Using Social Media to Improve Scrutiny

Here is a presentation I gave a couple of weeks ago to the Wales Scrutiny Officers Network. 

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The idea was to share some ways in which social media might help support scrutiny and hopefully generate some discussion.

I’d say that, whilst a few were keen and a few others were curious, the majority seem happy at the moment to keep a watching brief. Quite a lot of the discussion was around what might go wrong and there were some very real anxieties about the risks of using social media for councillors and officers both in and out of work.

Still, hopefully the presentation provided some food for thought and will be useful for those are interested in developing their own social media presence.  Personally I think the benefits in terms of communication and engagement – particularly public engagement – will continue to make a compelling case for using social media even if it is a case of evolution rather than revolution.  It will be interesting to see where we all are in 12 months time.

Update:  Here is a nice piece by Rob Dale of the LGIU I found via the Centre for Public Scrutiny Forum pages.  Lots of useful links.


  1. Gennie Holmes says

    My access is blocked to your presentation. Is there any chance I could access it another way? I would be really interested in the presentation as particpation in the democratic process is one of the subjects we will be looking at this year. Thanks.

    Gennie Holmes
    Scrutiny Co-ordiantor
    Coventry City Council

  2. Hi Gennie,

    Drop us an email at and I’ll send it over.

    Sounds like an interesting review – would love to see what you come up with.


  3. Hi my access to the presentation is blocked too. Is it possible you could send this presentation to . Thanks.

    p.s. Great website by the way

  4. Dear Dave

    I found your presentation very powerful. I am very keen on expanding the way we communicate with residents, particularly to engage more young people. However, the demographics of FB and Twitter are changing fast and they are no longer the ‘young person’s medium’ which the majority of people still seem to think they are. We need to emphasise the positive aspects of community and corporate FB pages. Recent events worldwide have highlighted how Twitter can counter governments’ attempts to shut down the dissemination of events by traditional media.

    The problem with LAs is that there is generally a lack of experience in non-formal communication and real engagement in conversations, rather than delivering information. Social media demands a totally new language – the emphasis being on ‘social’! There is also a nervousness about responding to negative messages. Unfortunately, unlike traditional media, information on the internet is there forever. If LAs do not join the conversation and provide counter-arguments and positive messages, the negative ones take precedence. Ignoring them does not mean they will go away in a week or two.

    I will pass on your presentation to our communications team, as I am sure they will find it most illuminating. I am in Democratic Services and we are looking at all channels of communication in order to engage local residents in flexing their democratic muscles!

    Regards Margot Rohan
    Senior Members’ Services Manager (Communication)

  5. Thanks Margot, appreciate it & good points well made.

    From a democratic servcies perspective there are some really interesting things happening in Kirklees. Carl Whistlecraft is the man – check out his blog here:

    Good luck with what you are doing in Croydon.


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