The NSW State Government made what was seen by many as a rather bold decree late last year, telling local councils they would soon be required to ‘webcast’ council meetings.
Part of the ‘Model Code of Meeting Practice’ now in development by the state, the ‘webcast decree’ is intended to make council proceedings in the 128 local government areas more consistent and accessible to the public, regardless of whether people are able to attend chambers or not.
Local councils, certainly on the east coast of Australia, have been amalgamating apace and therefore becoming much larger, responsible for vastly more people, land and assets, demanding new approaches to community engagement and the sharing of information.
Meanwhile, incidence of scandals and mismanagement have plagued some councils, putting them in the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons, sparking calls for greater transparency and for the public to have a greater say in how things are done.
In this blog, we’ll look at the first driver and discuss how government agencies are using webcasting technologies like live video streaming – aided by faster communications technologies like the NBN – to create more authentic communications for deeper community engagement and more effective government, and ponder how local governments could see transformational benefits through their deployment.
5 ways live video streaming improves government communications
1: Better employee engagement
State governments, but especially federal agencies in Australia are discovering live video streaming is a powerful tool for ensuring important information and messages for employees is produced, delivered, shared and stored in such a way as to be entirely consistent, reliable and reference-able.
This, and the ability for audiences to participate in the conversation, suggest and share ideas has been shown to deliver better workplace outcomes, job satisfaction and even staff morale.
2: Public education
If there’s one thing all levels of governments in Australia have in common, it’s the responsibility for managing and conveying large amounts of valuable information, be it about services, laws and regulations, transactions and of course any changes citizens need to know about.
The migration of government information online has been transformational over the past 20 years. However, it can’t compete with live video streaming as a medium for presenting information in clear, simple terms. We live in a video-driven world, and there are multiple research findings confirming people engage far more with video than with text-based content, while at the same time retaining significantly more information.
3: Community messages
Similar to the above, community messages are, by definition communications that impact the lives of citizens. The key difference is that they are often time-sensitive. It might be messages related to community safety during times of emergency, or it could be to do with community events such as festivals or community markets.
With live video streaming, important information such as this can be delivered effectively in real-time to large numbers of people regardless of location or what digital device they might be using.
4: Media centres
In addition to live video streaming, Government organisations often look at creating ‘media centres’ – or video libraries – to house content and make this available to staff, media outlets and the community.
Not only is the content/messaging saved, helping to ensure strength and consistency of message, but another significant benefit is the storing of comments, be they from members of the community, government officials or other stakeholders.
5: Media and public relations
Journalists and media outlets are under more pressure than ever to ensure their audiences get what they need to know virtually immediately.
State and federal media departments feel this most acutely, local councils are feeling the pinch too, especially when community concerns escalate around an issue that immediately impacts lives and/or are complex and divisive.
The ability to direct media to information sources that are clear, consistent and quickly accessible is therefore critical.
Understandably, the ‘webcasting decree’ isn’t without its critics, primarily concerned by the prospect of local councils being distracted from more critical concerns, such as providing drought – or flood – relief and other services to support communities.
However, the experiences of government organisations deploying effective live video streaming capability attest that people and communities reliant on local government will be better – not worse – off the more broadly the technology is deployed.
Viostream is a pioneer of live video streaming in Australia, has helped some of our biggest brands and most critical government agencies deploy the technology. Connect with us today to learn how your agency can work better for itself and its communities.