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Better connected launches online

Better connected, the Socitm research programme that evaluates the customer experience of local public service web and digital activity will be formally launched in its new, online form at Socitm2015 in Leicester on 19/20 October.

Betterconnected.socitm.net has been developed to make access to the research results more visible and easier to access and so to better engage service managers and councils’ top teams with their performance online.

Every UK local authority has its own results page on the site, with employees of Socitm Insight subscribing organisations (three quarters of UK councils) able to login and see the detail behind the headlines.

Non-subscribing councils can now see headline results for their council in Better connected 2014 and earlier for the first time, and all visitors can see a range of contextual and open data published for all councils including visit numbers, schools admissions online, deprivation data, and social media stats.

The public area of the site has reports on digital performance from the 2015 survey in key areas like planning, social care, highways, libraries and leisure, well as ‘all council’ reports and results for accessibility, usability, access from mobiles, and digital engagement and management.

Along with the new online presence come a number of other key changes to Better connected.

From now on, surveys about the performance of different service areas online will be carried out and reported separately over a series of months, rather than being bundled into one annual report. Reports on the first survey, Transport & buses: apply for an older person’s bus pass online will be published in the next few days, with others rolled out between now and March.

Individual service areas will now be given star rankings - rather than simply a pass/fail - based on the outcome of the task(s) surveyed. This move has been welcomed by web and digital managers, since it will support more robust conversations with services about improvement of their online services.

Surveys about usability elements including search, A-Z, navigation, access from mobiles and accessibility will be carried out and reported after the service area surveys have been completed. Sites will now be given a star ranking covering usability.

Outcomes of usability surveys, together with the service area rankings, will count towards an overall site ranking for each council announced at the end of the survey cycle in April.

Better connected will help push forward the digital agenda’ says Socitm President Nadira Hussain, speaking in a video published on betterconnected.socitm.net. ‘It is raising the game, raising awareness, getting people more bought into the future need to do this as a universal effort in a cohesive way.’

There will be a Q&A session on Better connected in the close-of-play session at Soctm2015 on Monday 19 October. Anyone interested is being invited to tweet their questions to @btrconnected and include #Socitm2015 in their tweet.

Go to https://betterconnected.socitm.net/services.

The Better connected team will be available at Socitm2015 to answer questions, or email betterconnected@socitm.net

Note to editors

Socitm, the association for IT and digital professionals, announced a partnership in May 2015 with digital communications consultancy Boilerhouse, to enable further development and promotion of its research, publishing and engagement activity around digital local services.