Qualified clean bill of health for online council leisure services

Around 10% of mobile visits to council websites are for leisure services, with almost three quarters of authorities providing a good or very good service, according to a survey.

The latest snapshot by local government ICT representative body Socitm found that performance by leisure sections of council website has improved considerably since last year.

However, the report, based on a review of 22 Welsh unitary councils, 36 English metropolitan districts, and the 11 Northern Ireland district councils, found that improvements could be made.

Socitm said its report “shows commitment to supporting local populations to get fit, but some confused and confusing message delivery.”

The task tested by the team explored how easy it is to find out about keeping fit in local areas. Around 6% of all visits to council websites are for leisure services, including sports facilities and exercise classes run or procured by local councils (10% through mobiles).

The survey discovered that Google searches on fitness on exercise often led to initiatives linked to councils’ public health programmes.

“This development is clearly linked to the return of public health responsibilities to ‘upper tier’ local authorities in England in 2013, and the requirements in the Care Act them to manage the wider health and social care needs of the whole population,” the report said.

This, however, had the potential to confuse people seeking regular classes for the general public.

One reviewer said: “The public health section is informative and encouraging but needs more integration with the main site.

“Taking the routes in the survey gave access only to the public health aspect of fitness, encouraging activity but not directly linking to any details of what is available.”

Other criticisms included sites linking to national information or commercial sites “overrun with adverts for gym membership and offers that are distracting”.

The use of pdfs was also slammed as particularly inconvenient to mobile users.

Socitm’s Spring Conference is taking place on 21 April in London.

Colin Marrs

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to our newsletter