Family and local history are popular reasons for visiting councils websites (up to nearly 3% in 2014). Here we test how well they serve the needs of a first-time user of the local archive service.
All county councils (27 councils in all). Note: this service is also provided by single-tier councils, but not tested in this survey in the interests of maintaining survey balance.
Most councils in this small sample handle this task well, with 78% achieving our standard. Sometimes the information is a little fragmented and missing obvious details (eg copying facilities).
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 Google search lead me to the task?||96%|
|• Does the service landing page link me directly to this task?||85%|
|• Is there a list of the different types of archives available?||89%|
|• Can I see the location where the archives are held?||85%|
|• Can I find out what copying facilities are available?||59%|
|• Is guidance provided on how to reach the archives location by car and public transport?||63%|
|• In the family history section, is there a link to the National Archives website?||52%|
|• Is it clear how I might obtain assistance if required?||85%|
|• Does the home page link me directly to the task?||81%|
|• Does a site search for the task description return the correct result listed in the first five resu||96%|
|• Is there an entry in the A to Z index?||63%|
|• Would you recommend that other councils look at this implementation as an example of good practice?||19%|
|Out of date information, answered 'No'|
|• Did you come across any out-of-date information about this task?||0%|
|How effectively is this council promoting this as a task?|
|• How effectively is this council promoting this as a task?(0=not found, 1=poor, 2=satisfactory, 3=ve||2.3|
|Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion?|
|• Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion?(0=not found, 1=poor, 2=satisfactory, 3=v||2.3|
Finding the task
Completing the task
I was surprised to find little explanation of the copying facilities, and sometimes family history information was not linked up with ordering copy certificates. I felt that councils could make it clearer how their own archives and collections fitted in with national sources and online sources and where someone carrying out research should start.
Really wonderful set of pages for the Dorset History Centre. Very easy to read and navigate with lots of good advice and links.
Excellent service – clear, comprehensive information presented in a colourful and engaging way. There are always minor improvements that could be made to navigation – and navigation in through the A to Z and internal search – but excellent overall.
We assessed this task primarily using the search via Google.