Council web redesigns ‘failing to improve performance’

Half of council websites which were redesigned during 2014 failed to improve their performance, according to research.

Socitm, the representative body for public sector ICT workers, released the finding in the third of its previews from its comprehensive Better Connected review of the sector, set to be released shortly.

Data about 63 revamped websites was gathered by Kevin Jump, former web manager at Liverpool City Council, who runs digital consultancy

The report said: “The results are surprising. “hile 22 (one third of those redesigned) improved their ranking or retained their (maximum) four stars, 30 sites, or about one half did not improve or progress beyond a below par two or one star ranking, suggesting that despite a redesign, their sites appear to be repeating errors made in the past.”

A further finding was that already good three and four star sites were as likely to undergo redesign as underperforming one and two star sites.

The Better Connected report will analyse what has changed in a council website whose redesign has been successful, taking it from one star in 2014 to four stars in 2015.

It will also contain a comparison of the most improved sites and two which failed to improve.

Better Connected is the annual survey of all 407 UK local authority websites, now in its 17th year.

Earlier this month, Socitm revealed that oversight by senior council managers plays a much bigger role in website performance than resources and budgets, according to the research.

Last week, it said that council websites which are accessible for disabled people also perform better for all visitors.

Colin Marrs

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