Saturday, 18 May 2013

How I learned to love the LGSL

Last week I wrote about why we're developing two websites one for council services, the other for information. Because we're writing new guidelines for content and changing the model we use for publishing, it seems an ideal opportunity to not just to review our existing content, but pretty much start again.

There’s some great content on our site and some that’s than less than good, which unfortunately is usually the result of a devolved content management model. This is something SocITM highlighted back in February of this year.

So given a clean slate, where would you start?

Everything on a council website should relate to a public service provided (whether provided or commissioned by the council or provided by another public body) in their area and there seems no better start than the Local Government List (LGSL).

Council websites seem to be abandoning the Local Government Navigation List (LGNL). I think that's probably the right move because as different authorities have varying priorities and serve demographics and geographies, there is no "one size fits all" taxonomy for council websites.

The ESD toolkit contains a mapping of LGSL by Interaction, which provides an easy way of deciding what content to populate our new sites with. Interaction Type 0 is Request for service, 8 is Information which fits in exactly with what we're trying to do. It's something other councils such as Barnsley have already done and provides a catalogue of council service with which to work from.

We won't be sticking rigidly to one entry, one page nor will there be a page for every entry in the list. We're a landlocked area, so it would be daft to include pages relating to the coast or ports for example.

So before you look at taxonomy, content style, service design, and if you're looking for a starting point and catalogue of content and services to define your council website rather than just revising what you already have, you could do much worse than use the LGSL.
This blog is written by Phil Rumens, Vice-Chair of LocalGov Digital, lead for LGMakers and who manages the digital services team at a local authority in England.

The opinions expressed in this weblog are my own personal views and in no way represent any organisation I may have worked for, currently work for, might be thinking of working for, might not be thinking of working for or have never worked for. In fact having said that they, might not even be my views any more as I might have changed my mind so I wouldn't take any of it too seriously.