Case Studies/Mosman Municipal Council
Make information resources, wherever possible, available under an open content licence, specifically a Creative Commons Australia licence, to promote the use and dissemination of Council’s materials while retaining Council’s rights of authorship. — "Mosman Municipal Council" "Community Engagement Strategy"
"Mosman Municipal Council" is the local government administration for the northern shores of Sydney Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. On 7 April 2009 the Council adopted its new "Community Engagement Strategy" with an intention to "inform", "consult", "involve" their residence. The Strategies stated agenda is:
- '... to achieve a broader range of views to assist Council in planning services better to meet community needs and aspirations and to provide residents greater opportunities to contribute to and influence outcomes which directly affect their lives.'
The Council has committed to providing open data and utilising social media and networking and licensing under Creative Commons licences to help them deliver on this Strategy.
True to their word, the Council engages with a number of social networking and social media spaces to help them deliver on their Strategy. For starters, they provide RSS feeds for key parts of the Council's website (if only more Governments provided just that!). The Council itself has a "Twitter account", "YouTube account" and it filters these (and many of its RSS feeds) through its "FriendFeed".
"The Mosman Library" also has a "Flickr account", a "blog" (as well as a "blog" specifically for young people) and it posts [http://www.mosman.nsw.gov.au/library/webcasts "videos" of Library events on "Vimeo". It even runs it's "Mosman Reader" program through Ning.
Another key part of their delivery on their Strategy going forward will be to run events at the Library around the internet and social media called "Social Media Mob – Mosman" (they're even using a hashtag for it! "#smmm"). This is modeled on the "Social Media Surgeries" events held in Birmingham in the United Kingdom (which have spun off a number of other "localised events").
Using these techniques, the Council hopes to achieve its commitment to "transparency and accountability".
The Strategy itself is released under a Creative Commons "Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Australia licence. Both "Flickr" accounts use the Creative Commons "Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Genric licence.
Part 3 of the Strategy, 'Involve', sums up the Council's motivations for engaging with Web 2.0 and Creative Commons:
- 'Make more use of on-line spaces – such as blogs and forums – where two-way communication between Council and the community is encouraged and nurtured.
Acknowledge and mentor those community members who are active participants on-line or who wish to be.
Hold workshops for Councillors to encourage their use of blogs and other social media to communicate and converse with the community.
Hold social media workshops at Mosman Library to promote Council’s on-line engagement and give practical support for community participation.
Hold a regular brainstorming session along the lines of IBM’s Innovation Jam or the Guardian’s Hack Day to generate ideas and foster creative thinking.
Make information resources, wherever possible, available under an open content licence, specifically a Creative Commons Australia licence, to promote the use and dissemination of Council’s materials while retaining Council’s rights of authorship.
Continue collaborative projects on-line that allow the community to document and share its local knowledge while also participating in other collaborative spaces, such as Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap (an open data map repository).
Ensure that priority is given to open data formats to allow cost-effective and efficient use of that information by other Council systems as well as external applications and users. When commissioning or upgrading data systems and services, Council should prioritise the building of an application programming interface (API) to that information.
Keep relevant senior staff, managers and key professional officers informed of on-line discussions and report to Council as appropriate.'