Hello from Elgin!

(I wrote this post on the train this morning but didn’t get a decent wifi connection until I arrived at my hotel.)

digiCC v2

The digiCC workshop roadshow is on the road again! Today I’m travelling to Elgin so I can co-host tomorrow’s workshop for CC and Registered Tenant Organisations members from Moray and nearby LAs. I’m very grateful to co-hosts Tracey Rae and Alison McLaughlin of Moray Council for all they and their colleagues have done to make this event work.

I’m looking forward to this workshop partly because I’ve not been to Elgin before but mostly because I will get to work with more people who are part of Scotland’s hyperlocal democracy. As this blog’s readers will know, I’m all for local decision-making on local matters, and local influence on other matters – it’s about partnership between different levels of government to get things done for their citizens, as far as I’m concerned.

I’m still working on the outcomes of the Ayr workshop – I plan to report on the combined outcomes of all four workshops (Ayr, 9 October; Elgin, 30 October; Forfar, 13 November; Newton St Boswells, 20 November.), towards the end of 2015. Meanwhile, videos, presentations and flipcharts from the Ayr workshop are online here (https://bruceryan.info/resources/publications-contacts-and-research-blogs). (The videos are on YouTube, but you’ll need to join the KnowledgeHub to access the other materials.)

I can give a sneak preview of some interesting results from Ayr delegates’ feedback forms. The overall picture is that there is very little networking or sharing of digital skills between those delegates. This may be because most Ayr delegates didn’t have IT background, so need to develop such skills before they can start sharing. I don’t know this for sure – I’d need much more robust information about CC members’ digital skills. But this result is very different from the January workshop – its delegates mostly did have IT backgrounds. So I’m looking forward to what this workshop will tell us.

The other surprise was the relatively high frequency of planning material on CC websites. When I surveyed CC internet presences in 2012 and 2014, there was very little visible sign of planning information. It may be that I need to design a new protocol to delve into CC internet presences in future surveys. But for now I urge CCs to make sure that any planning information they publish online is clearly signposted on home pages.

The final piece of good news from the questionnaires is that training offered by Local Authorities is the most frequent source of learning around setting up and running online presences, so LAs are not wasting their time running training sessions.

And to finish this theme, it was great to talk with some of the delegates, and learn how some were developing strong digital skills despite being well past retirement age.

However, many of the problems are familiar. There is very little succession planning, there’s very little skill-sharing and there was a lack of knowledge about technical details such as hosting.

So there’s a lot of work to do, and I’m looking forward to taking on my share.


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