Progress against the social media friendly principles

The following outlines progress that has been made against Leeds City Council’s social media friendly principles.

Social media is used in a friendly and engaging way. It’s not just a broadcast from the Town Hall, but a space for communication between council and citizen.

There are now many services and individuals using social media as a way of interacting and sharing information, linking, listening, promoting, helping. A list of the many accounts is now published on the council website.

The council takes all digital interaction seriously. From paying council tax to reporting complaints to finding out about local events and resources, there are easy low-friction ways to engage with the council on-line.

There is a balance of customer services help including web chat on how people can get help and access services that may be of use to them and the promotional social media accounts providing information about what is going on in Leeds and have their say. The website is increasingly more transactional 24/7 and will gradually be more so as more services are developed in a way that they can be provided on line. We have also introduced a social publishing model which balances information provision, access to open data with discussion areas and signposting and promotion.


There’s some actual evidence that the council wants to hear from citizens through social platforms. Maybe they’re using a cool deliberation tool for real policy co-production or maybe they’re using local digital images for citizens

We are now using social media to test opinion which often leads to our more formal consultations being better promoted and relevant. Web chat is also offered on some web pages to help people should they wish to be supported that way.

There isn’t just one way to access the council through social platforms.  But you can engage directly with the services you use and each has a different and suitable feel.

As above mentioned list of services using different social media platforms is growing. Expectations are that social media will be part of normal working and responses will be as soon as possible and no longer than 2 hours.

Paper literature, posters, etc have URLs and social accounts where you can follow up or get more information.

We also look to use #hashtags where appropriate.

From the inside:

Social media sites aren’t blocked for employees or at least there is a generally permissive approach with clear guidelines about who can and can’t access social sites from work for work as part of clear, simple social media policy.

We have clear guidance on the benefits, opportunities and risks that social media can have and this is promoted regularly and also published on the council website. There is a social media support area on our intranet and we have ‘awareness of’ and ‘how to do’ training to help staff find out about and then be supported to use social media. We encourage staff to use the guidance and information even if they aren’t using social media for work.

There is a federated approach to communications. It isn’t solely owned by a Comms team, but the Comms team supports social media as with any other

Absolutely, each service now has its own digital champion to help support people who want to use social media. The communications team and digital access team both support service areas to manage the expectations of social media use. It’s about co-ordination rather than control. Digital champions meet regularly and are supported to encourage people to use social media and digital tools.

Social tools are used for internal communications. The intranet isn’t simply some software but an approach to sharing knowledge and information between teams and individuals.

Absolutely, it is promoted and used as a place to collaborate and share what we can do to help others. There are discussion forums and staff areas for both business and social interaction. Most senior management provide personal updates in the form of blogs and respond to feedback and challenge put to them. In fact what we are doing with social media has overtaken the limitations of some elements of what the ICT provision can do. We need the latest browser update so staff can appreciate what innovation and creativity is possible and what the outside world can see.

Managerial and political leaders demonstrate that they hear and respond to what staff and the public communicate to them through social media.

As above, internal and external blogs are seeing increased interaction, debate and responses and there are various quick polls asking opinion.

There’s a clear digital communications strategy and services and staff know where they fit in it.

With the social publishing model, social media guidance and support toolkit on the intranet, e- learning for the most commonly used platforms, digital champions network, a lot of work has gone into introducing social media. Lots of work being done to explain and include people in this including how ICT can help – more videos and follow up sessions about what is available for services to use and how digital can be a part of what they can do.

Obviously we will continue to work to these principles and we will no doubt learn and improve as we progress.


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