Grand jury sees the future and it’s on Facebook

The county is thinking of using Facebook and other social media to better communicate with younger people, according to a report from the civil grand jury that prodded the government to do more to reach out to constituents.

The grand jury report, “What’s On Line: e-government in San Luis Obispo County,” lauded county leaders for the online government services they have implemented over the past decade.

However, the county has a way to go in garnering citizen participation, jurors wrote.

“The county appears to have no mechanism for obtaining input from its external clients about its delivery of e-Gov services,” jurors wrote.

It should establish “an e-Gov advisory group” consisting of private citizens and business people, the grand jury wrote.

It also should develop a “focus group approach” to seek feedback from the citizenry.

Ideally, one-stop shopping would be in place, which would, for example, allow a would-be business to obtain all information and pay all fees through one site, rather than multiple sites.

The grand jury added that internal communication falls short, with the county having “paid relatively little attention to its internal clients, i.e. county agencies.”

Government could run more efficiently if such a system were in place, jurors wrote.

“There is a large body of agency information that could be uploaded to the county’s intranet for all employees to access,” the grand jury wrote, referring to the county government’s internal computer network.

Grand jurors recommended that county leaders query their employees about ways to improve so-called e-services.

Although they recommended improvements, grand jurors also praised county leaders for what they have done so far, including helping citizens pay property and some other fees online and making agendas and other information accessible.

The report will go to the San Luis Obispo County General Services Agency and the Board of Supervisors for a legally mandated response.