TUC Communication Awards 2016
It’s the time of year when the TUC give out their awards for the best use of communications amongst unions. I’m always interested in the digital categories to see how unions are developing their websites and other tools.
There is one big change this year. Previously there were two digital categories – best website and best e-communications.
This year, they have been merged into one: ‘best membership communication – digital’. I think this is a shame. It reduces the proportion of the awards focused on digital at a time when unions should be encouraged as much as possible to grasp the inevitable shift from paper-based communications to electronic.
The winner of the new ‘best membership communication – digital’ is UNISON’s VOTR2015 web app. This clever tool was aimed at voters in last year’s general election, providing a novel way to engage people with the implications of the policies of the main parties.
UNISON's VOTR 2015 Web App[/caption] Using a ‘tinder’ style swipe mechanism to select the policies you like and don’t like is a brilliant idea. It’s engaging, provides a simple interface whilst tapping into popular culture.
The ‘web app’ format works well too. It allows platform independence, so anybody with a mobile, tablet or desktop can access it. The ‘highly commended’ runner up is BALPA’s 2WAY App. This is a members’ only App that provides easy access to useful features and contact details.
As I’m not a BALPA member, I haven’t been able to see what the features are, but I assume the big advantage of making this an App rather than a website is that members can access it offline – very useful if you’re job involves flying planes.
These two tools are great examples of the innovations unions are making in technology. I do hope they reintroduce the ‘best website’ category next year though. The judges have rightly focused on some innovative technology, but as a result, the awards have lost their focus on a unions’ single most important communication tool - their websites.