The public are often short of time and live in a world where they can view almost anything they want from a little screen that fits in their pocket. Local government also needs these very same people to be 'active participants' in democracy in order for a healthier and more informed democracy to function. With this in mind why is it that reports for all manner of Council meetings that are of the upmost importance to local people consist of page after page of solid text that can often be worded in a very technical and dull manner.
Whilst it may be that the reports need to contain a lot of information and need to be factual and technical there should be no reason why information cannot be provided in a much more visual and interactive fashion. More use of inforgraphics should be made, these would make information much easier to digest and can convey a lot of information to a member of the public very quickly. A good example of this is the following inforgraphic which explores the data behind lost UK passports: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/225900/ETD_Infographic_v4.pdf
There are free and easy to use tools that facilitate this kind of graphic. In addition to this a number of other tools could be utilised to improve the usability and accesibility of council reports. For example use Could be made of YouTube videos. Reports could have embedded in them videos of the relevant Scrutiny chair giving his view on the report or a montage of community groups whose input has been sought during the report. Perhaps reports could also contain a twitter handle that members of the public could tweet questions to on the subject in question.
I would be interested in learning from others and would welcome suggestions on how long wordy technical reports could be improved so that members of the public are able to engage with them.