Abstracts: October 31st, 2013

The Society of IT Management performance monitor website provides a picture of services that respond best to public demand. The website shows the number of web visits and those visits which failed for a range of top services, including, planning, housing, social care, highways and schools.

The data shows that the most used online services were rubbish and recycling, with more than 15m visits over the last three months. They are one of the best performing services by percentage of failed visits with only 14% of failures, compared to a failure rate of 32% for highways.

The Council Performance Monitor website was launched earlier this year to present headline data from Socitm’s pop-up customer survey offered to every fifth visitor to participating council websites. The website makes ‘all council data’ freely available as a public service.

The ‘failed visit data’ is based on a question in the survey that asks those completing it whether they were able to find or do the thing they came to the website to do. An earlier question in the survey asks which service area was the main focus of their visit.

The data for ‘all council’ failures is based on extrapolation of data from participating councils over a three-month period. On average 15,900 surveys are being completed by council website visitors per month, with each participating council receiving up to 250 individual responses from their website.

Services that perform well, based on a lower percentage of failed visits, include council tax, libraries, leisure and housing. Those that perform less well include social care, environmental health, parking and planning.

Data currently presented on the Council Website Performance Monitor shows that in August 2013, 42.8m visits were made to UK council websites, compared with 27.6m visits in the same month in 2012.

Other data available to the public for ‘all councils’ includes volume of visits by service month by month compared with the previous 12 months, percentage of visits by local residents, purpose of visits and net visitor satisfaction.

According to Martin Greenwood, who runs Socitm Insight, the new facility is drawing attention to the importance of the website in meeting service users’ enquiries, and, as far as failed visits are concerned, to the potentially high cost of getting it wrong.

The Council Website Performance Monitor can be viewed here.