Chelmsford City Council’s website, built using Ideagen’s EasySite content management system, has been named the UK’s best for a Local Authority at a recent awards ceremony.
The SOCITM ‘Better Connected Awards’ recognises the strongest websites from Councils across Britain following months of surveys on each aspect of a local authority’s site.
A total of fifty councils were nominated to attend the awards ceremony, split into various categories including Best Council, Best for Mobile and Best Accessibility.
Chelmsford City’s EasySite website saw them nominated in four categories – more than any other local authority.
The strength of the site resulted in them eventually winning three awards - 'Best Council - Council Tax'; 'Best Council - Accessibility'; and 'Best Council - Shire District' as well as being named 'Best Council - Overall' in the UK.
Jonathan Lagden, Customer Service Development Officer at Chelmsford City Council, said the Council’s website also received 4 SOCITM stars – the highest level available.
He said: “One of our aims prior to the project with Ideagen was to develop a 4-Star SOCITM website – which is the highest you can get. We never looked at the exact criteria to achieve that but instead knew that if we could create an excellent user experience and match what was expected of a local authority website then the 4-star status would happen naturally.
“Because of the timings when we launched, it wasn’t expected that we would achieve this sort of success in our first year – so to pick up four awards at the SOCITM ‘Better Connected’ event and be named best site in the UK is a massive boost. It gives us real satisfaction that the project with Ideagen was a job well done.”
Chelmsford City Council is a shire district local authority with a population of around 170,000. It offers a wide range of services from statutory council services to maintaining theatres, museums and high-profile visitor attractions such as Highland House. Employing around 1000 staff, Chelmsford is a new city, receiving city status in 2012.
Jonathan added: “We are delighted with the full project. I’ve personally been involved in several major projects within many organisations and this has been one of the best.
“Working with Ideagen, our website was delivered on time, in full and on budget with all of our objectives met, an excellent outcome."
Jonathan added: "In terms of the website project itself, we will now enter into a continuous improvement phase and one of our further objectives is to create distinct online identities for our wider services - for example for our theatre and museums. This is currently underway and will be the next phase of our exciting website project."