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Should Better Connected continue to test councils’ A-Z function

Vicky Sargent
Fri 04 Aug 2017

This year’s survey found that 107 of the UK’s 416 council websites – just over a quarter - have dropped the A-Z feature on their websites.

It is slowly but steadily growing trend. Last year we found 80 sites (19%) without one, 12% in 2015 and 7% in 2014.

But a quick check of council websites that have recently been re-designed shows that around two thirds of those relaunched* between January and June this year continue to provide an A-Z.

 

Congratulations to 46 councils performing consistently well on Better Connected service tasks in 2016-17 tests

Vicky Sargent
Tue 01 Aug 2017

At the end of each year’s survey cycle, Better Connected focuses applause on those councils that achieve four stars. This year there were 36 of them, 9% of all UK councils.

In this post by contrast, we applaud councils that passed (ie achieved 3 or 4 stars) on all their four service task tests. These councils are achieving a good or very good customer experience online across services as diverse as social care, licensing, building control, libraries and highways.

Presentations from Connected Local Government Live 2017 available

Vicky Sargent
Tue 11 Jul 2017

Presentations from Connected Local Government Live, held in Birmingham 28 & 29 June are now available.

Among them are a series of presentations giving feedback on aspects of Better Connected testing, including the mobile, search, navigation and A-Z testing, and our accesibility testing.

In addition, there were presentations focused on learning from some of the service task testing, including planning, libraries, waste management and social care.

 

Fewer than half of revamped council websites pass Socitm Better Connected user tests

Vicky Sargent
Mon 10 Jul 2017

Fewer than half of the 91 council websites re-designed between April 2016 and March 2017 have achieved the pass mark in Better Connected's search/navigation/A-Z test and its access from mobiles test.

The analysis uses information about council websites that have undergone re-design from Jumoo's Localgov Pagespeedy service, which, as part of its monthly analysis of local authority sites, takes monthly screenshots and makes a manual comparison to detect new sites launched.

Better Connected: applications open for 2016-17 re-reviews

Vicky Sargent
Tue 04 Jul 2017

Did any of this year’s Better Connected surveys identify issues with aspects of your website that you have subsequently fixed or which you intend to fix?

Would you like the opportunity for a re-review which could raise your published score for individual tasks or your overall star rating in Better Connected?

If the answer to both questions is ‘yes’, then please contact us as soon as you are ready as we are now taking bookings for paid for re-reviews. These are different from BC challenges, where you think we got something wrong. These we look into as part of the BC process, free of any charge.

Better Connected Awards 2016-17 full results

Vicky Sargent
Fri 30 Jun 2017

We presented the Better Connected Awards on Wednesday evening as part of the Connected Local Government Live event in Birmingham.

Results are based on aggregation of published scores from the surveys.

Congratulations to all our winners, but especially to Chelmsford City, nominated in four categories and winner in three, and on this performance taking the Overall Winner Award for Better Connected in 2016-17.

Many congratulations to all our winners and nominated councils.

Better Connected Awards 2016-17 shortlist

Vicky Sargent
Mon 05 Jun 2017

Fifty councils are on our shortlist for the Better Connected Awards, to be presented at the end of day one of the Connected Local Government Live event in Birmingham on 28/29 June. The awards are based on performance in the Better Connected surveys, and will be given in 16 categories with multiple winners in a number of categories.

Accessibility stage two results

Vicky Sargent
Tue 09 May 2017

134 of 195 council websites (69%) have passed the Socitm Better Connected accessibility test, indicating that their website content can be consumed by people with disabilities, including those using the keyboard only or assistive technologies like screenreaders.

This year Better Connected introduced a new, two-stage process for accessibility testing.

 

Two thirds of councils pass stage one accessibility to qualify for full Better Connected test

Vicky Sargent
Fri 06 Jan 2017

Two thirds of the UK’s 416 council websites have passed the first stage of the Better Connected test for accessibility to people with disabilities, becoming eligible for the full test in February. Results come from a new, two-stage process introduced by Socitm’s Better Connected programme for testing and reporting the accessibility of council websites. Tests check for the degree of access available to mobility impaired, low vision, colour blind and dyslexic users, including those accessing sites by keyboard only or using other assistive technologies.


First results and reports from Better Connected 2016-17 due this month!

Vicky Sargent
Thu 01 Dec 2016

Later this month every UK council will see results published from at least one of the four service based surveys that will be undertaken as part of their assessment in this Better Connected cycle. For most councils the results will be on ‘apply for building control’, but for metropolitan districts it will be ‘apply for housing’ and county councils, ‘access e-books and resources from libraries’.

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