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Showing posts from December, 2012

Where's LocalGov Digital?

Where would you base a LocalGov Digital service or network, a practitioner group that's aligned with local government's sector-led improvement agenda?

London? Edinburgh? Manchester? Birmingham?

People often refer to Local Government but in truth they should probably say Local Governments. This is because each Local Government has a unique political make-up, voted for by the residents of the respective Parish, District or County.

Decisions about local public services and how they're delivered are made by elected representatives, locally. This means that each have a different set of services and objectives.

Local Governments also consult on thousands of issues each year, and the results can vary by area. This also affects the services that they provide and how they deliver them.

As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for digital services, given no council is alike.

I've often read things like, "I worked in Local Government for five years, I know about …

When the grit the fan

Last Friday there was something of a gritstorm in Barnsley when local residents took to http://www.facebook.com/wearebarnsley to post their thoughts about how the council was handling the rapidly changing weather conditions.

This post isn’t in any way a criticism of the council, more a couple of observations about what all of local government can learn from this.

1) Manage unrealistic expectations.

There seemed to be a feeling from a vocal minority of residents that not only should the council grit every road (more specifically their road) and clear every pavement in the whole district.

A few claimed they “weren’t getting the service they paid for” when, from what I read, the council seemed to be delivering just that.

Perhaps councils should define services such as this in a quick and easy to read format online. I’m thinking of a few bullet points that take 30 seconds to read with a link to more information. It could prove invaluable in situations such as the one described above.

2) Engage …

Local Gov On The Go

In October we launched the mobile version of our site. It’s really a stopgap until we kick off a proposed project to redevelop our digital services, next year.

Now we’re in December we’ve got a full month’s stats too look. Here are some of the findings:

Volume
Around 28% of users accessed our mobile site, compared to our main site. That’s much larger than I would have thought even six months ago and justifies the week or so we spend creating the mobile site. If you haven’t got a mobile or site built around responsive design, you really need to start thinking about it.

Pages
Users on the main site looked at an average of 4.34 pages, whilst those on the mobile site looked at 1.83.

There are many ways you could interpret this, but perhaps one might be that mobile users are often looking for one specific thing, whereas fixed users might be searching for a variety of information.

What backs this up is the structure and main page content of the two sites are identical, it’s just the extras and t…