To gain a deeper understanding of the mindset of local government, i have spent many hours reading the Guardian local government network blog, plus many other blogs written by people who work (!) in local government. Sometimes, for unbroken 12 hour stretches (i really have to cut that out).
After enduring reading such a large volume of pointless, pretentious pontification - one of the things that really hits home, is the local government obsession with digital media (known to people in the real world as ‘the internet’). There are countless blogs with titles like ‘digital engagement and innovation the local gov way’ and (one of my favourites) ‘community service portals: engagement and enhanced services?’
This fascination seems so steadfast, it would put even the most sweaty palmed, button fiddling teenager to shame. The council love affair with gadgetry is, of course, entirely out of all proportion to any real use it can possibly be to the tax-paying public.
There have been some shocking examples of councils getting over-excited about the interne, er, i mean digital media. In 2010, after sacking 900 staff, Manchester council hired someone to play on Facebook and Twitter for 38k a year: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1322953/Manchester-City-Council-hires-Facebook-Twitter-manager-axes-900-jobs.html
In my own experience, despite their zealous embracement of digital communication, when i have had dealings with the council, i have found them to be incompetent beyond belief.
Along with their councilese jargon and inflated job titles, i believe that local government computer wiles are just another ruse to hide behind. A pretence at being professional. A form of high-tech procrastination. Digital obfuscation to conceal the fact that they do little of any value and are worth a fraction of what they are being paid.