Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube provide local government with a wonderful tool to proactively share information with the public, whether you are announcing an upcoming event, live-streaming a city council meeting or communicating policy changes.
Plus, it is an easy way to post information online, especially if your primary website is difficult to update. Finally, social media taps into that two-way communication by engaging local residents in dialogue, which builds trust and fosters government transparency.
But social media isn’t a cure-all – it has very real limitations about what it can and cannot do well. That is why it is good to have a social media policy in place about how you will utilize social media, especially who is authorized to post on the government’s behalf and what they can say.
Your public-facing website offers another great tool to share information that is more permanent and needs to be searchable. This is a great place to post your policies, budget, and financial information, and other forms and documents the public needs to access.
At a minimum, making it easy for the public to find and contact each department is a critical feature of any government website. Even if you don’t have the time or budget to perfect your website, creating a clear, searchable directory of departments goes a long way in creating a culture of transparency in government.
The sheer volume of paperwork involved in working in government coupled with the need to make it available to the public presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
The challenge? Handling it all manually just isn’t feasible anymore, nor is it a best practice in terms of public communication, efficiency, and transparency.
For example, only providing print copies via mail or in-person does little to endear you to the public. And even relying on your IT or web team can be inefficient, as the cumbersome process of exporting documents and emailing them to IT is time-consuming.
The opportunity? You can proactively provide the information the community needs, wants, and deserves by using the right tools to manage all of that paper digitally.
One such tool is PowerDMS, a document management platform that streamlines the entire process for you and drastically reduces workflow times. In particular, our Public-Facing Documents add-on gives you the ability to publish any document in our system to the public with the click of a button.
Plus, it ensures the community quickly has access to the most current versions of your key documents, procedures, and forms. This eliminates the time spent waiting on your IT or web development department to upload files.