a perspective on PR in social housing and regeneration

Good websites could mean better councils

Anyone who uses local authority websites (as I do) knows the visitor experience varies significantly from one area to the next.

The best are made with the user in mind. They’re easy to understand and make contact with a local authority department simple. Others (and there are a few) leave users confused and frustrated and, ultimately, on the phone to the council to complete the transaction they hoped to do quickly online. If this happens, the costs of dealing with such a transaction increase for the council as frustrated users contact call centres or local drop-ins rather than completing the task on the website. If there’s a case for cash-strapped councils not to invest in making their websites better to deal with this shift in the way its customers’ live and work, I’ve yet to hear it.

So it was interesting to read the headline findings from Socitm’s ‘Better Connected’ report into local council websites in England, which found too many of them to be jargon-laden, confusing and written as if intended for people with detailed knowledge of local services. Anyone know what Housing Choice is, or what it means if you’re looking for a home from your local council? Too many don’t bother to explain this. Here’s a couple of comments that highlight the issues researchers encountered when dealing with councils’ housing and planning services online:

“I was shocked by the number of councils that did not have information on how to object to a planning application and grounds you can object on.”

“Often information about eligibility for housing is in some big PDF that you have to download and look through, when basic criteria can be summed up in a few bullets.”

Here are the housing findings (PDF 191KB) and here’s a summary of the research into online planning services (PDF 191KB) and some more about the research itself.

Senior council managers should take note of the report’s findings if they want their websites to support their organisations more effectively.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Man in the Krowd

Talking Openly, Speaking Privately


Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.

AdeCapon's Blog

All things digital, marketing, football and happenings

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

A blog about better decisions, better urban planning and better economics

John Wade

Joining up the planks

Simon Rogers

Data journalism and other curiosities

David Higgerson

Journalism, online, random thinking

Facebook Media

Explore how public figures and media organizations are using Facebook in extraordinary ways.

Connecting Social Care and Social Media

Sharing resources to promote the use of Social Media in Social Care

John Popham's Random Musings

"Just trying to matter"

The Housing Blog

It's about housing, stupid

Rob Jefferson

Web & Digital Manager for @MyDoncaster | Outdoor adventurer by feet, peddles & paddles

nick atkin

A collection of random views on housing, technology & running

Cwmbran Life

The characters and places in this great town

Guido Fawkes

Parliamentary plots and conspiracy

a sense of place

Ronnie Hughes

Council Homes Chat

Busting myths about Council Housing by providing a platform for people's stories/experiences #CouncilHomesChat #SocialHousing

social for the people

digital and social media for the public sector, not-for-profits and charities


Policy & Politics blog with a focus on place

The Impact of Education & Skills on Economic Growth in South West England

Evidence Supporting Policy Development Around Skills and Employment, Demonstrating Research Impact on the Growth Agenda...

Heritage Calling

A Historic England Blog

Housing Comms

A platform to share all things housing comms related

Lucy Smith

development, property, house and home


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,721 other followers

%d bloggers like this: