Submitting FoI requests by Twitter

Last year the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that Twitter is a valid medium for sending Fredom of Information (FoI) requests, and we are happy to receive FOIs this way via our @monmouthshirecc Twitter account.

So here is a brief description on how you can make a request for information under the FoI Act in Monmouthshire.

FoI requests need to be recorded in a permanent form, which means they are usually made by email or letter.  Unless you tell us otherwise, we would normally respond via the medium used to contact us so email requests have email responses, and letter requests have letter responses.  Responses are due within 20 working days of when we receive the request.

If you’d like to use Twitter to submit an FOI request then you will need to include in your tweet:

  • “@monmouthshirecc”: our Twitter @username so we are aware of your request
  • your name
  • your contact details (e.g. email address or home address)
  • your question

E.g. “@monmouthshirecc FOI request: What did you spend on recycling collection 2009-10? Jo Blogs, joblogs@hotmail.com”

Of course each tweet only gives you 140 characters so you could blog your question and contact details then send us a link via Twitter. This will give you more room to elaborate.

E.g. “@monmouthshirecc FOI request: http://www.joblogs.com/foirequestblogpost”;

The process for Twitter FoIs is:

  • our communications team receive the tweet
  • it’s sent to the FoI team who will ensure the answer is blogged or emailed within 20 working days of getting the tweet
  • if you asked for response by Twitter we will send a link to that blog post with the answer to you to the account where you made the request (or the FOI team will email or post it to you if you’d prefer)

E.g. In response to:

“@monmouthshirecc FOI request: What did you spend on recycling collection 2009-10? Jo Blogs, joblogs@hotmail.com”

We would respond within 20 working days with:

“@joblogs Here is a response to your FoI http://www.monmouthshirecc.wordpress.com/FoIanswer1″;

In all cases of FoI requests, where people specify how they would like their response (e.g. electronically, by post or email) we will do our best to provide the answer in that format if practical.

If you would prefer you details and question were kept private then you can use email or contact us by letter:

The Performance Monitoring Officer,
1st Floor
County Hall
Cwmbran   NP44 2XH

Monmouthshire County Council
PO Box 106
Caldicot
NP26 9AN

[edited 22/10/12]

e-mail:  foi@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Posted by Helen in Communications

A Christmas thank you from the Chief Executive

Someone reminded me the other day that if you are lucky, you get about 80 goes at this Christmas thing so don’t waste too many. If you are reading this you have probably used up well in excess of 20 already so do your best to make this one special for yourself and the people that you care most about.

You have been amazing this year and have made an enormous difference to the lives of the people and communities of Monmouthshire. Now we know that your efforts often go unrecognised, but not by me. Thanks for everything you have done and the selfless way that you have conducted yourself.

All I can promise for next year is more challenges, more highs and a few lows. We continue to learn from elite visitors such as Sam Warburton, Simon Gibson and Non Evans that elite performance is impossible without outstanding preparation. We are reminded that everyone wants to be the best but the very few that get there are the ones that have been prepared to do the hard unseen and unappreciated work. Those hard yards are the ones that lead to celebration – I’ve seen so many of you taking this honest path – and that’s why I love this place and choose to stay here.

Good preparation involves rest and for many of us the next week or so offers a chance for this, so take it and enjoy it. Press the snooze button, have the second cup of tea, you deserve it. At the same time spare a small thought for your colleagues who will still be doing their thing. We are a 24/7, 365 day organisation.

To those of you on duty rotas, down in Severn View, at Budden Crescent, providing homecare services, keeping the highway network running, dealing with flood call outs, picking up the rubbish (hopefully mostly recyclates), helping families in crisis, we remain ever grateful to you, even when we forget to tell you.

Next year we need to get even closer together as an organisation. All we have is each other and we are going to need our collective strength. I’m going to be giving much thought to how we can achieve this. This is your organisation, you need to enjoy it and be proud of it and I need, as far as I can, to create the conditions that make this possible for you.

So, whether it’s the Holy Spirit, distilled spirit or some combination of the two that works for you, kick back, have fun and charge those batteries well.

I wish you the very best for the Christmas period and I am grateful to each and every one of you for your contribution.

Paul

Monmouthshire looks for young coders

Today, Monmouthshire hosted its first young coders day to introduce young people to the world of coding and software

codingdevelopment. The group of twenty youngsters took to the tasks naturally as they programmed and scripted various applications to solve problems.

McKenzie and Harry, budding coders of nine and twelve years old, described the day as a success: “It was awesome to see how things like Facebook and Instagram worked. We want to do more things like this so we can get paid to do it when we grow up!”

The day was planned and ran by a group of young programmers for young people, who are looking to roll out more coding days soon. Kyle and Tom who led the sessions said: “We were hoping that the Bt9eCssCcAAwNThkids who took part would enjoy the day and it’s even better that they are looking to choose coding and programming as a career. We’re looking to run more sessions in Abergavenny, Monmouth, Chepstow and Caldicot soon, especially in schools if they want us to deliver some sessions. We want to get a big group of young coders from Monmouthshire talking to eachother – who knows what could happen!”

You can contact kylebrown@monmouthshire.gov.uk or tomherbert@monmouthshire.gov.uk to get involved or find out more information for more sessions that will take place soon.

How we went from 22, 000 web pages to 469

Joanna Goodwin:

A post from one of our officers, Joanna Goodwin about the developments to content on the Monmouthshire website

Originally posted on Joanna Goodwin:

Local authority websites are notoriously huge websites with masses of content. When I started with Monmouthshire County Council in December, 2011, we had over 22,000 pages on the corporate website. This has huge implications for users- not only was the site slow and ‘clunky’ but finding any information was very difficult.

We had thousands of pages that were very poor quality. I remember we had 12 pages about home composting (who would bother reading that?!) and 6 versions of our council tax page (which is the right page?!). There was no clarity or consistency throughout the site so we took on the content.

Our first step was to look at our analytics and see what pages were popular, and which weren’t. We found that 500 pages had no hits in the past year so decided to simply delete them- no one even noticed!

After this we grouped the content to mirror our…

View original 569 more words

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