Monday, April 07, 2008

Council gets into a top 20 list

Ever heard of SOCITM? Nope neither had we, turns out that they are The Society of IT Managers, and recently they have put Greenwich Council's website in a list as being one of the top 20 Local Authority Websites. Yes, we were wondering if they had been looking at the same site the rest of us have to use, but still they seem to want to give the Council praise. Even Greenwich Council deserves some praise every now and again, and as it normally makes it into bottom 20 lists, it is nice to see it top out at something every once in a while.

But if you do a little looking into it all you realise that a couple of things. Firstly a couple of years ago the Council asked SOCITM for their expertise in computers and information technology, so its hardly surprising that when SOCITM come to draw up a list of top council websites Greenwich is included.

The second interesting thing is that part of the criteria for judging on this list was;

... including accessibility, usability and take-up.”

If by take-up they mean the number of people trying to access the site to find out when their rubbish is going to be collected then yes, we can understand why so many people would be going to the site and why the Council finds itself in a top 20 list.

As for accessibility, well you just try and find council agendas and other public documents on the site.

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16 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

If they had any balls at all, they'd publish - openly - the attendance record of Councillors, their speeches and their voting records.
I feel a freedom of information request coming on.

5:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve I think you'll find that all this info is available anyway.

Ask any Greenwich council of any political persuasion.

It makes me laugh when people think that FOIs are the answer to everything.

Are you a Daily Mail reader by any chance?

12:27 am  
Blogger Steve said...

Dear Anonymous,
no, I don't read the Daily Mail - what is your point?
Please tell me where I can get this information if it is not publicly available?
Further, what is wrong with a FoI request from an organisation where I have no choice in paying for their upkeep and decision making?
Why not publish it if it isn't a big deal?

7:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well for one the better local papers print the figures of the best and worst attendance figures every year.

You could go along to your councillors surgery and ask him/her to their face for their voting record.

Link: http://www.greenwich.gov.uk/Greenwich/YourCouncil/YourRepresentatives/Councillors/

You could email them or phone them (contact details on the councils website)if you cant be bothered going to see them.

Link: http://www.greenwich.gov.uk/Greenwich/YourCouncil/YourRepresentatives/Councillors/

Or go along to the meetings which are again detailed on the website.

Link: http://www.greenwich.gov.uk/Greenwich/YourCouncil/CouncilMeetings/MeetingsCalendar.htm

You can see the full agendas on the website

Link:http://www.greenwich.gov.uk/Greenwich/YourCouncil/CouncilMeetings/MeetingPapers.htm

You could ring up officers who deal with the minutes of the meeting to see what the decisions were and which councillors voted which way

Link: http://www.greenwich.gov.uk/Greenwich/YourCouncil/CouncilMeetings/CommitteeServices.htm

Need I go on?

All this took a few minutes to type the thing i was looking for into the search box on the council website.

But your idea that an (unnecessary) FOI is a sticking plaster for everything is a joke.

Just as is the effort you put into typing these messages when you could have just spent as much time finding the answers on the website.

Personally I'd like to send the council an FOI to see how much time and my money they waste having to ask questions like the ones you raise when most of it is in the public domain anyway - its just people cant be bothered looking for it.

11:10 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Dear anonymous,
thank you for that - or I could ask the Council and get everything in one go - assuming they answer.
If they published it openly as I first suggested on their website, we could have both saved a lot of time and the Council - as you say time and money.
I don't remember saying that an FoI was a sticking plaster for everything - you did.

All I'm asking for is that they publish this information with a couple of lines of code - this sounds like too much trouble for them.

7:57 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H

quite simple as anonomyous said. left hand side navigation bar, click 'council and democracy','committes and meetings' and spews forth a plethora of agendas, minutes, supporting documents. for eg, i found the cabinet committee report from two days ago within seconds.

in my view, the website has improved vastly, has much more information on it, more importantly, USEFUL information. i can't see the problem here- greenwich actually did something right here? shock horror! as far as im concerned if someone can find out the info they want online they're less likely to call the switchboard or contact centre and hassle them, wasting valuable time and money.

any real stories this week Greenwich watch?

1:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah you go and do that Steve.

I mean why waste two minutes of your own time find freely available information - when you can waste my council tax money asking a pointless FOI

Way to go Steve. Round of applause for this muppet please.

10:07 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Dear anonymous,
I think I might just do that - now.

5:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gives the muppet a rund of applause for wasting our council tax payers money

if this guy ever complains about council tax bills going up or being too high - I hope you will ban the hypocrite GW

11:16 pm  
Anonymous Indigo said...

The Greenwich Council web site fulfils only the Priority 1 requirements for Accessibility. Which is not enough. Certainly, organisations like councils are expected to do much better than just Priority 1. Even I can do better than just Priority 1 for my small business clients.

8:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats your website then Indigo?

I would be interested to take a look and compare

11:20 am  
Anonymous Indigo said...

Dear Anonymous, cobblers' children go unshod. Look at this one instead

www.egg-skelter.co.uk

It has also been tested in several browser/platform combinations but if it breaks for you I would like to know (but I also need to know your browser/version/platform so that I can try to replicate what you see).

Priority 1, by the way, is the level everyone MUST attain. Priority 2 is the level everyone SHOULD attain. Priority 3 is expected of corporates and councils. Greenwich Council's web site is not within a million miles of being compliant with Priority 3.

6:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is 'where is the downloadable planning applications'?
Looks like we still have to go to some dingy basement somewhere to see whats being built in the neighbourhood.
Camden's been providing this for years.

12:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong AGAIN!!!

When will all these muppets bothered searching for information before they print rubbish on here.

Planning application details, decisions and appeals are available at:

http://www.greenwich.gov.uk/Greenwich/YourEnvironment/PlanningAndBuilding/PlanningBuildingConservation/ApplicationsDecisionsAppeals/

Time taken to search for info on Greenwich website: 2 secs

Time taken for people wearing blinkers to write messages on here: ???

10:07 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

If you read the report (or even a bit of it), then you'd find all the council websites were submitted to the same tests, so your accusation that Greenwich is only on the list because of a commercial relationship between the Council and SOCITM is unfounded. Casting such unfounded aspersions really doesn't give me confidence in your reporting skills... come on!

You'd also find in the report that several councils come out ahead of Greenwich - including several that have a better accessibility score/performance. So yes, the website's crappier than other councils, but it is also significantly less crappy than many others. And recently it really seems to have improved.

So why not give a bit of credit where it is due? Fair enough to smack Greenwich Council with a stick when they are crap, but the odd carrot wouldn't go amiss either.

1:01 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um - no there isnt much info on planning. You can see the basics but not the plans. And you cant download the plans - which was the jist of my previous posts.
The searching and indexing is awful - indexed by week? What good is that.
Now.. Go and look at camdens - you can access nearly every digram and document related to an application - from the confort of your own home.

11:52 pm  

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