Understanding Digital Policy was the title of an unconference I was at this week. (It was at an outpost of the University of Liverpool in central London – hence the title and illustration for this post.)
Although it was billed as covering
How is policy shaping the uptake and use of Digital Media and Technologies?
How are Digital Media and Technologies shaping policy making and policy implementation?
it went much further than that, into how will and how should policy be shaped, and what research should be done. This was at least in part due to the organiser, Simeon Yates, leading the the ESRC Ways of Being in a Digital Age team, and so being highly influential on research directions.
You can jump straight to my personal reactions if you want, but here’s how the day progressed. Firstly, we found interesting and/or kindred spirits by writing our own ‘about-me’s, looking at each others’ and deciding who we wanted to work with. Continue reading →
I’m often engaged by articles on the Scottish Community Alliance fortnightly ‘briefings’. It’s easy to link to individual articles. However, I’ve not found a way to link to the introductions. So I shamelessly reproduce the introduction to the most recent briefing: it ticks all the boxes on my pro-hyperlocal democracy bias. While some community councils may not be ready to play fuller roles just now, that is no reason to not aspire to do more. As Angus Hardie puts it…
Context for the Fairer Scotland Event – Marco Biagi MSP
Mr Biagi said a lot of things I liked to hear. He quoted the calculation from our 2012 report (PDF – see page 5) that arguably only 4% of Scotland’s electorate could vote in recent CC elections – the others were all uncontested due to lack of candidates. He is clearly interested in better mechanisms for local democracy and social justice (a priority for the SG), and looked forward to delegates’ views. He noted that one had come from Oban (100 miles each way) and appreciated that CC members are volunteers who may well have taken the day off work to attend this event.
This presentation was given by Mark McAteer, who stood in for Colin Mair, the IS’ chief executive. (Mr Mair was suddenly unable to attend due for personal reasons.) His main themes seemed to be
because public-sector cash is going to get tighter, things will change and CCs will be asked to do more. (I’ve already encountered this when an Edinburgh Council staffer asked Leith Central CC what health and social care information it gathers in its community. It doesn’t – firstly no-one asked it to. Secondly, how can 8 people gather accurate information on 20,000 residents?)
CCs need to lead, to take opportunities (not wait to be given them), and earn the right to represent.
Workshop 1 – What are the issues that matter most to you as a community councillor?
This was the start of the fun parts for me. My table had delegates from Argyll & Bute, Fife, West Dunbartonshire, Stirling, and Glasgow. (One asked me not to report her CC, so I’ve omitted CC, delegates’ and the facilitator’s names.) Here’s the issues we came up with. Continue reading →