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Showing posts from October, 2013

Centring on savings sells digital short

You might have seen a paper published last week by UKAuthority reporting that 40% of councils say they're not making savings by using digital.

Whilst I agree with much of the sentiment of the paper I noticed that Steve Halliday, President of SocITM commented on Twitter that perhaps it was "council accountants fail(ing) to count savings achieved through digital" and I can see his point.

I very much doubt that there's a single council that isn't making some sort of saving through digital, it's just that this information hasn't been collated or reported. After all, every council has a website, so this must be be providing some saving, in that it's preventing a level of what used to be referred to as "avoidable contact", so why wasn't this reported?

I'm not advocating the introduction of performance indicators that tie council staff up in red tape rather then delivering services. I'm just saying that when a council says it&#…

Being Really Useful

Last Tuesday I took part in a Really Useful Day in Newbury. The event was the biggest Really Useful Day so far, and saw over 50 people from more than 25 councils attend.

The days are organised byLocal DirectGov, a service run by Department for Communities and Local Government. This was the second LocalGov Digital / Local DirectGov collaboration, the first being part of Create/Innovate in Devon, though in truth all the credit goes to Louise and Abby from Local DirectGov for organising the day.

We heard how Adur and Worthing Councils and Brighton and Hove Council created new websites and from myself on "Connecting Councils", how council officers can collaborate and share using digital media.

I know I promote a digital agenda, but there's sometimes no substitute for face-to-face collaboration and what marks a Really Useful Day apart from many events is the level of practical participation. People are encouraged to think and solve problems together, rather than just …

Four bits of advice for new LocalGov websites.

 John Fox recently posted designs for the new Sheffield City Council website on Google+. I applaud anyone who does this and opens their designs up to critique and criticism; it can only produce a better result for the end user. A discussion followed which prompted me to come up with the following four bits of advice if you're creating a new Local Government website:

Treat Google as your home page. Prioritise the SEO work above things like including top tasks on your home page. At least twice as many people will come from Google than visit your home page.


Treat every page as landing page. Assess the tasks one might need associated with this particular service, wherever they might be on the site and whoever might provide them, and link to them.

For example, if you want to build an extension on your house you'll need to know about Planning Applications and you'll probably need to know about Building Control which are generally in the same areas of a council website.

Less like…