Headlines: December 21st, 2007

Council websites now attract almost as many visitors as the site run by the supermarket chain Tesco. Research from the Central Office of Information says the number of ‘hits’ on local authority web pages has risen following the successful ‘Connect to Your Council’ publicity campaign

The study also shows that the number of people making personal visits to council offices has dropped by a quarter since the beginning of the advertising drive. At the same time the number of enquiries made by telephone has also fallen by 16 per cent and queries received by letter are down by 15 per cent.

The Internet access figures were taken from Hitwise in August this year and showed that the 0.25 per cent market share of UK web traffic for local government sites was only marginally below the 0.26 per cent recorded for Tesco during the period of the publicity campaign activity.

Parmjit Dhanda, the Minister for Local E-Government, said the research made it clear that many local residents welcomed the opportunity to put themselves in charge of how, when and where they accessed their council services. “Our independent survey shows that, in a dramatically growing market, local authority websites are maintaining a consistent share of traffic. This is a marked achievement that confirms the potential of local e-government for delivering an efficient and responsive service culture that is centred on the needs of customers,” he said.

The ‘Connect to your Council’ campaign was launched in May 2006 and will run until March next year. People visiting the campaign website can simply enter their post code, town or street name, to be directed to the relevant service page of their council’s website.
The campaign has won both newspaper and radio advertising awards.