Talk About Local Blog

Lack of #opendata leaves English courts wide open…

In a quite remarkable case 180 divorces have been annulled following massive fraud perpetrated against the English court system.  An Italian lawyer was distributing quickie Italian divorces around the English legal system with one of the parties in each claiming to live at a PO box in Maidenhead.  It’s a remarkable story that shows some English courts to be wide open to fraud due to their antiquated, opaque processes.  And also that the courts do not have technology support sufficient to deliver their mission – modern open publication of data...

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Has your UK #hyperlocal ever applied for Lottery…

At Talk About Local we want to hear about your experience as a local website applying for Lottery funding.  We think that hyperlocal sites add a huge amount to community life and, where there is a strong volunteer component should be a natural for Lottery funding.  But we hear conflicting accounts from people who run local sites about their ability to access Lottery money.  One or two people we know have managed to get some Lottery support (maybe with a heritage component or some built environment) but the majority we...

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The power of a royal visit and the…

Royal visits, as every publisher of local news knows, still provoke a huge amount of local interest and excitement. Add into that an aspect of local heritage and history – the first time in 50 years that soldiers have exercised their freedom of the town right to match with bayonets – and it’s a spectacle that will make a major impact in a small market town. And so it was for my own hyperlocal site, The Richmond Noticeboard this week. Royal visits also have their own protocols and procedures and...

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Trust and the future of government communications –…

I attended a small seminar today convened by Cabinet Office civil servants as part of a series on the future of government communications.  The theme was public trust and engagement and the learnings for central government from local government and local comms.  I broadly said: one way to garner trust is communications is to put the people you have in your organisation who are trusted into places where people go to seek trusted advice. The long running IPSOS MORI work on trust in professions suggests that  for central government it...

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Pickles’ right to film law: Will it make…

Finally journalists, bloggers and quite simply anyone who’s interested has the right to film town hall meetings. With last week’s signatures on the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, local government secretary Eric Pickles brought in new rules designed to open up local decision making and bring more scrutiny to bear on everything from planning applications to policing policy. Is this a new dawn for the UKs democratic process? The new ‘right to film’ law has been widely welcomed by many who’ve been campaigning on the issue. If you missed...

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