' Hyperlocal’ Information ‘Invaluable For Local Authorities’ in News and EventsEmail to a friend
15 June 2010
News and information websites run by and covering small sections of a community – termed ‘hyperlocal’ sites – offer “limitless” possibilities for improved council service delivery, one London borough web manager has told E-Government Bulletin.
Liz Azyan, project co-ordinator for Camden Council’s website redesign project, said hyperlocal websites can help both the council-citizen engagement process, and the way in which local authorities offer services, due to the fact that the websites are not council-run.
Such sites “will help the council understand the needs and concerns raised by citizens without being authoritative or seen as moderating every single comment. This type of engagement will hopefully break down the barriers or walls that currently exist between councils and citizens and increase citizens’ trust towards local authorities,” Azyan said.
They also allow councils to target services more effectively, as relevant audiences can easily be identified from the small geographic area covered by a hyperlocal website, she said. “I think the possibilities of enhancing service delivery are limitless”.
Hyperlocal features are playing a key part in the recent redesign of Camden Council’s own website. Alasdair Mangham, head of information systems at Camden Council, told E-Government Bulletin that the council is encouraging communities within the borough to set up their own websites, and then offering ‘widgets’ to link to the council services which are most relevant to them. To achieve this, Camden is working with Talk About Local, a project helping individuals and communities set up local-interest websites.