Glenfield Parish Council - Getting the Benefits
Clerk to the Council is Tony Robotham: "For me there are two benefits of using the web system - the ease of getting into and using it; and the speed of getting benefits from it - such as efficient communications and time savings.
"I've developed a core philosophy about our use of the site - I'm working to ensure it is the first stop for all information about the council so, rather than worrying about the layout, my effort is directed to ensuring it delivers a service to users.
"The web system we are using can be found in over 170 parishes and town councils across Leicestershire and Rutland. So there's no shortage of people to compare notes with and share best practice. Although the sites have a common system no two are identical. This 'common approach' to web layout and the full set of features provides a very simple solution to what could be a complex and time consuming issue. The original system was designed by clerks for clerks. I found understanding how it works very easy. After an initial two hours training session in Loughborough I came back and found it simple to access the website tools and get on with shaping the site to start delivering benefits for the council.
"From a web visitor's perspective I think the sites are easy to flow around, although it depends how they've been structured. I put lots of links to other pages in my text; it's something which is very easy to do and means people can get quickly to the content they're looking for rather than having to search through layers of nested pages and content. I've never heard any word of complaint from the public that the site is difficult to navigate.
"There's a clear focus in the development of the system which limits certain choices, such as font types. This helps me (the site editor) to get on with my job rather than wasting time being a website developer. And because it's so easy to maintain the site there's no need to pay anyone else to maintain it. My councillors are highly delighted and satisfied with what we've been able to achieve on the site. Their focus is rightly on the content and not the technology.
"The site provides a degree of joined-upness that's a real benefit for my users. The A-Z of Services and the Planning Applications pages pull in data seamlessly from the county and district council websites. It's a very efficient way of doing things and means I can concentrate on being the clerk rather than manipulating a website." Glenfield serves 11,500 people of all ages and has an annual budget of £230,000 and a council with 18 members. Two staff are equipped to work on the website.