County council services now easier to access online

To make it quicker and easier for people to do more of their routine business with the council online, Suffolk County Council has launched a new website.

 

The website will make everyday tasks like reporting a pothole, applying for a blue badge, finding the latest bus times or simply giving views on new council proposals easier to do with the click of button.

 

Improved features on the new website include:

  • A single search covering content in all the main county council websites
  • Quick links to the most popular pages and services
  • A sign up facility to receive email alerts on things like new school term dates, rogue trader alerts and latest news
  • A ‘find my nearest’ tool to locate local libraries, sports centres or schools
  • Integrated access to DirectGov – the Government’s online tool to help people find out which council is responsible for specific services
  • Local events listings.

The new site will be run as a live trial in parallel with the council’s existing site until it’s fully established and the old one can be switched off.

 

Suffolk County Council is keen to use the trial period to make further improvements so is inviting people to try out the new site and give feedback and comments about their experience.

 

Councillor Jane Storey, Suffolk County Council's deputy leader and portfolio holder for resource management and transformation, said:

 

“We know how hectic people’s lives can be so we think it's important that we have a straightforward, easy to use website which makes dealing with the council quick and simple. That means cutting out unnecessary information, making searching for information easy and linking up our various websites. 

 

“Throughout the entire process, cost has been a key concern which is why we've used the cheapest but most effective software available to us.  People using the new website will have a user-friendly 'one stop shop' to go to for all the information they need about the services we provide.

 

"We feel that our new website will do that.  But what we think about the website is not the most important thing.  It's vital that users give us their feedback so that we can deliver further improvements and make absolutely sure that it provides a level of service that people expect."

 

The amount of content on the new website has been dramatically reduced so that customers can navigate the site more easily and find the information they need. The council is also saving money on licence fees and administration by using free software and established and popular social media tools like Google and YouTube.

 

The total cost of the project, which was almost entirely developed internally to keep costs down, is £120k - significantly less than other similar local authority websites. The council is looking to make further savings by reusing the skills gained from the new website on other websites.

 

By Andrew St Ledger on February 1st, 2012