We’ve been doing some work with Barnet Borough Council recently, such as a nice planning alerts tool. Simple, useful, well built stuff that meets an obvious need – exactly the sort of stuff we’re keen to work on with all our clients.
During our conversations with the officers at Barnet, it became apparent that one thing they were thinking about a lot was how to support all the people who want to have Royal Wedding street parties. The dilemma was pretty simple: they want people to have a good time, but each street party means closing a street to traffic and doing other things that take time and money. And this isn’t worth doing if it turns out the people on the street weren’t really up for it anyway.
Reducing a risk like this sounded like exactly the sort of problem that PledgeBank was built to tackle, so we’ve customized it a bit for this specific purpose, added a big, cheesy picture of the happy couple, and launched Barnet’s Royal Wedding Street Party page.
The mechanic is nice and simple – you tell the council who you are and what street you live on. They then send you a back link to a street-specific pledge that needs signing by people in three households. You pass this around your neighbours, get the signatures, and presto, Barnet will support your party.
Lovingly built by mySociety’s Dave Whiteland, this might not exactly be the biggest story in local government history. However I do think it’s a nice and surprisingly rare example of developing a small bit of policy that aligns just so with a new bit of technology. It’s not trying to ram a square technology peg into a round policy hole. I hope we get to work on more things like this in future.