This tip was sent to our Contented Newsletter subscribers recently.
Sometimes web managers of public service web sites are forced to retain a web page that would be better deleted or placed on the intranet.
Our Mission and Our Values may need to be displayed online for political or legal reasons.
There's an obvious problem: mission statements and values are written to inspire and steer the staff and managers -- not the public. All too often they come across as stifling bureaucratese or nauseating self-delusion. And after any unfortunate experience with the local body, Yeah, right! is the cynical response from the public.
What to do? You are not allowed to rewrite the statements: they are set in stone. Here's one kind of solution. For once, instead of making a page shorter you could make it longer, and say something worth saying. Think about who will read it, and how they and you might benefit. An example of a "good save" follows.
Mission and values of Sprungfield City Council
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As a resident of Sprungfield, you have a right to know the values your Council holds. After all, you are both our customer and (if a ratepayer) our employer. We try to ensure every Council employee, from the CEO to our frontline staff, lives up to these values in their service to the public. Sometimes we appreciate a little reminder!
The values we try to live up to
We welcome change and encourage initiative.
We respect people.
We co-operate with others.
We work hard.
We enjoy work and our working relationships.
The mission statement we have on our wall
Sprungfield City is a green, vibrant, education-centred city that is safe and friendly for residents and visitors.
The mission statement is a goal shared by everyone on your Council. But it's not our idea: it's yours! It summarises the main opinions expressed when we consulted Sprungfield residents about our city's future. When we see this statement, it inspires us and reminds us of what you want.
The mission statement is phrased as if it were already true. That's to keep us feeling positive, helping us to believe our mission is achievable. And hey, we are well on the way.