31 October 2019
Keeping Your Ward Up to Date with Changes after Brexit
Today marks the day the UK was supposed to leave the EU. Boris Johnson was adament that he could deliver; even the Royal Mint was convinced and was due to release a commerative 50p, however, another extension has been put in place. This article explores what local authorities can do once Brexit has been achieved.
The next steps involve the UK taking control of their own regulations. Any changes will need to be conveyed to the residents and local businesses within your electoral ward/division to ensure they remain compliant.
Councils have to relay information in many mediums, as not every constituent will have access to an internet-enabled device to browse the website, nor will every single person look at flyers. Therefore a mix is vital to spread the word to as many people as possible.
There are multiple options on how information can be presented on your website.
The first is via a webpage. However to bring your residents’ attention to the information a Promotion can be displayed. This is an image that appears on time-based or page view rule. The promotion can be fully customised and tailored to the information or news your council wants to share. It’s optional to assign a web link to the promotion; this automatically redirects the visitor to the related page and helps inform them that there have been changes that they need to know about etc.
Discussing the Changes
It is one thing to present the information on your website, however if residents do not comprehend fully, questions will arise. Therefore it is essential that constituents can easily enquiry with the council to gain a complete understanding.
The easiest contact method to use is live chat. The visitor is instantly connected with an advisor who can answer their questions in real-time. From your operations side, your council can reduce the pressure on your phone lines and email inboxes, whilst improving agent productivity, as representatives can handle multiple chats simultaneously, using predefined replies, file transfer and auto-navigate etc. to speed up their response rates.
However, answering the same questions time after time can become repetitive even with access to a library of pre-agreed responses; therefore Meeting Rooms can be used as an alternative. The communication channel is used to host multiple participants within a digital environment regardless of their physical location.
Councils can use Meeting Rooms to hold digital discussions, allowing them to present the information to as many residents as possible. However to maximise on this, the Meeting Room could be used in conjunction with a physical resident meeting, enabling the local citizens to access the information in a way that is convenient for them. This would also streamline the local authority’s deliverability as they would only have to share the information within the scheduled time.
A membership organisation within the UK implemented Meeting Rooms for a set period of time when they were holding meetings with their members. They streamed the webinar and embed the Meeting Rooms next to the live video so that viewers could enter their questions and see them answered in real-time via the speaker.
Councils could easily replicate this when holding resident meetings.
Engaging the Community
The Local Government Association has compiled a Brexit advice hub which contains useful national advice in one place. One of the topics discussed is community engagement. The information states that “government at every level must strengthen their work to enable people to recognise and value the things that bind places and people together, promote opportunity and celebrate the neighbourhoods we live and work in. A key part of this is to ensure community voices are heard and valued, so people have – and feel they have- a say over the decisions that matter most to them in their local area.”
Meeting Rooms can achieve feedback in a group environment; however stronger personalities can dominate the conversation leaving the smaller voices unacknowledged.
A way to ensure all opinions are taken into account is by using smartContact on your website.
smartContact are easy to add, flexible and customisable forms. They allow you to effortlessly capture valuable data without the development involved every time you want to make a change.
The form can be designed to collate any details you require, therefore it can easily gather feedback on different subjects bi-weekly or one a month etc. keeping your residents engaged and helping your council make improvements to key areas within the ward.
The changes that occur after Brexit don’t have to be frightening for your ward if your council can convey the information in ways that resonates well with the majority of residents and local business owners.
Click4Assistance has been providing live chat and other digital communication channels for over 15 years, working with many local authorities across the country. For more information regarding how we can help improve your communication with residents, contact our team on 01268 524628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.