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August 5, 2014

Socitm: Why combined council websites work well

Local gov body rejects single local website.

By Joe Curtis

Public sector IT body Socitm has highlighted combined local council websites as a possible solution instead of a single website for local government to tackle duplication of effort as the public sector goes digital.

In a briefing yesterday the organisation again rejected the concept of one website for all local government bodies to replace separate sites for hundreds of local authorities.

The idea was first suggested by Policy Exchange in June, as a way to make the public sector more efficient by going digital, but Socitm warned it could impede local democratic engagement.

In its latest briefing, Socitm pointed to examples of the local councils for a given area combining their websites, instead.

The body said: "Examples include Dorset for You, involving the county and several districts, as well as Adur DC and Worthing DC; Allerdale BC and Carlisle City and South Oxfordshire DC and Vale of White Horse DC. All these sites score highly in Better connected, Socitm’s annual review of all local authority websites."

Socitm also picked out other recent and successful examples of local authorities sharing resources.

One was ‘Connected Digitally’, a Government-run scheme started in 2009 to help councils shift school admissions processes and applications for free school meals online.

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The body claimed the project has been taken up by 80% of local authorities and has cut application times from three months to three minutes.

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