Kent County Council’s website has been highly praised by industry experts as one of only six local authorities across the country to be awarded four stars in an overall assessment.
The independent review by the Society of Information Technology Management covers three areas:
- service tasks – how easy is it for people to complete common tasks on the website.
- usability – how easy is the website to understand in terms of menus, headings, page structure and does the site explain things using plain English avoiding jargon where possible,
- accessibility – how easy is the website to use for people with disabilities. (Accessibility testing was introduced for the first time last year, but this year the standard of testing was much harder and was carried out in partnership with the Digital Accessibility Centre.)
SOCITM’s annual review of local government websites, which is is known as “Better Connected”, has been running since 1999.
For service testing the assessors looked at the following randomly chosen four areas: Social Care – finding services to help an elderly relative stay in their own home; rubbish and recycling – find out how to take rubbish to the tip; Social Care – find childcare; Highways – report a streetlight failure.
KCC scored 13 out of 16 in these tests meeting the four-star pass mark of 12.
For usability KCC scored three out of four, meeting the four-star pass mark of three.
For accessibility KCC scored three out of three, meeting the four-star pass mark of two. KCC is one of only three councils in the country to achieve this standard for accessibility.
KCC was also awarded four stars by Better Connected in the four previous assessments from 2014 onwards.
Susan Carey, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Customers, Communications and Performance, said: “More and more people live their lives online, so I am delighted that KCC’s website has achieved such a high rating.
“Together with our partner, Agilisys, we want to continue to improve access to information and services for Kent’s residents.”