured throughout this report. The report suggests that councils in New Zealand could make savings by borrowing practices used in the UK. contents introduction state of the nation turning hashtags into cashtags getting to grips with risk conclusion going global: sharing best practice between uk and new zealand about bdo 01 02 04 06 08 09 10 We hope you enjoy reading this years survey and as ever, let us know your thoughts @BDOLocalGov by using the hashtag #BDOSocialMediaSurvey 2014: uk local councils who use social media 100% use twitter 90% use facebook 83% use youtube 40% use yammer </li><li> 4. direct message 02 introduction state of the nation cashtags risk conclusion going global about bdo council info #localgov social media in 2014 STATE OF THE NATION The social media landscape has changed significantly since we first surveyed councils in 2012. This years results show how embedded social media has become in day-to-day working for councils: Enthusiasm for social media in local authorities continues to grow Social media use within local authorities is becoming more diverse and spreading across different teams away from the Communications team Ownership and responsibility for social media is increasingly being devolved to Officer level Councils are finding new and innovative ways to use social media. Enthusiasm for social media in local authorities continues to grow. 67% of this years respondents stated that their organisation has a moderately to extremely high appetite for social media use in their everyday operations. This enthusiasm suggests that increased use of social media is now a default option for many council departments, not a radical option. Social media use within local authorities is becoming more diverse, spreading across different teams away from traditional communications. Whilst communication teams are still the biggest users of social media, other teams such as customer services, policy teams and council senior leadership are increasingly using social media. The percentage of respondents whose service delivery teams use social media has risen from 53% in 2012 to 77% in 2014. Teams in councils that are using social media are becoming closer to the people using public services, opening up a genuine dialogue between citizens and councils. Social media is now a mainstream part of how councils deliver services. Service delivery teams 2012 2014 Customer services team Policy team Senior Leadership / Corporate Management Team 1. Comparable data unavailable for 2013 of this years respondents stated that their organisation has a moderately to extremely high appetite for social media use in their everyday operations. who in your organisation uses social media? 1 67% 0% 80% 60% 40% 20% Maidstone Borough Council: Enabling quicker reactions from emergency services in times of need During floods which hit Kent in 2013/14, Maidstone Borough Council used social media to identify areas of the Borough that were flooded, which had not yet been reported to the Council through other channels. This meant that the Council were able to get support to those areas quicker than they would have done otherwise. bestpractice Flooded Kent, 2014 80% of councils have experienced either a moderate or sharp increase in appetite for social media over the last year Ive seen one council use social media to crowdsource funding for Christmas lights Survey Respondent </li><li> 5. direct message 03 introduction state of the nation cashtags risk conclusion going global about bdo #localgov social media in 2014 STATE OF THE NATION where does social media ownership sit within your organisation? Ownership and responsibility for social media within local authorities is spreading. In line with the wider range of departments within councils that are using social media, the ownership for social media is now spread more widely than ever across those departments. When the survey first launched in 2012, ownership was largely held by communications teams. Whilst communication teams are still most likely to own social media use within a council, their majority ownership has fallen from 79% to 63%. Customer services teams and service delivery teams are increasingly filling this role. This supports the view that social media is embedded across councils not the preserve of communication teams. As a result, the gap between the citizen as service user and the council as service deliverer has reduced over the last three years. Councils are finding new and innovative ways to use social media. We believe that social media can catalyse innovation in service delivery. Rather than try to measure innovation, we asked councils in this years survey to provide examples of how they have used social media to improve services. Here we have included some best practice from this years survey. This suggests that a cultural shift within councils has taken place. The examples here show that public safety, waste collection and adoption services have all used social media. It is now a default option to engage with the public, whatever service area an officer sits within. Comparing this years data with the last two years suggests that enthusiasm for and investment in social media by local authorities is increasing. This continues a trend over the last two years of the survey. More importantly this enthusiasm has changed how councils use social media as evidenced by the next two chapters. The body of social media best practice is likely to continue to grow. We are always keen to hear new examples of how councils are using social media creatively to improve services for users. Please do get in touch with us @ BDOLocalGov to share your best practice. ipswich Borough Council: Improved understanding of community needs Ipswich Borough Council created a smart inbox to manage customer service contacts received by the Council through social media. For example, when the Council receives a complaint about waste collection from a particular area of town the Council is able to respond more quickly about any disruption in service. calderdale Council: Promoting campaigns and improving lives in the community Calderdale Council was looking to recruit more foster and adoptive parents. The Council used its social media platforms to advertise that it was seeking suitable candidates. A recent evaluation carried out by the Council has suggested that social media played a major role in boosting its latest recruitment drive. bestpractice bestpractice Weve seen Flickr used creatively to share public health infographics. Survey Respondent 2012: 79% 2012: 3% 2012: 3% 2012: 15% communications teams: -16% service delivery teams: +7% customer services teams: +7% shared ownership : +2% 2014: 63% 2014: 10% 2014: 10% 2014: 17% </li><li> 6. direct message 04 introduction state of the nation cashtags risk conclusion going global about bdo getting return on investment from social media TURNING HASHTAGS INTO CASHTAGS Our research on social media has consistently shown that one of the main challenges for councils is measuring return on investment. In a time of continued budget reductions, savings and demonstrating value for money is at the forefront of authorities minds more than ever before. 77% of this years survey respondents stated that they believe social media presents an opportunity to make savings if used correctly and this year we have seen emerging signs that on-going investment in social media is allowing local authorities to reduce certain activities thereby generating potential for savings. our 2014 survey found that: A reoccurring issue from last years report is the difficulty authorities are having in showing tangible evidence of savings or income generated by social media, with 53% of respondents stating that they believe monetary savings have been made somewhere but struggle to show this on paper. Yet Councils are making savings through social media by reducing time spent on other activities. This suggests how social media has altered the way that councils engage with customers. Evidence from this years survey suggests that councils are using social media to reduce their activity in a number of areas. For example, over 60% of councils have reduced time spent on producing and distributing paper leaflets containing council information. Percent of respondents answeringyes to the Quesiton: doyou believe social media represents an opportunity to make savings for local authorities? 2012 51 2013 76 2014 77 0% 80% 60% 40% 20% auckland district health board: making more efficient use of resources In New Zealand, Auckland District Health Board have managed to reduce the time spent on certain activities through using social media. One respondent to our survey said: bestpractice We have engaged with patients and/or public on concerns by extending apologies and making connections, which often result in satisfied individuals. On occasion we have come across potential issues via social media long before we might have heard of them via traditional channels - saving time and allowing teams to be more proactive. Sandwell MBC managed to significantly increase the number of online admissions requests for secondary schools to 99% of all admissions requests. sandwell metropolitan borough council: channel shift and social media bestpractice The Council attributes its use of social media to make parents aware of the online portal as a major factor in its success. Shifting users to sell-service online options can save councils money and service users time. </li><li> 7. direct message 05 introduction state of the nation cashtags risk conclusion going global about bdo which of the following activities has your organisation been able to reduce as a result of using social media? getting return on investment from social media TURNING HASHTAGS INTO CASHTAGS By using social media - a two way communications channel, councils are removing a barrier between themselves and service users. Users can comment instantly and enter into a dialogue with the council about a consultation or a public event. This means service users can get the information they need when they need it, and the council can improve in real-time through feedback from service users. Investing in social media has enabled councils to develop faster, more direct ways of communicating with customers, thereby reducing time and money spent on traditional en...</li></ol>

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