Rochdale Borough Council’s new look website has received praise from leading industry experts and the prestigious ‘Internet Crystal Mark’ standard from the Plain English Campaign.
rochdale.gov.uk was re-launched earlier this year with a distinctive new look as well as additional features making accessing services online easier. The site has been designed to be much more compatible with mobile phones and tablets.
Socitm, the professional body for IT and digitally enabled services, awarded the site the maximum 4 stars, making Rochdale only the second authority in Greater Manchester to achieve the top mark. They classed the site as ‘outstanding’ and placed it in the top 20 of council websites nationwide. In particular the sections on planning, missed bins, email updates and our A-Z search functions were rated ‘exemplary’.
The site has also been awarded with the ‘Internet Crystal Mark’ from the Plain English Campaign, a scheme that recognises organisations that are committed to plain English.
Barry Soames from the campaign praised the new site, saying:
“Its clear, uncluttered design makes it easy for the user to find what they need.”
Rochdale Borough Council is one of only around 20 in the UK that can display the ‘Internet Crystal Mark’ on its site.
Linda Fisher, Deputy Chief Executive said:
“We’re really pleased with the response our new website received, particularly as not many councils have achieved a 4 star rating alongside the Crystal Mark. Our digital team is geared towards continuous improvement and always looking at how things can be made better. The awards and feedback so far are pleasing evidence that we are moving in the right direction but we need to build on this … and that is what we are working to do.”
Visually impaired guide dog user Frank Salt from Castleton said he finds the site much easier to use and more inclusive:
"I use a screen reader to access the internet and find the new council website really accessible and easy to use. I particularly like the plain English of the text and that the search facility is at the top of the page which allows me to go to the exact page for the service I need. The very simple layout means I can use the site in the same way as sighted people without having to select a text only option."
There are now more things than ever that you can report or apply for online without the need to pick up the phone or visit the council in person - saving time and money. On www.rochdale.gov.uk you can request a bulky waste collection, report littering or fly-tipping, renew your library books, report a missed bin, pothole and much more. You can also enquire about lots of other council services including fostering and adoption.
In 2013 the council website received close to five million page views and nearly one and a half million visits.
Rochdale Borough Council - We are a council which builds success and prosperity with our citizens and partners, whilst protecting our vulnerable people.