James Gilbert is a Communications Manager at East Lindsey District Council
To truly understand the issues that are important to our communities we need to talk to them more and actually listen to what we're being told. That's obvious. You need to know what matters to your customers and you need regular intelligence to inform what you do.
In East Lindsey we're very proud of a successful programme we've launched called 'Street Talking'. Led by the Council, each week we take our services onto the streets of our District, along with our partner organisations to explain what we all do, why we've made certain policy decisions and to get feedback from the people we serve. We position ourselves alongside the cobbler, butcher and fruit and veg man on our local markets. With a branded market stall we have a good profile and find that people want to come and talk to us to find out about the services we can offer to them and occasionally to have a grumble - for very good reason at times!
Being a large rural district covering some 700sq miles poses its challenges but 'Street Talking' has created a new environment for people to come and talks to us - one that is less formal than a Customer Service Centre and more appealing to some. This approach has also presented us with an opportunity to show that we're real people, passionate about what we do and passionate about serving our local area.
Are you 'Street Talking'? If not, should you be?