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Find out about keeping fit - 2015

Why important

Just over 10% of visits to council websites from mobile devices are for leisure services (around 5% from desktops). Providing information about local opportunities for exercise makes a vital contribution towards promoting health and wellbeing.

Date of assessment


All shire districts and NI districts (201 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.


With only 27% achieving our standard from mobile devices, this was the second lowest performing task out of 15 tasks in this year’s survey. Many of the problems related to the dependency on third party providers of leisure centres, whose sites offer a very variable quality of information.

Find your council report

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 2017-18 results

Headline results


Achieved standard

The standard
  • At least 7 questions from 12 answered 'Yes'
  • Question M101 must be answered 'Yes'
  • Question M113 must be 'No' (content must not be out of date)
  • Promotion of task rated satisfactory or very good
  • Customer journey rated satisfactory or very good


Log in to view question set or View sample question set from 2016-17 (pdf)

Task report

Good practice

Finding the task

  • Find this task by entering council name’ exercise’ or ‘exercise classes’ in Google (or other search engine).
  • Find out about exercise classes through the website’s search engine or A to Z index, which should take visitors straight to the same page.
  • Make sure there is a prominent link on the home page to find out about leisure facilities.
  • Use signposting for ‘Leisure centres’ and/or ‘Sports facilities’ to navigate to the information.
  • If the information is contained on a third party website, provide a page of content summarising available ways of keeping fit with direct links to the leisure centre websites.
  • Provide a ‘Find my nearest’ facility.

Completing the task

  • Encourage third parties, such as leisure centres, to provide mobile-friendly versions of their websites.
  • Provide an overview of exercise classes available on the council website with direct links through to any third party websites.
  • Ensure that it is easy to see the cost of the classes.
  • Make sure that the focus of the class is made clear, e.g. the age group and fitness level.
  • Encourage use of social media to promote the classes.
  • Make sure that users can find times and locations.
  • Provide clear guidance on how to get to the classes by different means of transport.
  • Although it is ultimately good to provide online booking, if this is not possible or booking is not necessary, ensure that this is clear and contact details are easily found.

Poor practice

  • When the leisure information was provided by a third party, it was particularly difficult to find. Most councils seemed to think that a link to the home page of the local leisure centres was sufficient; however, that forces the user to navigate all over again.
  • Councils rarely provide an overview of sessions to help people keep fit.
  • The council website renders really well on a mobile phone, but once users are directed to the local leisure centre, the website is no longer optimised.
  • Leisure centre websites might have had a very modern look, but were really difficult to navigate and it became a frustrating experience resulting in failure to complete the task.
  • Sometimes exercise classes are given unusual names which fail to describe the type of class.
  • It was often difficult to see costs and how actually to book the classes.
  • It was difficult to find exercise classes in the vicinity. Most councils just listed all the leisure centres.

Reviewer's tip

Where third party providers are involved:

  • Provide a list of the classes/activities listed on the council web page prior to linking to the third party site.
  • Bring pressure on the leisure provider:
    • to make its website responsive on a mobile device
    • to put timetables on web pages, not on ‘pdfs’ that are hard to read on a mobile
    • to make prices available alongside the class times – too often this information is completely separate.

Sites that we recommend

Basildon DC

I think this task is presented well, particularly in the search results, which provide an easy path into the specific detail. The presentation of search results on mobile rather detracts from the usefulness of the search facility (the path to the page location is unwieldy and much better presented when searching on desktop instead of mobile). But that in itself is no reason to mark down the task. I particularly liked the fact that the information was entirely on the Basildon website rather than a third party site. There was clear information provided on pricing, including an explicit statement that one does not need to enter into a payment contract and that one-off attendances are not just possible but actively encouraged.

Belfast City

Really liked this section of the site. Clear and icon-led. Easy to use.

Blaby DC

I thought I had found the perfect site for this task but I couldn’t see directions – so wasn’t able to give a Y to every question. Nevertheless, this was really excellent in terms of customer focus and ease of use for mobiles.

Craven DC

Comprehensive and mobile-friendly. Only minor points where there was missing information, such as public transport links. There was also a link to Google Maps, which will be good enough for many people. Another excellent mobile experience.

Dover DC

This was surprisingly good. The search led me to leisure centre listings and once into the external site it was optimised for mobile users and presented all the timetables for the different leisure centres on one page. An example of where the external site provided a better experience than the council site.

South Lakeland DC

Good signposting through ‘fitness’ as the keyword that drew me in from the search result and the home page. Led me to a clear list of leisure centres and, when I chose one of these, there was a simple list of bullet points about what was available. The ‘exercises classes’ link simply deep-linked me to the relevant page on the external website. Very good.

Further information

We assessed this task primarily using the council’s search facility.



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