Or Project Citizen Sarah to give the full name.
I’m one of those people that likes to exist right on the edge of having too much to do (while also being physically lazy). So, with about five weeks to go until my second child is born I’m using my maternity leave to prepare for that event and Christmas as well as working on my MA dissertation.
That isn’t quite enough though so as a little extra project in the six months I’ll be away from my desk job I’ve devised Project Citizen Sarah. It’s not amazingly clever – just a way of conciously tracking my interactions with local and central government as a citizen.
I’m obviously interested in how many of these interactions can take place online and what that experience is like. In the first week I’ve applied for a primary school place for my oldest child, requested new recycling boxes and tried to apply for a library card. It’s already an interesting mix of experiences with various success rates.
I’m mainly tracking this on the Twitter hashtag #citizensarah and have set this up on TwapperKeeper so I can gather all the interactions over the course of the six months.
I think it will help me still keep connected to digital local gov while I’m off but hopefully mean I return to work with a different view of how people are trying to use the services we provide.
9 thoughts on “Project CS”
Brilliant idea! Will follow with great interest. And good luck with the baby.
It’s already been interesting – I’m trying to work out a sort of heuristic evaluation matrix to make sure I think about similar things for each interaction. At the moment it’s just been ‘can I achieve it online?’ ‘was it easy?’ ‘would I do it again / recommend it to others?’ ‘what would I change?’.
I try to think like this when at work but actually having to complete a task in my own life and not having any direct ability to make changes is really helping me focus!
You will inevitably analyse your experiences based on a knowledge of what the likely back office supporting scenario will be, regardless of the service provider. Its all grist to the mill; your experiences as a citizen, disengaged as it were from the day to day local government politik, will – I suspect – prove to be quite an eye opener.
I think knowing what the excuse / explanation would be is more frustrating if anything! I only have this for county interactions though, the district council and central government site back offices are a mystery to me!
Of course I can’t be completely disengaged but I’m hoping it helps me improve the way I look at things when I do return to work – I’ve always tried to look at things from the citizen POV but maybe over these 6 months making a conscious note of how I felt about things will enhance that viewpoint!
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