Scottish Community Councils online: a survey
Cruickshank, P. (2012). Scottish Community Councils online: a survey. , (), ..
This document reports on the results of a survey, carried out in the summer of 2012, of the public web presences of potentially over 1500 Scottish Community Councils.
The research found that • Under a quarter (22%) of Community Councils maintain an updated online public presence. • Most Community Councils websites communicate from Community Council to citizen – only 10% use social media to host online discussion and opinion-gathering. • Only 4% of Community Councils make planning content easily available online, despite Community Councils’ key importance in the planning process.
More positively, it seems that control by Community Councils of their content makes the difference between having no presence at all, mediocre presences and informative, content-rich presences that may serve citizens well. On the other hand, Local Authority-hosting can guarantee that Community Councils have presences, even if they are often content-poor (limited to minutes) and are often out of date.
This research updates a study carried out between 2004 and 2006 to investigate how technology could be developed to help regenerate democracy at the local community level. Although this survey reveals some good examples of active online presences and support by Local Authorities, in general there is no sense of improvement in information provision online. Suggestions to improve matters include broadening the scope of local of Local Authority-hosted presences and Community Councils networking together to support and mentor each other.
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