Argyll and Bute among top UK council websites

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Published Date: 

1 Mar 2012 - 16:08

Argyll and Bute Council’s website has gained a coveted four stars from a national panel of experts.

The top rating was only given to 23 out of 433 local authority websites across the UK, making Argyll and Bute one of the top 5.3% in the country.

Each year Socitm (the Society of IT Managers) - the membership association for all ICT professionals working in local authorities, the public and third sectors and suppliers to those sectors - reviews all UK council websites and gives them a rating of one to four stars.

As well as the four-star rating, Socitm lists Argyll and Bute Council as one of the top 20 best-developed websites, which provides a broad benchmark for other sites and suggests where they might look to for best practice.

Council leader Dick Walsh said it was a ‘tremendous’ achievement for what is still a relatively new site.

“Socitm is a widely respected forum for the promotion, use and development of ICT best practice, and for Argyll and Bute to be rated so highly in terms of what our website offers and achieves is a tremendous accolade,” he added.

“The website was only launched just over a year ago, with the aim of being more customer focused and providing customers with easier access to the most commonly requested services.

“I am delighted to see that this investment has so evidently paid off, and that a professional body such as Socitm has recognised the huge improvements we have made. Argyll and Bute remains committed to improving customer service, and the website will continue to be a key element of this ongoing process.”

The council’s website manager, Lorne MacBrayne, said the site was built on the open source Drupal content management system, which allows for rapid development of websites at a very low cost.

“We hoped that its ease of use would allow us to remove any barriers to development and create a site which is focused to our customers’ needs, and that is what we are managing to achieve,” he said.

“Customer feedback has always been extremely important to us, and the comments we have received over the last year or so have helped shape the continuing development of the site. 

“However, the website development doesn’t stop here. We will continue to listen to our customers and make improvements to the site in a bid to allow residents, businesses and visitors to contact the council and access the services they need 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”