Help people to help people

When your dishwasher has packed up and has a nasty red warning light flashing, what you might do is head to Google and post a question to a forum saying "what does this light mean and can I fix it?". You may then get a helpful person who has also seen such a warning light flashing say "don't worry you just need to add salt".... Now this is much quicker than trying to contact the manufacturer or retailer to get them to help, you will likely be waiting ages if they help at all. Where I'm going here is that the Council too often takes what I see as a paternalistic role akin to that of the manufacturer or retailer above.


The idea is simple. The Council should enable person to person help around specific service topics. Specifically the city council should have a forum with comment options on all its service webpages that allow the public to respond to each others requests for help. 

Why the contribution is important

I knew little about Adult social care until my elderly Nan needed help in her last year or two before she sadly died. Now as a member of the public I could and would advise another on how to work the system. I'd have first hand experience and would be trusted. I don't have to give a corporate answer. If we the council offered such a forum based approach people can help each other far more without the need for beaurocratic council intervention. If the Council see something and think they can help they can always butt in, please try this what harm can it do?

by APublicServant on December 15, 2014 at 05:32PM

Current Rating

Average score : 5.0
Based on : 3 votes


  • Posted by Brummie38 December 16, 2014 at 06:30

    This is a great idea.

    Of course you need to be a bit cautious (some people will say "the red light means swop the earth and live wires" - or maybe "hide your savings in the sofa so the social don't see them") but in reality these kinds of approaches are self-policing (some engineer will come along and say "don't do that it'll kill you").

    The new hyperlocal sites seem to be really helpful on local issues. Do we also need some thematic sites (eg on adult social care) to facilitate this "self help"?
  • Posted by APublicServant December 16, 2014 at 17:32

    Thanks Brummie38 :-)

    I agree about the caution I guess my 'but' like you suggest I would hope for self policing and a healthy dose of common sense. Nothing to stop the Council or other organisations from following such forums and adding advice where they see fit.

    I like the idea of theme. My idea was I guess that there should be comment/forum options on each web page of the council that would automatically link you into the right theme/forum area. e.g. I'm looking for advice on residential care on the residential care pages of the council website. An option on this page is to pose a question to the forum.
Log in or register to add comments and rate ideas

Idea topics