Facebook-like website set up for inter-council networking

[caption id="attachment_614" align="alignright" width="250"]"Networking online" The Place is like Facebook for council members[/caption]

A website similar to Facebook called ‘the Place’ has been set up by the Breckland and South Holland district councils, after they decided to share a senior management team despite being located 50 miles apart and realised that video conferencing and WebEx were not good enough for constant communication.

The Place, set up by Kind of Digital,  can only be accessed by council members and fulfils their requirement for “a facility to leave messages, share ideas, communicate news, and collaborate on documents” according to Terry Huggins, chief executive of the two councils. He said the Place “is built on open source software, reducing development costs and time, and freeing resources to engage staff with using the system.”

Each member has a profile with their contact information, what they do and what skills they have and can post Twitter-style status updates that can be viewed by the whole network.

Huggins believes that since almost everyone is familiar with Facebook and Twitter, keeping the new website similar to popular social networking websites was important in order to “improve levels of engagement.”  Having used such websites himself, he believes that they can be extremely useful tools for local government staff.

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