Councils go digital during bad weather

The recent extreme weather has seen local public sector PR teams relying heavily on mobile technology to communicate with residents.

Snow: everywhere
Snow: everywhere

Many councils around Britain bypassed traditional media to communicate snow updates directly over social media.

Kirklees Council and Essex Council were among those to set up a 'Gritter Twitter', giving 24-hour updates on the roads that are being gritted. In addition, the Essex Council website features a roadmap showing roads that are being treated.

Giles Roca, Essex Council head of communications, said: 'Mobile technology is now crucial - it's real-time information, there's no spin. This will have lessons on where councils go next.'

Elsewhere, Brighton & Hove Council used Twitter to appeal for drivers with 4x4 vehicles to help its meals on wheels service, while NHS Salford used Twitter to inform patients of services on offer.

However, Oxfordshire County Council head of comms James Clark said the full raft of media tools needed to be used.

'The crucial messages are public service messages - the situation on the roads and information on how to help elderly neighbours.

'Twitter doesn't lend itself to that particularly. We're only using it in conjunction with mainstream media.'

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