Chelmsford City wins top website prize

Council comes out on top of series of Better Connected surveys as Socitm announces a range of winners in different categories

Chelmsford City Council has taken the top prize in the awards for best performing councils emerging from the annual Socitm Better Connected survey of all 416 local authority websites.

Better Connected logoThe council picked up the overall winner award after being nominated in four categories and winning three: best for accessibility, shire district and for council tax.

Four other councils won two awards: East Sussex (best county council and best for mobile); Falkirk Council (best for mobile and best for search/navigation and A-Z); Herefordshire Council (best English unitary and best for search/navigation and A-Z); and South Tyneside (best metropolitan district and best for mobile). 

The Better Connected Awards are presented by public sector IT association Socitm and based on aggregation of scores from the surveys of local authority websites, which are published on the programme site betterconnected.socitm.net.  

Nominations and winners in the different categories were:

  • Best county council – East Sussex, narrowly beating Oxfordshire. 
  • Best English unitary – A tie between Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin.
  • Best London borough - Haringey emerged as clear winner. 
  • Best metropolitan district - South Tyneside was well ahead in first spot.
  • Best shire districts - Because of the number of shire districts, there were four ‘best council’ awards in this category: Basingstoke & Deane, Harrogate, Warwick and Chelmsford City.
  • Best Scottish unitary – Midlothian was a clear winner on points.
  • Best Welsh unitary – City of Cardiff scored highest.
  • Best for website experience from a mobile device – Awards went to five councils scoring maximum points: East Sussex, Falkirk, North Ayrshire, South Tyneside and Wycombe.
  • Best for search, navigation and A-Z - This is an ‘all council’ category so again the intention was to give five awards, although there were six awarded on the basis of the scores when aggregated. Scoring maximum points or close were: Mole Valley, North Devon, Falkirk, Torbay, Herefordshire and Windsor & Maidenhead.
  • Best for accessibility - Just two councils achieved the top score: Bracknell Forest and Chelmsford.

Awards are also given only for surveys with a significant number of councils. This year’s categories and winners were:

  • Apply for ‘temporary event notice’ (England and Wales) or ‘occasional licence’ (Scotland) - The top four councils in this survey – the only ones to get a full house of all questions correct - were four of the districts using the Dorsetforyou.gov.uk website: Christchurch, East Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland.
  • Apply for single person council tax discount – Chelmsford City scored highest.
  • Apply for building control (England and Wales) or building warrant (Scotland) – The London Borough of Hounslow emerged as clear winner. 
  • Order bulky waste collection (mobile task) – The award was shared between Angus and Blaby Councils.
  • Find local care support for an older person and request care assessment for elderly relative - The winner, with the highest number of correctly answered questions across both surveys, was Coventry City.