Spanning the public sector divide: we have so much to learn from the Police’s use of social media?

This blog was initially posted by @lesleyahpd in September on her web site. It should have particular resonance with the fledgling AHP Social Media community.


Spanning the public sector divide: we have so much to learn from the Police’s use of social media?

I consider myself fortunate for many reasons. I work in Health, have a high degree of personal autonomy and influence and work in Scotland, those among other things. Working in such a way, it becomes very easy to accept the ‘interesting’ as routine with much being appreciated but little clocked as truly exceptional.

Last week however was not a routine week. Last week I was present at a meeting where DCC Gordon Scobbie of Tayside Police gave a presentation about how they are using, no, totally embracing the power of social media to engage the public throughout the UK and particularly within local communities. Check him out@DCCTayside

Interestingly, both Health and the Police are here to serve the needs of communities and support well-being in its widest sense. Like Health, they also recognise the need for guidance to support their workforce but was struck about how we’ve approached this issue so differently.

We have recently developed some guidance for AHPs in Scotland that’s currently being considered by the HPC for use throughout the UK: ‘Guidance for Scottish Allied Health Professionals about their Use of Social Media‘ and ‘Scottish Allied Health Professionals and Social Media’

Always keen to avoid duplication of effort, we based this on what we considered to be the best from that published by the BMA and the RCN and were quite content with our efforts.

216728_528236690562067_157132148_nAt last weeks meeting Gordon Scobbie shared with us the guidance the Police have developed and use aptly titled ‘Engage’

This turned into one of those ‘eureka moments’. Until that moment, I really hadn’t recognised that the guidance we’d produced, rather than encouraging and supporting staff to become active users of social media in the professional sense to the good, it could actually be having the opposite effect. Compared with our own efforts, the stark difference is all too evident. The realization that it could be interpreted as top down, focusing on risks, pitfalls, what we shouldn’t be doing – more off putting for new and novice users than helpful was humbling.

What have I learned? We need to liaise much more closely with our public sector colleagues, there is much to learn and share. We will also be reviewing the guidance we provide to the 12,000 Scottish and 150,000 UK AHPs and radically change our approach. This has been a salient lesson. We need to understand what real ‘engagement’ of our colleagues looks like. We need to get over the positivity, the potential, how we will nurture and support building confidence so evident in the Police guidance.

2008-forth-rail-bridgeSo, for me this begs the question, what else could we learn from each other and what do we need to do to make this happen? Just how do we span the public sector divide?

Watch this space, we have a plan….formative but a plan…..

#inspired, thank you Gordon.


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