ICT for Building
The Daily Mail
stereotype of people using computers is of of isolated web-heads with
no social skills, living off pizza deliveries and getting no fresh air
However, computers and
online activity can have powerful community-building effects. They can
be used to:
Bring people together
- physically and virtually
Build confidence and
and online democracy
community-focused workers closer in to the community
In practice there may be a
considerable overlap between the specialised learning facilities
mentioned in the last section and community-focused centres. These
latter go by a variety of names, e.g. Electronic Village Hall,
Community Network Centre etc.
For case study information
on these see the PAT15
One thing is clear:
specialised facilities like these and associated website developments
can promote social cohesion, bringing people together who otherwise
might not ever meet. And this can be a springboard to other activities
such as learning or seeking to (re-)enter employment.
Consultation and local
In principle local
authorities and other local agencies cold make great use of the C in
ICT, and get significantly interactive with their citizens.
In the UK (unlike the US),
this has been seriously tentative so far. Online consultations have
tended to have minimal response. Is this because relatively few people
are online, or because most people would rather do other things when
they are online?
But given that most
communications with state representatives in the US are now by email,
we have a long way to go. And it highlights the point that most UK
public bodies, however much they promote ICT, are not geared up
technically, organisationally or culturally to get meaningfully
interactive with their constituents.
workers closer in to the community
One key point that needs
emphasising is that organisations providing services in the community
need to change the ways in which they work and communicate if they are
to maximise the value of ICT.
All workers involved in
regeneration or community support work should be able to spend less
time away at the office, and more time at the front line with the
customers. It's the same principle that applies to getting a sales
force to spend more time in the field.
Remote access to central information
resources should liberate time for more effective client contact and
service delivery - providing the organisation makes the necessary
adjustments to let this happen.
| Employment | Business
| Learning | Community-building