Local authorities are first and foremost democratic bodies and so the information and services that they offer relating to local democracy are of vital importance.
A council is a body of democratic representation and not just a service provider. It is essential to get it right when providing information about who the councillors are and which political party is in control: they must be easy to find. Failures here are not just annoying; they are undemocratic.
All councils (408 councils in all).
Despite its importance in a democratic body, information about councillors and political control is mixed. Overall, only 46% of sites met our standard, significantly lower than the 62% reported last year when the scope of the task was broader. 41% of sites failed specifically because names and parties of local councillors could not be found (designated by our survey for the first time as an essential question) On the whole, democracy sections have failed to evolve significantly in the last few years. There are still sites where it is not possible to find out who your local councillor is, unless you know the name of the ward for that councillor. On most where this is the case, no advice is given for finding out which ward you are in. It is also often – in fact, more often than not – difficult to find a simple clear statement of which political party is in control of the council.
Check ‘coverage’ to see if your council has been surveyed. Go to councils page and select your council. Look for link to task report under 2016-17 results
NB Question highlighted in red is an ‘essential question’ that must be answered correctly for the council to meet the standard for this task. Questions highlighted in blue affect star ranking
|Questions to be answered "Yes"|
|• Does a site search return the correct result listed in the first five results?||88%|
|• Can I find out name and party of councillors for my ward using street or postcode search?||57%|
|• Can I find out the current political control of the council?||29%|
|• Does a Google search lead me to the task?||93%|
|• Does the service landing page provide a prominent link that goes directly to this task?||88%|
|• Does the home page lead me directly to the task?||89%|
|• Is there an entry in the A to Z index?||77%|
|• Would you recommend that other councils look at this implementation as an example of good practice?||12%|
|Out of date information, answered 'No'|
|• Did you come across any out-of-date information about this task?||2%|
|How effectively is this council promoting this as a task?|
|• How effectively is this council promoting this as a task?||2.2|
|Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion?|
|• Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion?||1.7|
Finding the task
Completing the task
Why do those councils who have implemented ModernGov not use the postcode look-up facility it offers? It is such an obvious thing to include! But I have now experienced ModernGov implementations in two councils at first hand and understand better why this is probably the case. In these councils the setting up and day-to-day administration of ModernGov is controlled by the democratic services manager (understandable) and the web manager seems to have little control or say in the matter (or has not tried to bring influence to bear). I suspect this may be the root cause of noninclusion of the postcode look-up. The democratic services team is, I should say, thinking ‘councillor’ rather than ‘customer’.
I suspect a similar circumstance is the root cause of the continuing lamentable lack of clear statements of political control, but here I think the web manager can bring more influence to bear, but doesn’t.
Ticks all the boxes; effective councillor landing page offers postcode look-up and crystal clear statement of political control.
This is the bee’s knees! I doubt this task can be bettered by another council. It’s bloomin’ brilliant!
Very good council and democracy section. Easy to navigate and engaging content. Really nice presentation of the political control of the council.
Really nice page from the search result which answered all of my questions. So simple and very effective.
Good statement of political control on councillors landing page, clear and unambiguous. Congratulations! Directed to use ‘My Uttlesford’ to conduct postcode look-up for councillor details – good use of online resource here too. It’s amazing how few councils remember to utilise such a resource for this purpose. So, well done, Uttlesford!
Excellent and easy to find.
This is a very good example of ‘Find your local councillor’ journey. It is well signposted across the site and so easy to find. It doesn’t have duplicate and confusing pages. It clearly shows the political control on the main councillor page. And it links you to different ways to find your councillor including the postcode search. Well done!
We assessed this task primarily using the search via Google.