There has been some criticism about the restricted nature of the consultations we have been able to carry out to date. We are aware of the deficiencies, but, as Julian says, we are doing all of this without a budget at the moment, and we have been moving quite fast. This means we have necessarily been having to use social media as the quickest, and cheapest, way of getting the word out. Thus, the kind of people who receive the message and act on it will be limited. But, we fervently hope that those people will cascade the messages out to the people they work with.
At the planning meeting on Wednesday, we were talking about how we can communicate with the many community groups who will play a big part in the Big Society but which aren’t online. The idea we came up with is this.
Many supermarkets have Community Notice Boards. We would seek to encourage the supermarkets, as part of their contribution to the Big Society, to promote Community Notice Boards (and install them if they are not present already), and make sure that local groups are using them to promote their events. Then, we could get someone in each town, city or district to go round and photograph the boards and upload the photos onto a central site. We might even persuade the supermarkets to get one of their own staff to do this. We could develop a phone app, which made it really simple to upload the photo to the right place. Then we would extract the information from the photos and make them into an online diary with location, maps, etc. We’d need to start small with this, because, until we get some resources, the data processing could get onerous.
I think this is something that could be relatively simple to do, quite cheap to execute, and would have the added benefit of helping to bring groups online who had not previously been making use of technology.