Richmondshire District Council's website has been ranked number one in the country – jumping more than 200 places in the last 12 months.
It has topped the Sitemorse INDEX which ranks sites based on their functionality, performance, quality – and most importantly their accessibility.
The District Council has been working with the website auditing service for the last two years, critical during the site’s re-launch in December 2017. After recognising that a customer driven website was at the forefront of service delivery, the authority wanted to ensure the content created was fully accessible from day one – and all the links were working.
The previous site had 2700 pages, many of which were out of date and had broken links – so no longer relevant. They have been reduced by more than 50%, the number of clicks needed to reach a page shortened, and content e-worked to make the customer experience smoother.
“Accessibility standards are extremely important to the council,” said Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Threlfall. “Regardless of age, physical location or ability we want everyone to be able to access our services – and this is never more important than on the website. We want a fully transactional site that can continually develop as we move more and more of our services online.
“We are delighted to have been recognised for our innovative work – topping this national index is a great accolade for us.”
And Sitemorse CEO and founder, Lawrence Shaw, added: “It’s fantastic to see an organisation at the top of the INDEX that has been working so tirelessly on their digital transformation project.
“The proof of the effectiveness of this project is that just over a year ago, Richmondshire were 205th in the Sitemorse INDEX and today they top the list. With EU accessibility regulations being applied across the board to Public Sector websites from 2020, it’s exciting to see organisations taking steps towards digital compliance.”
Work on the site is ongoing – with the top council web pages visited by customers being waste and recycling, planning, and council and democracy, with applications coming in for garden waste licences, repairs to council properties, bulky waste collections and car parking permits.