Agenda item

Panel 2 - Confirmed minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2007

Consideration of these minutes was deferred at the last meeting as a number of members had not received their copy in time for the meeting.


(a)    Review of the Breckland Council Website (Minute 29/07)

The Commission noted the Panel’s views and recommendations in this matter, together with the various officers’ comments on each of the items, and accordingly

RECOMMENDS to Cabinet that the recommendations  contained in the report be agreed (subject to noting the officers’ comments as shown in italics) as follows:


(1)    The layout of the home page be reconsidered to ensure that it is not overburdened with information whilst at the same time it is user friendly and clear for users.  The Corporate and e-communications Officer has advised that the navigation tree was currently in process of being changed to comply with the Local Government Navigation List making it easier for users to navigate the site.  A report regarding the website “First Impressions” quoted as follows: “Nice home page.  Easy to see what each section is about and geared directly to the general public.  Good.”

(2)    The website should adopt a “four click” approach to ensure that information can be found quickly and easily.  The Website Officer has advised that a two-click approach had been implemented from the Council’s home page to the planning search page.  In addition, it has been confirmed that web trend software has been installed which enabled the monitoring of public ‘hits’ to the website. This software enabled web officers to receive information on how frequently their pages were being visited and if they were not being visited very often, they could be given help to improve the pages’ functionality.

(3)    Information on the planning process should be bolstered on the website enabling the public to access pending planning applications and associated maps and forms.  The Website Officer has explained that the planning process had been bolstered on the website by an addition to the link already provided on the left hand navigation list.  To make the search more user friendly when using the search function, the user would be taken directly to the main planning search page.

(4)    A link is established with the Eastern Daily Press Events Page and action be taken to ensure that news items on the website are removed promptly once they are no longer current.  The Corporate and e-communications Officer has advised that a link to the EDP Events page has been established for a trial period of three months, which would be reviewed regarding the number of ‘hits’ the pages received.  It has been confirmed that all news items were live on the site within two hours of being released to the press and that old news items were archived automatically, enabling the user to search for old press releases.

(5)    Images are limited in size to obviate long download times, especially for dial-up users.  The Website Officer has advised that all images on the website are optimised before they are published onto the site to avoid the use of images that would take too long to download for the user.  It has also been confirmed that the monitoring of this would be the responsibility of the Web Officer and the Graphic Designer.

(6)    A link to “Frequently asked Questions” is installed on the home page and this is updated on a regular basis to ensure freshness.  A link to “Frequently asked Questions” had been concurrent since the site went live and all FAQs were updated to ensure all information was timely with the questions being taken from the Contact Centre and put onto the website as they were asked by the public.

(7)    The role of web editors needs to be defined and clarified, in relation to the general work commitments and job descriptions should be updated accordingly to take account of the role of web editors, as this has such an impact on the site content being kept up to date.  It has been explained that the role of web editors has been defined and Service Managers were to be asked to include the targets and commitment to web editing in their future Service Team Plans.  All service areas had been asked to confirm the web editor for their team to ensure that there was coverage in each of the service areas.  In addition, the role of a web editor was defined as follows:

i.    To develop specific information resources for the service needs.

ii.   To maintain and update pages as appropriate.

iii.  Co-ordinate page development and major revisions with the Web, Communications Officer and other web editors to ensure that links from top level pages are accurate (this often includes recommendations on links from the primary page to second).

iv.  Serve as liaison to the Web and Communications Officer.

v.   Attend meetings of the web editors group.

(8)    The Council continue to work with external organisations in order to ensure best practice is followed to ensure that the design and operational usefulness of the website is maximised.  The Website Officer has advised that the Web team were benchmarking against South Norfolk District Council and were being evaluated by Socitm and SiteMorse.  In addition, a number of online forms (Abandoned vehicles, Fly tips, Compliments and Complaints and Other comments and feedback) had been developed to be used on the Council’s website allowing customers to submit requests and report issues 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Once submitted, the forms went direct to the Customer Contact Centre for action.  Further extension of online reporting was in process of being developed.

(9)    The Panel be charged with assessing the website improvement plan at regular intervals through 2007 and beyond as necessary.  The improvement plan would be available on a six monthly basis.

RESOLVED that Members receive the website improvement plan on a six-monthly basis.


(b)    Adoption

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of Policy Development and Review Panel 2 held on 20 June 2007 be adopted.


Supporting documents: