Is it time to have an award for the best written policy paper in local government? The award would allow councils to showcase the writing talent of their officers and let the public know the good work that is being done within Councils.
Officers could be recognized and honoured for the excellent writing and analytical skills shown in local government policy papers.
I often see well-written policy papers published on council websites, but I know that there are good papers that never get published on the web.
I would be interested in knowing what others thought of that idea. Is this something you do or consider doing in your organisation (if it is large enough) or across local government?
What made me think about this is on a several academic sites and legal sites; they tell you the top downloaded paper or the most cited paper, or the highest rated law journal. However, I have never seen something like that for local government policy papers.
I think there could be a number of categories for submission, and criteria for selecting such as length, readability, cogency, style, and clarity. You could have a public vote and have judges so that you could mix the popular and the technical. What would make the contest interesting is that only papers written in the previous year could be submitted so that someone does not purposefully write for the contest.
We could also have a historical category so that anyone could pull out a paper from any previous year, say anything over 15 years ago and nominate it in the pre-Web era when you could not scan the internet, borrow someone else’s work, and then reformulate it into a form for your purposes.
In any case, even if you had people writing or submitting for the year, you would allow people the opportunity to have their work showcased and recognised for its intrinsic value as well as what it provided to the organisation.
You could open this up to the US, Australia, NZ, Canada for public sector writing.
I would be interested in your thoughts on this and whether this is something to propose to one of the annual local, government awards conferences such as through the LGC, or the MJ, or the LGA or just have a contest like the Mercury or Booker awards and whether some could be done internationally.