News from eCasework

Good communication and engagement is central to a councillor’s role. You’re the bridge between a council and its citizens, and keeping track of who has raised problems can make your life a lot easier.

When a resident raises a problem, they’re going to expect a resolution. But once that problem is solved, who should tell the resident? Each council has its own way of keeping up with residents, but we recommend that councillors take the lead and communicate with citizens directly. People trust local advocates who are seen to be improving the quality of life in their neighbourhood…and that’s you!

To help you keep track of residents’ issues, you can note down details of your constituents in eCasework. Think of it like an electronic address book, except this address book can tell you much more than names, addresses and numbers. Watch the video below to explore the People section of eCasework.

Remember: By collecting the personal details of local residents, you will be acting as a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 and should adhere to the legislation. The Information Commissioner’s Office has advice for elected and prospective councillors on the use of personal information in your role.

News from eCasework

You’ve signed up for a free trial (if you haven’t, click here!), set your password and logged in for the first time. But now that you’ve got 30 days to put the tool through its paces, how are you going to make it work for you? We’ve compiled these tips to show you how to use the features that will improve the casework process and help you get things sorted.

1. Add your first case, import your contacts

There’s no time like the present. Seize the moment and add your first case by following the step-by-step guide on our help site. Once you’ve added a case, you’ll be able to access your account and work on it at home, in the office, by the pool…literally anywhere with an internet connection! Now is a good time to build up your contacts list too, and you can follow these instructions to import your address book.

2. Set yourself a follow-up strategy

For some constituents, casework can be the last port of call for getting their problems solved when the ‘system’ has failed them. In that sense, processing casework can be considered as providing good customer service and a decent follow-up strategy will ensure everything runs smoothly.

  • Always communicate clearly: tell residents & officers what needs doing and when it should be completed. This is called ‘signposting’ and helps keep everyone on track.
  • Set small, achievable goals: casework will become a piece of cake if you break up the process into manageable tasks. We’ve written tips on how to do that here.
  • Review cases regularly: it’s easy to forget about something when it’s brand new but making casework a part of your daily routine is a cinch. Why not change your homepage to eCasework or launch eCasework like an app from your tablet?

3. Be proactive and start collecting cases

Residents really appreciate it when they can see that voting for you wasn’t a waste, and the best way to show your dedication is through doorstepping. People may not always be able to make it to your surgeries or may not know how to get in touch, but a friendly chat on their doorstep shows that you’re willing to help with their problems. Pick up your tablet or iPad (don’t forget to connect to mobile data!), knock on someone’s door, and add their casework to your case list.

4. Receive cases through your blog or via email

Haven’t got time to go out into the neighbourhood? By adding your eCasework email address to your Twitter or Facebook profile, constituents will be able to send their problems direct to you, and you can start building your address book as well as your case list. If you often receive casework via your council address, we recommend setting up automatic case creation. There’s a step-by-step guide on our help site to guide you through the process. You can also start collecting casework on your website or blog, and we’ve written a post showing you how to do that.

5. Ask for a helping hand

Not sure on how to make something work? Don’t worry, help is at hand. Get in touch with the support team and they’ll get back to you soon.

News from eCasework

Councillors from Hoxton.

Credit: Hoxton Councillors

Making a difference to daily lives and improving prospects in your local community is one of the many rewards for becoming a local councillor.

If you’ve been keeping abreast of politics recently, you’ll surely have heard about councillors and what they do. They’re people elected by their own community to represent local views, making sure that decisions the council take are in everyone’s best interests. If you’re willing to stand up for what you believe in and make a difference, and you’re truly dedicated to your neighbourhood, becoming a councillor could be perfect for you.

Do I have the right skills?
Being able to engage with your local community is the most important factor in becoming a councillor. Not only will it help you discover issues close to people’s hearts and discuss improvements they’d like to see, you’ll also need to encourage people to vote for you. People will want to hear good ideas, too, and problem solving and analytical skills will really help here. Can you look at every aspect of a problem and come up with a solution?

Isn’t it a lot of work?
It depends. Councillors always have to fit their elected lives around home life and jobs, but if you’re committed to helping out your community it won’t be a problem. Small, rural councils may only need 5 hours a week from their councillors, whereas larger councils can sometimes need 20 hours a week or more from their elected representatives. But for all the extra effort, you’ll be instrumental in making lives better where you live.

Sounds great! Are there any requirements?
A few. You’ll need to be

  • a British/Commonwealth/EU citizen,
  • at least 18 years old, and
  • registered to vote in your area or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before an election.
  • The Electoral Commission has lots more information on the rules you’ll need to follow.

    Will I get paid?
    You won’t get a salary but you’ll receive an allowance for any expenses incurred and your time. The rate varies from council to council, but every councillor is rewarded with gratitude and thanks from the people they serve. Priceless!

    Is there any support available to help me?
    Most councils have an induction scheme to help new councillors get to grips with the job, and many will provide you with a computer or tablet to get the job done. More and more councillors are choosing case management systems like eCasework to help them solve problems for residents, but you might prefer to juggle the emails, phone calls and social networking services yourself.

    Where can I find out more?
    If you’re gagging to get involved, we strongly recommend taking a look at Be A Councillor which has tons of information, as well as stories from other people that took the plunge and love their elected life. You can also talk to your local council or take a look at the Elections section on their website.

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