Highland Council ranked one of top councils for online presence

The Highland Council’s new website has risen to the top 6% of UK Local Government websites, according to an independent survey into online presence.

The website, launched in July 2014, aims to focus more on the needs of the customer and provides a platform to deliver more services online.

Independent survey tool, SiteMorse, found that in Q4 of 2014, the Highland Council website had risen to the rank of 25th out of 429 UK Local Government organisations in terms of online capability (taking into account Function, Accessibility, Code Quality, Performance, Email, Metadata and PDFs). During the same quarter in the previous year, the Highland Council website ranked 87th in this category. This means that the Council’s website now ranks in the top 6% of UK Local Government organisation websites.

The new site was designed to be an agile and responsive, customer driven platform and initial indications are that the new website has been an improvement on the previous web presence. The foundation is now in place to provide a flexible platform for digital delivery of customer services and general information which is compatible with a range of mobile devices and the evolving mobile environment. The launch of the School closures content and the linking in of social media (Facebook/twitter) has been widely considered a success and further development is underway to enhance the content and processes that the website provides.

Improvement to the website is set to continue into the future with the addition of more online services and the introduction of the “myaccount” service, aiming to give people a simple and secure way to access public services online.  Once establishing this service, Highland Council will be one of only two Scottish Local Government organisations to do so.

An external survey of the Council’s website is underway at the moment.  Those surveyed include the citizens panel, community councils and elected members.  A formal report of the findings of the survey will be presented at the Resources Committee on the 25 of February 2015.

Considerable effort has been made to increase our social media presence and extend our reach to the public in the Highlands, in order to disseminate and signpost information, as well as engage with online followers.

Twitter followers have increased from 8474 in September 2014 to 10,000, putting us in 12th place for Scottish Local Authorities.  Facebook “likes” have increased from 1431 and 18th place on 1 September 2014 to 6680 and 9th place at 19/1/15. This is a 367% increase.

Chairman of Resources, Councillor Maxine Smith commented, “ At first former users of the Council’s website were unsure of the new site as they had become very familiar with the old one, but now, as people are more au fait with all the new detail, they are beginning to embrace it.  New users especially are finding it easy to use and navigate and it is useful for those who want to apply for things online or indeed make payments.   

“The users will increase as the months go on as more and more applications become available for the general public, as well as the satisfaction levels.  I am delighted that Highland Council are progressing so quickly up the league tables and am sure this is set to rise even higher.”

The Highland Council website can be found at: http://www.highland.gov.uk/
Highland Council Twitter: www.twitter.com/highlandcouncil
Highland Council Facebook: www.facebook.com/highlandcouncil


20 Jan 2015
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