The Future Use of Digital and Social Media in Local Government and Public Sector Communications

The Government has set out its commitment to design and deliver all information and transactional services digitally. It’s Open Public Services White Paper (July 2011) outlined the desire to utilise the power of digital communication and social media to help drive digital take-up.

Subsequently, with the migration of Government departments and agencies onto GOV.UK in progress, the Government estimates it could save between £1.7 and £1.8 billion each year by going ‘digital by default’.

To realise the Government’s ambition to ensure that everyone has access to the best available high-quality public services and to deliver necessary cost savings, the effective use of social media by local government and other key delivery partners is critical.

As access to the internet widens and the price of computers and broadband decreases, social media has become a way of life for the British public and is gradually making its presence felt in the public sector. Increasingly, councils are using social media externally to raise awareness of services and shape policy developments, and internally for staff communication and collaboration on various topics via forums, blogs and videos.

This is supported by a recent BDO local govrnment social media survey which found that 98% of councils are using digital or social media to connect with communities and digitise services. Separately, ‘A White Paper on Social Media in Local Government’ found 31 of 33 councils in the West Midlands were using Twitter and Facebook.

With the UK economy continuing to navigate through a difficult period and with local councils having to adapt to budget cuts, social media offers a cost-effective way for local and central government, and the private and third sectors to build relationships, share knowledge, provide better access to experts, avoid duplication of effort and encourage innovation.

This special symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local and central Government communication and marketing teams, customer service professionals, social media officers, ICT professionals, policy officers and key digital communication stakeholders from all sectors to discuss the ongoing digital strategy and how local government and other public sector services can realise the full potential of social media to better serve local communities.

The symposium will:

  • Assess how social media can play a positive role in councils’ strategies to improve and support local Government efficiency
  • Discuss how social media can strengthen internal local Government communications
  • Consider the present use of digital social networking tools across local Government, healthcare, the police, third sector and other areas
  • Share best practice on how councils can use monitoring tools to best manage their social media presence
  • Anticipate the risk social media presents and address concerns on trolling, dealing with complaints and internal mismanagement

Date: Wednesday 12th February 2014
Time: 10:15am — 4:30pm
Venue: Broadway House, Westminster

Key Speakers
Sarah Jennings, Head of Digital Communications and Knowledge, Local Government Association
Ben Matthews, Head of Communications, FutureGov
Rosie Childs, Digital Media Manager, Save the Children
Victoria Betton, mHealth Programme Director, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust


09:30 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:15 Chair’s Welcome and Introduction
10:30 Panel Session One:
Delivering Efficient Services Across the Public Sector:Utilising Social Media and Digital Services      

  • Connecting communities with local Government  – exploring ways to overcome the cultural and technical barriers in reaching out to local audiences
  • Social media in healthcare – understanding how social media can help to strengthen relationships between parts of the NHS and engage better with local communities
  • Developing social media communications in the third sector – how charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises can take their communications to the next level of success
  • Social media guidelines for the police – sharing best practice on engaging with the public, colleagues, and the wider world
  • Managing your social media presence – consider and share experience on the social media monitoring  tools available such as Twazzup, Addictomatic, Socialmention, and others
11:15 Morning Coffee Break
11:30 Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel One
12:30 Networking Lunch
13:30 Panel Session Two:
Understanding the Present and Future Challenges for Local Authorities Using Social Media and Digital Content 

  • How is social media improving and supporting local Government efficiency?
  • Understanding the potential of digital delivery tools – SMS, webchat and others
  • Exploring the different social media channels councils are using to connect with their audiences and for what purpose – Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Yammer, Flickr and others
  • Strengthening internal communications – understanding how local authorities are using social media to increase knowledge sharing, encourage teamwork and collaboration
  • Anticipating the risk social media represents – sharing best practice on how councils can address concerns on trolling, dealing with complaints and internal mismanagement
14:15 Afternoon Coffee Break
14:30 Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel Two
15:30 Chair’s Summary and Closing Comments
15:40 Networking Reception
16:30 Close

Who Should Attend?

  • Local Authorities
  • Central Government Departments and Agencies
  • Universities, Colleges and Schools
  • Digital Managers
  • Public Sector Customer Service Personnel
  • Public Sector Communication and Marketing Professionals
  • Private Sector Communication and Marketing Professionals
  • Public Sector Consultation Officers
  • Policy Officers
  • ICT Professionals
  • Heads of Technology
  • Charity, Voluntary Sector and Social Enterprise Professionals
  • Social Media Officers
  • Chief Technology Officers
  • Efficiency and Improvement Professionals
  • Programme/Project Officers
  • Heads of Information Governance
  • Heads of eGovernment
  • Change Management and Cloud Computing Officers
  • Business Continuity Officers
  • Chief Information Officers
  • Healthcare Communication and Marketing Professionals
  • Social Care Communication and Marketing Professionals
  • Police Service, Police Authorities and Fire Services
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