Lambeth website rated one of the UK’s best!

In a recent independent assessment of all local authority websites (SOCITM’s Better Connected Report 2006*), Lambeth Council’s website was named as one of the top 20 in the UK.

All local authority sites in the UK – a total of 543, including some police, health and fire services’ websites - were assessed on a number of criteria including usability, accessibility and navigation, download speed, news value and the quality of content for areas such as licensing, schools and jobs.

Lambeth’s site was seen as one of the best and was awarded the highest rating a site could have – a place in the top 20. Lambeth is now seen as a site that, according to SOCITM, ‘provides a benchmark to the local government community and others about where they might look for best practice’.

The Lambeth web programme – delivered by the web team, eGovernment and IT services within Lambeth – has benefited from partnership working with web design agency Fortune Cookie** and cScape Strategic Internet Services***.

The design for the site was tested for usability with a group of borough residents to make sure that it conformed to best practice standards of usability and web accessibility prior to launch in May 2005. This means that all users can access the site and its content and services regardless of disability, hardware used or their levels of technical skills and knowledge. The Lambeth website has also been awarded the Plain English Crystal Mark.

Around a third of Lambeth residents who have internet access have used the council’s website for a number of services. This includes paying for council tax, housing rent and parking penalty charge notices, applying for a bulky refuse collection or reporting an abandoned vehicle, or simply finding information on a range of more than 800 council services from arts to health issues, street cleaning, adoption and youth clubs. Those who don’t have internet access at their home or work can use one of the borough’s nine libraries, where internet access is provided free of charge.

Providing services online makes the council more accessible and efficient. The Lambeth website has greatly improved customer service at Lambeth, especially serving those who can’t or find it difficult to visit the network of council reception points around the borough. Residents now have a quick, easy, reliable and comprehensive service for getting information from the council 24 hours a day, carrying out certain transactions and making requests.

*SOCITM – Society of Information Technology Management – for more information see www.socitm.gov.uk/

**Fortune Cookie have been Lambeth partners for nearly 3 years, contributing to the design, usability and accessibility of the site, creating the online brand and paying a key role in the development of the council’s web strategy. Fortune Cookie’s website can be viewed at http://www.fortune-cookie.com/

*** cScape Strategic Internet Services carried out development of the Lambeth site including; technical design, development, training, infrastructure support and project management to more easily and accurately deliver information to users via the website. It also designed components which complemented Microsoft Content Management Server’s out-of-the-box features. cScape’s website can be viewed at www.cscape.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 14th March 2006