The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Panos Panagiotopoulos, Dennis De Widt, Martin Laffin: How UK local government actors reacted to 2013 central spending decisions: the #localgov Twitter community

Panos Panagiotopoulos, Dennis De Widt, Martin Laffin

Queen Mary University of London


Crowdsourcing has mainly been seen as relevant to citizen-government relationships, however expertise within the government can be an important source of policy innovation and at the same time reflect actual processes of institutional change. This paper presents findings from #localgov, which is a Twitter hashtag mainly used by local government professionals in the UK. From an initial dataset that includes 146,981 tweets from June 2013 to June 2014, we focus the analysis on messages related to service innovation and reform in the context of budget reductions in local government. This includes reactions to the spending Reviews in June 2013 and December 2013 that announced further cuts. The study points to the importance of endogenous sources of crowdsourcing since we find that informal networking tools like Twitter can accelerate institutional sharing and cross-service interaction. Nevertheless, Twitter discussions reflect a traditionally complicated landscape of intergovernmental relationships in England where the central-local duality remains strong.

Panos Panagiotopoulos, Dennis De Widt, Martin Laffin