Why do I get so angry about Stoke-on-Trent City Council?
They make it too easy for people to laugh at them, I don’t know if it is naivety, stupidity, lack of skills or just plain old lack of interest. I work in Social Media, I speak to people and advise them on a regular basis, I have been to a number of meetings with the council and spoken to different people about using Twitter for good, or to shout and rant about the really poor usability of their website. I have never asked for a penny, not money for parking, not a consultancy fee, nothing. I have spent hours speaking to people inside the council about how they can use the tools available on the web for good, how they can make small changes that could make a difference to people in the city and to their image.
All of this seems to fall on deaf ears. In the past 2 weeks Stoke-on-Trent City Council have again surpassed themselves with poor implementation of ‘things’
A couple of weeks or so ago, I attracted a new follower on Twitter, @stokehighways who proclaim ‘Notices from the highways department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council for issues affecting traffic and travel in the local area‘.
Yay! Go Stoke…
Yeah Go Stoke.. Oh, protected tweets.. ?
They are following 12 and have 9 followers. What use is having a public service twitter feed that is protected? I have thought long and hard about this and to be perfectly honest I cannot think of any reason at all. The account in its current state is at best a waste and at worst a joke. @dordotky runs the @stoketraffic twitter feed and has been trying to get some data that would allow him to develop this service for about 12 months, with no luck. Scott has the time & the skills to do something clever with the data, the City Council it seems do not have the time to understand how Twitter actually works so the chances of anything innovative or exciting happening are probably slim.
As I am writing this I have just put in a follow request to them, to see how long it takes for anything to happen.
Today the City Council (re) released the cyclingstoke.co.uk website, a beautifully hand crafted site, with a domain purchased through uk2.net, I know this because again the City Council have either done things on the cheap and not paid uk2.net for the Full Web Diversion package or they haven’t read the instructions on how to apply 3 clicks to make the banner at the top of their site go away. I don’t use UK2.net but it only took me 2 minutes on the web to find the two links.
Didn’t anyone check the site before they did the press release? Maybe it is just me, maybe it actually is acceptable for a Local Authority run website to show what amounts to an advertising banner. Maybe the council endorse the uk2.net services? I wonder how much revenue they get for the banner?
Aside from these two stunning examples of poor practice on the web, there is the case of the City Farm tender documents that were sent out as an 18mb word document that had all the edits and revisions visible.
This was backed up with Deeds of Agreement that changed from The City Farm on a 5 year tender to a Café in Carmountside cemetery on a 3 year lease.
You can read my article on this on Pits n Pots How Can Stoke-on-Trent City Council Be Taken Seriously When They Produce Documents Like These?
Who can forget the map in the 2010 Budget book that missed one of the 6 towns of Stoke-on-Trent out completely and suddenly turned out to be a ‘proof’ or ‘draft’ version when the error was pointed out to the City Council?
You can read about this on Pits n Pots here Whats Happening To Stoke-on-Trent
Don’t get me wrong, I know I sound like a whinger and those of you who have seen me at local government conferences will have no doubt seen me in the full throws of anger towards some local government officers, but I love my adopted city and I want it to be better.
Is that wrong?
Posted from Stoke-on-Trent, England, United Kingdom.