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Councils show inconsistency in website performance


Round-up of Socitm Better Connected surveys points to contrasting results for different tasks and highlights 42 top performers

Local authorities are inconsistent in their performance of different tasks through their websites, according to the overall results of public sector IT association Socitm’s Better Connected 2017-18 survey.

It also says that 42 councils have been named as top performers in the just reported final results.

Among its key findings was the sharp variation in performance. The highs include 70% of sites achieving three or four stars for ‘find out about roadworks’ and 63% for ‘take rubbish to tip' and ’report a faulty streetlight’. But this contrasts with results in the low 30s for 'apply for landlord licence and 'find out about parking' and just 39% for 'find out about councillor' and 'sign up for e-resources'.

The report says the performance of websites in service based tasks often reflects the degree of commitment by individual services to digital as well as their awareness of the need to procure software that enables quick and easy self-service by customers.

Mobile responsive

Among the other positives is that there has been a further increase in the number of council websites that present a responsive site (purposed for mobile use) when accessed from a smartphone.  94% of sites now do so, compared with 89% in 2016-17, 80% in 2015-16 and 57% in 2015.

In addition, 62% of websites tested passed the Better Connected test of their accessibility to people with disabilities; and councils have done well in terms of the findability of most services and tasks from Google searches.

Under the programme all 414 UK local authority websites are given a star ranking on a scale of 1-4, with four stars available only to sites that pass the Better Connected accessibility test.

The 42 sites to achieve four stars include those for seven English counties, 10 district councils, five Scottish unitaries, eight English unitaries, one Welsh council, eight metropolitan districts and three London boroughs.

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