Leicestershire County Council

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Leicestershire County Council


Leicestershire Online


The Council’s Online Strategy

2009
to 2011



Status:
Final





Prepared by:
Matthew Dodd


Version

1
.
1


June

2009


:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

2


Contents

1 WHY HAVE AN

ONLINE STRATEGY?

3

For Customers…

3

For the Community…

3

For the Council…

4

1.1 Business Drivers

4

2 WHAT

DOES THE STRATEGY CO
VER?

6

Our Strategy is…

6

Our strategy is not…

6

2.1 Relationship to other strategies

6

3 WHERE ARE WE NOW?

8

3.1 Online estate

8

3.2 Customers and Users

8

3.3 Technology

9

3.4 Resources

11

3.5 SWOT Analysis

12

4 WHERE DO WE WANT T
O BE?

15

4.1 Vision

15

4.2 Objectives

15

4.3 Key Concepts

16

4.4 Principles

20

5 HOW DO WE GET THER
E ?

23

5.1 Phase 1
-

Enhance

23

5.2 Phase 2
-

Explore

23

5.3 Phase 3
-

Extend

24

6 HOW DO WE MAKE SUR
E
IT HAPPENS?

25

6.1 Governance

25

6.2 Roles and Responsibilities

26

6.3 Standards and Policies

28

6.4 Resource Implications

29

6.5 Technology

30

7 IS THERE ANYTHING
THAT MAY STOP US?


BARRIERS

31

7.1 Resourcing

31

7.2 Prioritisation

31

7.3 Co
mmunications

31

7.4 Search / Discovery

31

8 IMPLEMENTATION PLA
N

32

A1

APPENDIX
-
GLOSSARY

34

A2

LIST OF WEBSITES AND

APPLICATIONS

36

A3

BUDGET INFORMATION

37

A4

REFERENCES / LINKS

38

A5

DOCUMENT CONTROL

39


:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The
Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

3

1

Why have an Online Strategy?


Information is Power. Go to your c
ouncil website, find out about your local
services. If inf
ormation is not there demand an

explanation!


-

Communities
in control r
eal people, real power (2009)


Real people, real business and real services in real communities are connecting with each othe
r
online.


As an organisation we have a vast amount of information and services that people want
and need to access. We too need to connect to these online communities, but in
a way that suits
them rather tha
n ourselves.

Our online presence has grown from
a single Council website, to a significant online estate.
However it has done so largely without clear direction and vision. This online estate continues to
grow and now consists of a large corporate website, partnership sites and over 40 ‘microsites’ and
a growing use of third party sites such as Facebook.

T
here are some excellent sites
, including the award
-
winning Leicestershire CareOnLine, and
T
he
Jitty. Customers can tra
n
sact an increasing number of services online, and customer feedback
from the corpo
rate website is positive.

However, there
is also
a

disconnection between our online presence and our business priorities,
variable quality,
patchy
content and a poor
overall

customer experience. Furthermore we are not
making the best use of the resources
that support the online channel, nor of the opportunities
which it presents.

The last website strategy was written in 2002 and focused on the deployment of a Content
Management System (CMS). It did not attempt to show how to deliver agains
t public and sta
ff
expectations
, nor did it specify any standards or principles for usin
g the internet to deliver

services
and information. This Strategy sets out to provide a c
omprehensive online strategy
align
ed
with
the needs of
customer and communities, which can

bes
t exploit the new o
pportunities which the
web
can offer.

The online channel allows us to reali
se
key business benefits for customers, communities and the
Council.

For
Customers




By making information accessible, Customers are empowered to make choices
rega
rding the services they want and how they are provided.



Customers are able to access information and services at a time that suits them,
24 hours a day, 7 days a week



There is greater transparency of process and easier access to information.

For
the Commun
ity…



Citizens are able to contribute and participate as an active community member,
interacting with the Council and voicing opinions,
both
positive and negative
.



The online channel provides a way for individuals to interact with each other on
community ma
tters; solving problems through t
he benefit of other
s’ experience

:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

4

For the Council…



An effective online presence enhances the Council’s reputation.



There is significant cost reduction opportunity by reducin
g calls and manual
intervention



It is an effective
method for building active user communities.



It provides valuable feedback to improve services through better quality
interactions with our customers.



The use of printed
materials can

be minimised
,

reducin
g cost and environmental
impact



It provides an e
con
omical and effective communication and marketing channel,
providing valuable customer insight


1.1

Business Drivers

In addition to the opportunities the online channel presents, there are some key drivers for
improving how we communicate and deliver informatio
n and services online.



1.1.1

Community Engagement

In 2008 the Government published a White Paper: Communities in control: real people, real
power. This
set out
seven key issues which
local
government must address

from the perspective
of individual citizens: be
ing active in your community; access to information; having an influence;
challenge; redress; standing for office; and ownership and control.


These underpin the approach
to community e
ngagement; giving citizens
a

sense of place and involvement in what hap
pens in
their local area.

The online channel is a vital part of this engagement activity, with particular emphasis on
acc
ess to information.


The White P
aper states:


"Citizens often feel powerless because of a lack of information. Too much jargon can
alie
nate, confuse and frustrate. More accessible and open information is a pre
-
requisite to community empowerment. Despite freedom of information and more
‘Plain English’, people feel less well
-
informed

about their local council today than they
did a few years

ago.

The i
nternet offers huge opportunities and we want to encourage public bodies to
authorise the re
-
use of information. We are improving the information available

to
local citizens and service
-
users. But there is a correlation between social and digita
l
exclusion. We will ensure all sections of society

can enjoy the benefits of the i
nternet,
and other methods of communication."

As a Council we have to respond to this challenge and ensure that online information and

service
delivery is integral to

our th
inking and planning.

1.1.2

Local
Democracy

Bill

Whilst ‘
Communities in control: real people, real power


outlines the app
roach Central Government
wants local a
uthorities to take, specific duties have been placed on us through the Local
Democracy, Economic Develo
pment and Construction Act 2009.

In relation to online information and services
,

the three key references in the act are:

:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.
1

5



A duty relating to promotion of democracy

This places
a
duty on the Council to promote understanding of the functions of the
Council,
the democratic processes, and how citizens can get involved in decision
making.



Provision of information

This stipulates that information needs to be cascaded across all levels of Government
within a local area.



Electronic Petitions

As a Council, we must p
rovide an electronic petition facility.

1.1.3

Customer Expectations

With the rise in use of the
i
nternet, the public now expect information and services not only
to
be
available, but
also that they are
accurate and up to date. Large parts of peoples' lives are n
ow
managed online
-

from banking and shopping through to maintaining friendships.

There is an expectation that government services should be the same and we need to deliver to
that expectation and beyond.

1.1.4

Customer Service

The users of public services want

to be able to access those services beyond traditional working
hours.


In many cases these needs can be met online, at times that are convenient for the users
rather then ourselves. The failure to deliver certain services to the expectations of customers
will
cause satisfaction to be low with the service delivery.

Increasing numbers of customers are shifting their preferred channels of service online, and we
need to respond.

1.1.5

Value for Money / Efficiency

A pilot study in 2006 across several
c
ouncils put the

cost of delivering information and
services

between 14p and 46p for web visits.
This compares to between £1.08 and £6.35 for
telephone enquires and between £6.46 and £11.28 for face to face.



Clearly the more service requests that can be dealt with entir
ely online will
assist

in
reduc
ing

service delivery costs. This adds further emphasis on channel shift, not only to improve service but
deliver efficiency
.

:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

6

2

What
does

the Strategy
cover?


The web is very rich, and it offers many, many choices which is good

on the
one hand, but in the other hand also overwhelming, and it means you just
cannot have time to do everything. So, the web user has to be selective, it's
just inherent in the nature of the web. You have to brutally cut down on the
number of things you

do, because you cannot try all the choices, because
then you would never get done. People have to cut out things. They tend to
cut out things they don't understand.


-

Jacob Neilsen

(2007)


Our Strategy is…



About developing Leicestershire County Council ‘
online’.



About providing an inclusive and integrated way to serve our community.



An outline of how the Council will manage its online assets
, including the main
website, Intranet (CIS), extranets (such as EIS) and Microsites
1



About understanding the requir
ements of all of the users of the online channel;
customers, partners, suppliers
, members

and staff



A way to ensure the Council's online presence supports a consistent brand and
image.

Our strategy is not…



Purely about any one site individually e.g. the co
rporate website or intranet.



An answer to detailed Departmental or Programme requirements



About the design of websites or brand



About the technology used to underpin the online channel


2.1

Relationship to other strategies

The online channel does not exist in
isolation, meaning there is a relationship between this strategy
and other

Council and partnership strategies.

The Council’s Customer Service Strategy sets out the intention to deliver self service and
transactions online. In this respect, the Online Stra
tegy outlines the principles that will support this.

As the Council’s Customer First Programme progresses, more focus is being given to online
interactions with customers. As services are transformed by this programme, the concepts of the
Online Strategy
will be adopted.




1

The principles and standards set out in the strategy will apply across the online estate. Specific development plans will ne
ed to be
produced for individual sites.

:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

7

As information is a fundamental aspect of the online channel, there will also be a strong link to the
Information Management Strategy and to the ICT Strategy in terms of the technology
requirements.

The

extent

of the

links and dependencies

will be mapped as part of the implementation plan.

Figure 1 shows the relationships graphically.



Figure 1


Relationships to other Strategies.

In addition to the strategies already highlighted, there is a strong relationship with the Council’s
approach

to community engagement.
The ‘menu of opportunities’ for communites to engage with
the Council will need to be accessible online. This means both as a channel to reach phyisical
communities and as a way to engage with online communities.

:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire On
line

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

8

3

Where are we
no
w?


These days, most usability problems that we see in testing don't prevent
use of the site, but they certainly annoy the users. Sadly, there's still plenty
of bad Web design that slows people down, confuses them, or makes
information hard to understand.
Many such usability problems have literally
been documented for more than a decade
.


-

Jakob Nielsen
(200
9
)



Much of the work undertaken online so far has been driven by the e
-
Government agenda and
associated funding.


This has primarily been focused on d
elivering the technology to
provide
services online (driven by the Best Value Performance Indicator
-

BVPI 157 to have all services
online by the end 2005).



As a result a
number

of websites and web
-
based applications (our online estate), various
technolo
gy platforms and a
range

of resources, all contribute to make up the Council's
current
online presence.

The online channel provides significant opportunities to gather feedback about users
, and therefore

we know a
considerable amount
a
bout the people who
use the main website. This helps to
highlight some key strengths and areas of weakness.

3.1

Online estate

Whilst it would be easy to think of the online estate consisting only of the main

Council

website and
intranet, this is not the case.


Staff are actively
involved in over 40 websites (a full list is given in
Appendix A
2
).


These vary from specialist topic sites such as Beyond Bullying, sites aimed at a
specific audience such as
Leicestershire
CareOnline, through to partnership sites like
Leicestershire Toge
ther.


The Council has also
led

the development of a Community ICT
infrastructure that supports initiatives such as Parish Council and Village websites.

The main website provides a range of functionality, from straightforward information provision and
news
,
to
more than
60

transactional services including online payment and
access

to the library
catalogue and election results.

There is an increasing trend towards
u
sing third party sites for promoting our information.


For
example, we have a Council Youtube
channel (www.youtube.com/LeicestershireCC) and both the
Library and Museum services have blogs.

Alongside the many websites, a number of services
are provided
through web based applications.
From a
user’s

perspective, many of these are seen as part of the
main website, but from a
technical view point are separate sites with the "look and feel" of the main website applied to them
,
for example the current School Admissions application
.


In other cases applications such as e
-
forms add funct
ionality to
sites
, i
ncluding
applying for jobs or entering competitions.


A

l
ist

of
applications is provided in

Appendix

A2
.

3.2

Customers and Users

A wide range of people use the Council’s
online estate
, these include customers who are
searching for information or who wish to un
dertake a transaction, internal users, job applicants,
Leicestershire residents, visitors and local businesses. Individual websites attract differe
n
t and
more specialist audiences, for example the Leicestershire villages sites.

Information about customers

is gathered in a number of ways including through an online
questionnaire used within the corporate site. This provides a rich source of demographic
information, as well as qualitative feedback of users


experience
. Webtrends software provides
information

about the volume of users and how they access and use the corporate site. The annual
:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

9

SOCITM survey also provides an independent assessment of the website, which ha
s consistently
been rated as “transaction
a
l” (Level 3 from a possible 4).

Most of the
custom
er usage information
is confined to the main website. The website survey and
statistics
indicate the following:



1 in 6 Leicestershire residents use the main site each month



30% of visitors are male
, 70% are female



1
0% of visitors are under 25
, 10% are over

65



Directly entering the web address is as popular as coming by a search engine




Jobs
’ are
the most popular reason for visiting the site

(
There are over 550 online
applications each month and 40% of these

are

sent in between 6pm
-

8am
)



Fewer than 15% of u
sers DO NOT like the look and feel



Fewer than 20% DO NOT find what they are looking for



Overall only 14% of users are NOT satisfied with the site

Currently the most frequent reasons for using the site are for information, to fill out an application
form
for a job with the Council and to search or renew library books.

Outside of the main website, it is fair to say that the Council does not know enough about who is
using, and who may want or need to use, online services. Work is needed to understand the
ex
tent and causes of digital exclusion within Leicestershire

(loo
king at various factors such as
access to computers and broadband,
internet skills, mobile technology, accessibili
ty of online
services and so on), to ensure citizens are not discriminated agai
nst.

3.3

Technology

The
breadth

of our online estate means that we use a variety of technology in delivering
information and services online.


The revenue costs for the various parts of the technology are
given in ap
pendix A3.

3.3.1

Content Management Systems

Much o
f the information and services we provide online is managed and delivered through content
management systems.
These systems allow content to be
served online without the need for the
information publisher to have specific technical skills.
The main systems

in use

are:



Livelink WCM

This is the Content Management System (CMS) for our main website, i
ntranet, and
some of the current

microsites. It is provided by OpenText and has been in place since
2003, and is hosted within
our

own ICT infrastructure.

Aside fr
om the publishing of information, development work allows dynamic content
such as video, forms and applications to be delivered to the public via the web.



Community

CMS

Over ten Partnership websites such as Leicestershirevillages.com, are managed
through t
he "Leicestershire Community Portals" software, developed by Cuttlefish Ltd.
These sites are hosted externally by Cuttlefish (contract expires August 2009)
2
.

The main reason for hosting the websites externally is that users from various agencies
along with

over 5000 members of the public need to maintain content. The Community



2

Replacement of this service is being procured at the time of writing via the Council’s co
rporate procurement unit to cover hosting,
support and development.

:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Ve
rsion 1.1

10

CMS allows users to edit content without the need to access the Council’s ICT network
and forms the basis for much of the ‘Community ICT Infrastructure’.

This softwar
e was produced u
nder a contract,
and is now available publicly as an open
source product. It has been configured to receive and display a variety of our
information sources, such as Infolinx and What's On information.



Modern Gov

Modern Gov is the Council's Political Manag
ement System. The agendas, minutes and
papers involved in the democratic and decision making process are published online
through this system.





Wisdom EDRMS

The Council

use an Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS)
provided by Wisdom.


In the context of our online estate,

we

use Wisdom to store
documents that are published through the intranet a
nd through the Knowledge Bases
u
se
d

in the Customer Service Centre and the Employee Services Centre.



Additional Content Generating Technology

The

Council deploys an Oracle application server farm for delivering online applications
such as:



Infolinx



School Admissions



LSORA

Website forms are created and managed using AchieveForms software.

3.3.2

Search

Externally, many of our online visitors use search eng
ines such as Google or Yahoo prior to
arriving at one of our websites. It is worth noting that when this happens, visitors are likely to arrive
at a page deep within a site rather then landing on a homepage.

Many of our
IT
systems have facilities to query
the information contained within them (for example
searching for a file or documents in Windows), but in the context of our online estate, searching is
done by specific search engine software.



Search software generally catalogues information by following

links and logging information in a
reference index based on algorithms to record particular words and phrases. When a user puts in
a search word or phrase, the software returns all the
relevant
index entries. The software can be
configured to catalogue in
formation from a variety of sources, and from different systems and
formats.

Within the Council's websites and intranet, specific search engine software is deployed.


A search
engine called ‘
Ultraseek


is configured to search across the content management
system and the
EDRMS in order to give coverage of the most relevant information stores.


The search results
are

continually monitored and adjusted

to improve the results

by the Council’s Information Provision
Team. Work is underway to include the Council’
s Political Management System (Modern Gov)
with
in the search results
.



However,
search engines are reliant on the quality of the content
, and it
is vital that the content is
kept up to date and that old content is deleted.

The Council maintains other sear
ch engine software such as Cintra Searchlight, which powers the
search on the Council’s Knowledge Bases. The capability of this search engine in terms of online
use has not been explored.

:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

11

3.3.3

Multimedia

A

range

of multimedia

technology
is deployed

across our
online estate.


The main website uses
Adobe Flash for some of the graphical charts and maps.


The intranet has an

online geographical
information system (GIS) powered by Java (a script based programming language).

Some service areas have used audio files (
such as an audio version of the events guide), and
many have video clips.


These clips are streamed on the main website, and some are also
available through Council's Youtube channel
-

www.youtube.com/
leicestershirecc

3.3.4

Statistics

Management information is crucial for understanding how people use the Council's online
services.



Much of the raw information is stored in log files which show computer activity.


In order to make
sense of this information t
he Council uses
a software package called
Webtrends. This allows for
the log file information to be reported in a variety of ways, and gives statistics on the number of
visits and visitors to a website, how many pages of information are served, what the mo
st popular
documents and pages are, and so on.


In order to get
more

qualitative

i
nformation the Council also deploys a survey
run by SOCITM and
Govmetric,
on the main website.

This ask
s

1 in 5 visitors to the site to complete a small
questionnaire.


From

these results it is possible to report on how the visitors arrived at the site,
what they where looking for, did they find it, and whe
ther

they
were
satisfied.

This survey is also
used by around 150 councils so it also provides valuable comparison inform
ation.

Govmetric also provide the

rate this page


function
ality

on the main site which is used to evaluate
the online channel satisfaction against the Council's telephone and face to face channels.

3.4

Resources

Alongside the technology
,

the Council commits s
taff resources to online information and service
provision.

These resources are deployed in broadly 4 areas:



Corporate Administration

Administration of the content management system is provided by the Information
Provision Team.


This is a small (3.5 FTE)

team that manage the main website
homepage

and the corporate intranet
, and provide guidance and support for how best
to present online services and information.


Specific tasks undertaken include:

o

Planning and maintaining homepage news items and images

on

the main
Council website

o

Support and training for the CIS and e
-
forms systems

o

Maintenance

of Infolinx Community Group database

o

Checking links within the main website and CIS

o

Set up and removal of CMS

and e
-
forms
users

o

Configuration and monitoring of sear
ch engines

o

Production of management information and s
ite monitoring (for usage and up
-
time)

o

Development and support of electronic forms

:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

12



Content Production and Maintenance

Across

the C
ouncil’s depart
ments there are at least 11.5 FTE that have web publishing

as a major part of their job role. In all t
here are just over 200 staff members who have
produced or updated content on the content management system at least once in
during the 2008/09 financial year.

The actual figure across all of the Council's sites

will be higher as not all sites are
managed
through a single

content management system.





Co
-
ordination and Training

Most

department
s

ha
ve

a nominated

Lead Author

.


They are responsible for
coordinating the content being published within their departmen
t, and act as a focal
point for content management system training.

They also manage the departmental intranets, and provide advice and guidance to
those authors in their departments.



Support and Development

Where the Council hosts online information and s
ervices, technical support and
development is provided by ICT Services.


For non
-
LCC hosted sites support and
development is provided by the supplier of the site or system.

Within ICT Services a Web and GIS Product Manager has responsibility for allocating

support and change requests within their team. This amounts to approximately 2.5 fte
support staff. There are over 30 servers and switches that make up the web delivery
systems. These require approx 2.5 fte technical support staff. ICT Services also pro
vide
access to development resource through their engagement with the Strategic Change
Programme and the related projects, although there are no current specific web
development projects.



Budget

The annual revenue costs for software licences and support fo
r the main website, CIS
and ‘Community ICT Infrastructure’ is approximately £
4
6k.
The total
online
spend
including staff

costs and the other microsites

is unknown
, primarily as many of the
microsite costs are met directly from service or partnership budge
ts.

3.5

SWOT Analysis

In order to summarise the position of the Council's online presence, it is useful to undertake an
analysis of the

strengths
, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT) that are present.

3.5.1

Strengths



The m
ain website is well received by
the
public based on the website survey
satisfaction results

and scores well in the annual SOCITM Survey.



Good management information

is

available on most sites



Syndication of community data (
Infolinx
)
occurs
across sites

The community data held in the Council
managed Infolinx system is provided as to a
variety of different websites including:

o

Main website

o

Leicestershire Villages

o

Leicester City Council website

o

Charnwood Borough Council website

:
Leicestershire County Council


Online Strategy



Confidential:
Leicestershire County Council

Leices
tershire Online

The Council’s

Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

Version 1.1

13

Th
is includes
information on local clubs and services, and can be cus
tomise
d for a
particular

audience.


For example, Leicestershire Villages display information based on
distance from a particular village



Distributed publishing model and number of authors



Some online services
are actively
promoted such as:

o

School admissio
ns

o

Job applications



Good prac
tical skills with many authors,
supported by
a publishers’
forum



Guidance and support available

from the Corporate Information Provision
Team and Departmental Lead Authors



Some strong communit
y
-
based sites

o

Leicestershire
CareOn
line

o

The

Jitty

o

Leicestershire Villages

3.5.2

Weakness



Lack of over
-
arching vision for online channel



Lack of sponsorship by Senior Management and Members



Numerous sites which have grown up in an un
-
coordinated way



Lack of clarity about partnership direction for
online channels



Management information not used or poorly understood



No consistent approach to the use of different technologies or use of 3rd
parties



Level of adoption

and development

dependent on interest



Bottlenecks in adding content in some services



Re
sponsibility for content not clear or always accepted

Do services managers know:

o

What services they have online
?

o

What does the content say
?

o

When
it was

last updated or reviewed
?

o

Who is trained
?



Much content provided from a service perspective rather then a

customers'



Seen as a separate channel, rather then part of the overall communications
or customer based approach



No formal quality control



Lack of Category Management of website services

This makes it e
asy to set up sites without corporate awareness or ad
vice

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Online seen by many as just LCC website



Reliance on traditional channels

such as print rather then the online channel



Seen as additional work, rather then as the norm.



Lack of understanding how to

write for the web



3.5.3

Opportunities



Web 2.0

buzz


Ther
e has been an explosion of media coverage about social networks (such as Twitter
or Facebook) that has been branded as Web 2.0.


The opportunity is to capture the
increase in customer knowledge
and use of the internet.



Strategic Change Programme

The
Custom
er First

programme p
rovides a mechanism to look at what services
customers receive and how they want to receive them.


It also provides some specific
resources for improving the online channel for the services being covered.



Customer Service strategy and c
ulture

The
implementation
of a Council wide Customer Service Strategy and
a more

customer
focused culture should provide
an
opportunity to examine customer journeys including
those online



Use of 3rd party websites

This
might
include using YouTube for video

content and Facebook and blogs

to engage

with a wider audience
.



Partnership Agenda

The development of more joined up approaches to service delivery from the perspective
of local residents. This may include the syndication of content across partners’
webs
ites.


3.5.4

Threats



End of Livelink WCM support around 2011



Limited

Resources

and funding (particualrly in ICT)



Lack of buy in to a corporate and partnership approach

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4

Where do we want to be?

“The web is transforming into a medium where the greatest value is cre
ated
when people connect via
platforms of participation around a common goal
--

to make money, be entertained or informed, to

create, etc.”
-

Steve Rubel
(
2007
)


Having reviewed the current situation, th
is chapter
outline
s

the Council's vision for its onli
ne
presence, the objectives it wants to meet and the principles and concepts that are need
ed

to fulfil
the vision.

4.1

Vision

The vision for the Council's online presence is

that
:

Our organisations


online communications and transactions will be ‘Useful,
Usabl
e and Used’ for the provision of information and services to the
mutual benefit of
customers,
the Council, staff and partners and the
communities we serv
e in Leicestershire and beyond.

Useful
:
The information and services provided should meet the wants and

need of potential
users.

This means that we must engage with a wide range of users and customers to
understand what is important to them and what they want from our online presence.

Useable
:
I
nformation and services should be accessible to all, and prese
nted in a way that is
clearly understood and easy to use.

This means
understanding

key customer journeys,
ensuring that sites are developed from the
perspective

of the customer and tested for usability
and accessibility.

Used
:
The information and services

should be promoted and taken up by potential users.

This means making better use of our management information, understanding how users
engage with us online and what they do, so that this can be used to develop and improve our
online channel. We need to

monitor levels of usage, so that we can demonstrate that the
measures introduced by this strategy do increase the proportion of customers who choose to
interact with us online
.

4.2

Objectives

In order for the Council
's online presence to be truly ‘useful, usa
ble, and used’

it needs to address
some specific objectives.


These objectives fit into 8 themes.

4.2.1

Customer Service

There will be an improved customer experience through a customer
-
centric approach to
interactions with the Council
.

Interactions encompasses

finding out about services, actual
transactions (such as applying for a service), through to receiving comments.

In practical terms,
this means providing the range of
information and
services customers expect online in a way
consistent with other channel
s. It also means ensuring
interactions

are easy to complete
,

and
provide
a way
for users to

feedback on the experience.

This will be measured by customer satisfaction ratings of both the services and the online channel,
along with the take up of online se
rvices.

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4.2.2

Cost reduction

The Council will deliver a reduction in the cost of customer service through increasing use of the
online channel.

This will be measured through the cost of transactions by channel, along with take up of online
services

and the exten
t of channel shift.

4.2.3

Community Engagement

The
Council has a well developed approach to
community engagement
, and the online channel
will be used to extend this and to respond to feedback
.

The web is a powerful tool in reaching
dispersed
communities
, and is

a natural place to find communities with a shared interest and
participative behaviour.

4.2.4

Reputation

The web provides a ‘shop window’ into the Council for customers and citizens alike.
The
reputation of
the
Council will be enhanced by providing a modern, e
fficient online presence to the
public, exceeding their expectations and communicating clearly.

4.2.5

Local democracy

The web can enable citizens to provide feedback and encourage participation on issues and
decisions affecting Leicestershire and its residents.
Council meetings and papers are already
available online, and local authorities have a new responsibility to provide the facilities for e
-
petitions.

4.2.6

Support for local communities

Information and services that are relevant and targeted to local communities
will be provided in
such a way as to support them. This will include the ability for communities to be ‘self
-
supporting’


sharing information, knowledge and experiences amongst the members. Experience in the private
sector shows that such communities of i
nterest can provide an extremely valuable resource.

4.2.7

Equality and Diversity

The online channel will be one way
to
provid
e

service and information to potential users and
groups.


Those that are traditionally hard to reach, socially or digitally excluded will

still receive
information and services in a way they can access.

4.2.8

Environmental

The Council’s use of printed materials for communication, information and service provision will be
reduced. Self service will reduce the amount of travel required by customers

to access services.


4.3


Key Concepts

These concepts are the areas of focus for improving the Council’s
online activities.


4.3.1

The User journey

The concept of an online user going on a journey is vital.


It means that they will have a specific
destination, be
it a task they want to complete or an

outcome they want to achieve. The
destination may be an online form to allow self service
, or it may be they want some specific
information.

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Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

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User insight

will g
ive some information about

the main tasks and outcomes use
rs are looking for
online.


Once this is established, the journey needs to be made a
s

quick and easy as possible.


Whatever the end point, the journey will have

had

a start.


It may have started offline in a
conversation with a friend, or
through an articl
e in a newspaper.
Online, the journey is likely to
st
art at a search engine, e
-
mail or a promoted web address, so the choices the user is faced with
at each of these start points needs to be understood.

Above all
, key journey
s should be tested and observe
d to ensure that people reach their goals with
the minimum of effort.

4.3.2

Community Focus

Understanding the communities that will use and engage with online offerings is vi
tal.


This
recognises that

the

‘web’

is not an entity in itself, but groups of people co
nnecting with each other.


Understanding what drives these communities and defining our role within them will help
determine the best way to deliver information, services and respond to feedback.

Each time a service or information is delivered online it sh
ould be aligned to the communities
being engaged.


These communities can be grouped into three areas that will overlap.


The
se

are:



Communities of
Place

The most traditional view of a community is one of

place or

location.


Membership of
these communities
is determined by geography.


People will belong and associate with
a village, parish or neighbourhood.


They may live or work in a town, which in turn is
part of a larger district, county or region.


The scale of some communities will be even
broader and t
hey will work at a national or international level.



Communities of Interest and Need

Another aspect of

a community would be that of a shared interest or
need. This could
be a group of service u
sers for example, or a group of partners

that jointly deliver
s
ervices.

In marketing terms these would be the “target” audience or market. These
communities are useful when tailoring information and services to existing, new and
potential users, for example most parents would be interested in school information and
services at some point.



Communities of Equality

It is also necessary to highlight another community grouping based around equality and
diversity.


This needs to be specifically considered as the online channel
should

be
accessible to all.


By highlighting
this element it is easier to address any specific needs
of the six equality strands:
a
ge, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual
orientation.


These communities have

relevance online when looking at the
‘reach’

o
f

websites against the
different

types of community.


This is illustrated in figure 2
.

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Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

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4.3.3

Self Service

Online services and information should support self service. The design of service provision and
process needs to acknowledge that the online channel is fundamental to service delivery.


This
requires analysis and resource in order to achieve the
aims of both users and the service
.

Citizen demand is not just transactional (i.e getting a service), but incorporates knowledge, advice
and guidance about a service. This makes self service mo
re of an ‘interaction’. Ensuring answers
to ‘frequently asked questions’ are

available online
reduces the demand placed on other channels
(such as telephone calls)
. This in turn allows staff to concentrate effort on delivering services
rather then answer
ing queries.

4.3.4

Effectiveness and
Appropriateness

Having considered which communities are being engaged, the best possible ‘route’ into that
community needs to be established
-

it may be more effective to use an existing site than to create
a new one.

The ben
efits and dis
-
benefits of building a website for a single purpose, having content on an
existing LCC si
te, or using a third party site such as

You
Tube

needs to be assessed on each
occasion.



Re
-
using information and services from other sources may also be

more appropriate than
generating the content internally (e.g. the use of newsfeeds
such as the issue of product recall
not
ices from Consumer Direct
displayed within the Tr
ading Standards area of the corporate

website
).


This requires confidence about the
information which is being re
-
used, but will often
provide greater value to the customer and minimise the creation and maintenance of content that
already exists elsewhere.

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Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

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Many of the

microsites that the Council is

involved with have been created as a res
ult of them
being ‘owned’ by a partnership.
There is a perceived need to create an identity by producing a
separate website. This is not always necessary, as an area within a larger site could be provided
with independent ‘look and feel’ and even
a
diffe
rent web address, but still
be
part of the overall
content management system. This has been the approach of the Snibston area of the main
website, which is promoted under
www.snibston.com
, but is a sub
-
secti
on of m
useums content.
This is

also
, for example,
how the
BBC
deploys

their web presence.

4.3.5

Presumption to publish

A Public Authority will always have a statutory duty to provide certain information (whether it is
demanded by the public or not).


In order to reduc
e the number of Freedom of Information (FOI)
requests,

it should be

presumed that information will be published unless there is a strong reason
not to.

This needs to be done carefully to avoid making the site difficult to use. The majority of content
shoul
d be written for the web and for online display. However, those users who wish to find for
example infor
mation about key strategies,
policies

and meetings

should be able to do so through
effective search capabilities. Where appropriate downloadable and pri
ntable versions should be
available.

4.3.6

Syndicated Content

One of the fundamentals of the online channel is the ability to link to other information and
services.
In the wake of the "Web 2.0" movement, this has be
en developed further with the r
ise of
syndica
ted

content and information feeds.

Content can now be re
-
displayed and re
-
purposed
across a whole range of sites, allowing it to be seen by many whilst still being managed at source.

The council needs to embrace this syndication of content to ensure counc
il content and services
are not constrained to a single website, but are offered to other websites to reach a wider
audience.

People are no longer prepared to visit
a
specific website to access information, but may want to
combine this with their individua
l interests in their own personal spaces (such as i
-
Google,
Facebook or Myspace).
C
ouncil information, such as
job vacancies or
the Library

catalogue
s
earch
sh
ould be made available

for other people to use in their own websites.

4.3.7

User feedback

The online ch
annel allows the gathering of user feedback and provides a way to enter into
dialogue abou
t the issues that are raised.
This means clearly showing how feedback is used
,
but
also
being
willing
to respond to comments in the places they are being made.

In add
ition to providing the facilities within Council sites to enable users to provide feedback,
monitoring of the wider online environment for
comment and
feedback about the Council (such as
in blogs or forums) needs to be incorporated into the Council's appro
ach to managing its
reputation.

There are broadly two types of feedback that can be used online:



Active

Active feedback
includes

the comments and ratings people provide directly about the
information and services they are getting.


It also encompasses the
comments and
feedback that may be given in content created by users in things like blog posts and
forums.

Feedback should be encouraged for
individual
sites, as well as
by
monitoring comments
being made in the wider online environment. Comments created by
users can and do
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score highly in search engine results.


This can have a profound impact on customers
when searching for a particular service.



Passive

Passive feedback is primarily gathered by users


behaviour.


Trends in the pages that
are viewed can be u
sed to suggest related services and information (this is used to
great effect by Amazon in their

users who bought this also bought...

).


More simply, the
terms users enter into search engines and the do
cuments they choose to download

provide valuable fee
dback that can be used to tailor a website or a web page to better
suit the needs of users in general.

4.3.8

Cross
-
promotion

Cross
-
promotion is a way to actively promote other services to customers.


Whilst passive
feedback can suggest relationships based on cus
tomer behaviour, cross
-
promotion is about
highlighting services and informa
tion from a Council perspective
.


Thi
s can be used to encourage
take
-
up of services that may seem unrelated
, for example

promoting relevant library books on
the
composting area on t
he main website.

4.3.9

Preservation

Our online channel is dyn
amic and ever changing.
It
does

not

have a role in being an archive for
information
itself,

rather it should allow access into archives.


If information or records need to be
archived
,

then mechanisms

outside of this strategy should be in place

through the Council’s
approach to information management

4.4

Principles

A number of principles will be used to guide the future development of the Council’s online estate.

The principles are:

4.4.1

Integrated

Information

or services will be consumed across various channels, each with different customer
expectations
. This means that content

and style may need adjusting for the
web.

However
, t
he
web channel
should

not be thought of in isolation, but should be
integrated wit
h other
communications channels.



Furthermore, online service delivery needs t
o be planned as part of a suit
e of delivery channels
, so
that

where

possible a user

may switch channel seamlessly.

4.4.2

Promoted

Simply providing online service and information is no
t enough to ensure it is used.


The site should
be promoted to the rele
vant audiences to ensure take
-
up is achieved.

The cost benefit of
promotional activities should be

considered as part of an approach

to achieve channel shift.

4.4.3

Consistent

Forms, layout,
navigation, branding and style should be consistent across a site.



The m
essage must also be consistent with

that in oth
er channels, but this may mean that
the
form
it takes is
different from other channels.

For example, i
nformation may need to be specifi
cally
written for the web, rather then using copy

written for
a leaflet.

4.4.4

Compelling

This is the "wow" factor that will ensure that visitors return to a site.

Development of professional
web publishing and design skills will
help

to ensure that all web cont
ent
reaches

this standard
.

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4.4.5

Professional

Specific skills are need
ed

to develop websites and to create content and transactions to a
professional standard.


A variety of standards need to be met, be they government requirements
or accessibility standards, a
nd professional advice should be so
ugh
t to ensure these are met.

4.4.6

Safe and

Secure

Not only
should users be able
to trust the
information they are given,
they

should als
o

be confident

that

the

information they provide is dealt with securely. The online envi
ronment promoted by the
Council should be safe and secure for users in the same way a physical location should be.



4.4.7

Inclusive

A site should not exclude users based

on

language, disability
, age, gender or religion.


It should

also not exclude users based o
n the technology they m
ay have access to (such as dial
-
up or
broadband), or on the level of expertise they have with that technology. There should always be
alternative service provision or technology to remove these barriers
.

4.4.8

Designed around the User

Site
s should be designed to fulfil what users require
; they should recognise the
importance

of the
‘customer journey’.

An understanding of w
hat a
customer wants to
achieve and how they will
achieve it should drive site design and navigation.


Where this is no
t possible, as much focus as
possible should be given to ensuring the user experien
ce is actively
considered.

4.4.9

Available

The expectation is that the web is available 24/7. Whilst it is accepted that downtime, either
planned or unplanned, is inevitable it sh
ould be kept to a minimum
.
Unreliable services are likely
to damage user confidence and the Council's reputation.

Load times should be minimal to reduce frustration, as there is an expectation that the web
channel is immediate.



Users should be able

to r
each information or services

quickly. If i
t takes to long to find anything,
users will abandon the web channel i
n

favour of other channels.

4.4.10

Technology enabled, not driven

Web technology develops rapidly. However, consideration should always be given as to

whether a
particular technology is actually required to deliver a service, whether it meets user requirements,
and whether it is consistent with the ICT strategy and architectures.

The effectiveness
of any techology solution
should be measured from a
user
’s

point of view, not
from a developers or suppliers perspective alone.

4.4.11

Quality

T
he online channel is

an area that requires quality controls as much as a
ny other channel
.


Content and services must be developed specifically
for
online use
in order
to ensur
e it meets the
principles and standards outlined in this strategy.

Poor quality needs to be challenged as, ultimately, it will not meet either the needs of the public or
Council.

4.4.12

Tested

It is vital that our online presence is tested both before being deplo
yed and on an o
ngoing basis
after deployment.

Testing should focus on the user experience.

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4.4.13

Adds Value

The web channel should always add value for a user.


Broadly there are three ways this can be
achieved:



Convenience

Online services and information can b
e made available outside of normal business
hours, allowing users access at times they want.


Online information also means users
do not need to have paper copies of information or to make special journeys to access
the services they need.



Tangible value

I
t is worth considering if using the web channel will provide the user or service ar
ea
some tangible value. It may

be that applying online gets a quicker

response than other
channels, or offer a discount on booking if completed online
.

However this needs to

be
considered alongside the needs of users who may not have easy access to the internet.



Intangible value

This is linked to social inclusion,

lifestyle and participative behaviour. It
makes a site fun
or engaging in addition to delivering a need.
Researc
h by Gartner suggests that this
can be developed by encouraging customer ratings of services, blogs and online
games.

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5

How do we get there

?

“…you have to recognize that the Web is a communications medium, a two
-
way medium. It's not a broadcast medium like
TV where you want to be
glamorous. People go to Web sites because they have questions they want
answered. That's just not being done. We don't really need any new
technology. We just need to use the technology we have appropriately”


Jakob Neilsen (
2005)


The approach the Council will take to deliver its vision for its online presence is divided into 3 main
phases.


These are:

5.1

Phase 1
-

Enhance

There is much strength within our existing online estate. However these are often within specific
areas, rather
then contributing to a consistently high quality offering.
This phase will focus on
maximising the potential of the current corporate
online estate, by
improving on existing
good
practise and developing the quality and
range of services and applications t
hat are available
. It
will:



Focus

on a small set of high priority objectives, and a series of core
requirements which underpin these.



Not

require major ICT developments, but will focus on maximising the
potential of the existing technology platform.



Focus

on the main corporate website, but define the role of other key sites.


The
main

activities of this phase will be

delivered over a 9


12 month period and will include
:



Identif
ication of

the
key customer journeys for the main LCC website and
develop
ment of

high quality

content
to support them



Develop
ment of

an expanded set of
customer service transactions
linked to services
provided through the Customer Service Centre and the

Customer First Programme




S
yndication of prime Council content areas
.
This will

i
nclude areas such as job
listings, press releases and news, and library
catalogue search and renewals.



Establish
ment of

appropriate governance structures

and clearly defined roles and
responsibilities



Develop
ment

of
supporting standards and guidance
, such
as writing for the web



Review
of
current content against the principles and
standards in the strategy.



Embedd
ing
the

use of management information in development of content and
services

5.2

Phase 2
-

Explore

This phase will examine the potential future require
ments of our online users
. It will
evaluate the
current trends with the use o
f the web for service delivery and analyse the effectiveness of current
provision
. I
t

will also investigate the needs of the Community and Partnership requirements for
online se
rvices and facilities

and a move towards a more joined
-
up approach across the public
sector within Leicestershire.

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Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

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There will also be a need to
ass
ess the opportunities linked to enterprise content management and
the technological implications of this.

So
me specific activities
over the next 12
-
18 months
are likely to include:



Exploration of opportunities to develop an online presence across a range of
public sector organisations within Leicestershire



Review of the current structure and deployment of resou
rces used to create,
maintain and support the online channel



A review the effectiveness of the current technology supporting the online
channel.



Review
of
the current portfolio of microsites

against their
objectives

and the
Council

s p
riorities



Investigati
on of

the
dependencies

and re
lationships with other Council
s
trategies



The development

of a
Council wide

approach to digital inclusion

5.3

Phase 3
-

Extend

This
phase will
position Leicestershire as a leading authority in terms of its online presence,
through
additional functionality, services and processes.

It will use the information gathered in the
‘E
xplore


phase to deploy the necessary information and
serv
ices in a way that supports the

Council
’s and the partnerships priorities
. The Customer First
progra
mme will also feed in requirements from service areas for additional online functionallity.


Aug
-
09
Aug
-
10
Oct
-
09
Oct
-
10
Jul
-
10
Oct
-
11
Enhance
Explore
Extend
Figure 3


Approximate Timeline

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Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

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6

How do we make sure it happens?

“The website is a corporate asset, and needs to be managed corporately
,
otherwise the quality and coverage of its content is likely to be uneven.”



SOCITM Insight

(2009)


In order to deliver the online vision, it is necessary to ensure there is strong governance in place,

that

roles and
responsibilities

are defined and stan
dards are in place. These elements
represent

the framework for the strategic management of the Council’s online presence.

6.1

Governance

Critical to the success of the
strategy

is governance. This needs to be in place for the main
website, intranet and micro
sites.

Strategic
Governance
IGG
Strategic
Management
IPT
Operational
Governance
Dept
.
Leads
Figure
4

Relationship between Governance Roles and Council Bodies

6.1.1

Strategic
Governance

-

Information
Governance

Group

(IGG)

Given the relationships with other strategies already identified, the strategic governance of the
Council’s online channel will need to incorporate the following

roles:



Senior Customer Services representative



Senior Communications representative



Senior Departmental representatives



Senior Community Engagement representative



Senior ICT representative



Senior Information Management representative



Strategic “Online” ma
nager

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Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

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26

The
Information Governance Group (IGG)

incorpoates

all of these
roles. I
t will take
overall
responsibility
for
strategic development

for the online channel, and for
ensur
ing that

all
Leicestershire County Council websites and
the
intranet are

aligne
d with
the current strategy
. It
will also be accountable
for developing
and
deploying the necessary policies to ensure this
takes place.

It
will ensure that both corporate and departmental
objectives and requirements

are being met, and w
ill

resolve any iss
ues that are escalated to them.


IGG

will
make decisions
on the deployment of resources for both development and support activites


IGG

will provide
strategic leadership regarding the direction and use of the online channel
,
informed by requirements from

the Custoner Services board. It will inform the Corporate ICT
Steering group of technology requirements and will a
ctive promot
e

the vision, principles,
concepts

and standards contained in
this strategy.

6.1.2

Strategic Management
-

Information Provision
Team

T
he role
of strategic

ma
nagement is to deploy and develop the overall online strategy, polices
and standards,
and provid
e

recommendations for key

decisions

to the
Information Governance
Group
.
This will be provided by the Information provision Team (IPT).
T
he

IPT

will have
responsibility for ensuring the web channel is ef
fectively managed and supported, including
the management of 3
rd

party site accounts (such a
s

the Youtube Channel)
.

Strat
egic management will have authority over

areas of
c
orporate content,
such as the main
website homepage
and will

authorise the
use of domain names for the Council
. Any new
websites will need approval from
s
trategic
m
anagement

to ensure a coordinated approach is
followed
. This

will ensure

online services and information are

being provided in line with the
principles set out in this strategy.

6.1.3

Operational Governance


Departmental Leads

There will be some operational governance at a department and service level.

This will provide
local leadership for promoting the use of the
online channel, and coordinate the service
content. They will ensure service areas’ communication and delivery plans integrate the use
the online channel and are appropriately resourced.

6.1.4

Technical Governance


ICT Steering Group

In addition to the govern
ance around information and services online, there will need to be a
clear responsiblility for managing the technical infrastructure

that underpins the Council’s online
presence.

Technology decisions will be made by the Corporate ICT Steering group and wil
l be informed
by the Council’s ICT Strategy.


6.2

Roles and Responsibilities

In addition to the governance, there will be specific roles and
responsibilities

for both

getting
information and
services

online
,

and in supporting the online channel. These are out
lined here.

6.2.1

Online

Publication and
Provision Process

There are a set of roles and
responsibilities

that are involved in the getting information or a
service

online. In many cases more than one role

may be taken by an individual or team
.
These roles are:



Originators

Those who determine that information or a service needs to be made available online
are the
originators
.
They will hold overall
responsibil
i
ty

for the content or service and
are equivalent

to Content Owner in the
Information

Management Strate
gy.
It is their
responsibility

to
ensure

that
once the
content

or service is live
,

it is maintained.

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Strategy 2009 to 2011

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Creators / Authors

Once the need to have a service or information online has been identified, the creator
(or author) is responsible for producing content
, application or form.



Publishers

Once content or an application

is created, the publisher will provide the online set up.
They will have choice over the format, layout and ordering of the
content

(or
application) in order to ensure the best online experi
ence of the end user
, within the
framework provided by the policies and standards set out by this strategy.



Approvers

Before content or an application goes live it must be approved. This will ensure that
appropriate

testing has taken place and that it mee
ts the necessary standards
outlined in this strategy and relevant policies.

This will be undertaken by the
departmental leads for content, and by strategic management for applications.



Maintainers

Once a service or content is online it will need an alloca
ted Maintainer to undertake
o
ngoing

m
anagement
.
They will be
responsible

for ensuring information is checked,
edited or removed in line with instructions from the
Originator
.

6.2.2


Support Roles

In addition to the governance and specific provision roles, there

is a need to support the online
channel in general
. This needs to be provided at three levels:



Departmental Leads

Support needs to be provided at a dep
artmental and service level

in order to be
responsive to local needs. This will cover
:

o

Content Managem
ent Training

o

Simple o
nline form creation

(those that only generate an e
-
mail sent into a
service)

o

Advice on standards and quality

o

Risk assessments for use of third party sites



I
nformation Provision Team

Corporate support
will

be
provided to departmental le
ads and services focused on the
professional use of the online channel, and
including
:

o

Usability

o

Management Informat
i
on reporting and
interpretation

o

Use of multimedia

o

Page design and layout

o

Navigation

structures

and site design

o

Site
administration

o

Advanced

form design (those requiring more advanced functionallity)

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Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

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ICT

ICT Services is responsible for the selection, implementation and development, and
support for the technology underpinning the Websites and web
-
based applications
hosted by the Council. They
also have a lead role in developing the future technical
roadmap for web technologies and providing technical information security oversight
across the Council’s web presence.

Where applications or forms require integration with
other systems or databases,

ICT would undertake the specified work requests.

6.3

Standards

and Policies

In order to ensure the quality of the online experience for users, the Council will need to develop
and deploy certain standards that cover a variety of elements.

6.3.1

Usability

The main a
rea for standards is
Usability
, and will include:
:



Accessibility

Any website or application should meet the standards outline
d

in

PAS 78:2006: Guide
to good practice in commissioning accessible websites

. Websites should meet the
Web
Accessibility

Initia
tive (WAI) Web Content
Accessibility

Guidelines 2.0

to level AA.
This covers such elements as
:


o

Providing text
alternatives

o

Making all
functionality

available from a keyboard

o

Making content readable and understandable

o

Help users avoid and
correct

mistakes

o

Making sure sites are compatible with browsers and
assistive

technology.



Testing

Testing standards will be defined

but
,

as a minimum
,

online information and service
should be tested on a variety of browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Jaws),
along

with mobile technology. This should also include che
cking on at least the
previous two

versions of any browser software.



Structure

and Navigation

Websites should follow conventions for the location
of
navigation menus and search
boxes.
Navigation and st
ructure should be shaped around the user experience, and
not around the organisational structure. Specific elements should always be included,
such as:

o

Contact details page

o

Feedback on the site

o

Terms

and conditions of use



Language

There will be a standard

on the level of
alternative
language
provision

available
. Key
information

(such as contact details),

should

be available in alternative languages
.

Written information should conform to Plain English standards.

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6.3.2

Style and Branding

A style and branding g
uide for online
activity

will inform
the way in which

the Co
uncil conveys
information within this channel
,

and how the
different partnership and council brands
should be
used. It will outline the expectations for
writing

specifically for the web and defin
e how to refer
to the Council, p
artners and other stakeholders in a
consistent

manner. It

should also reflect
the tone to be used in different contexts.

6.3.3

Microsites

A set of criteria
will

be developed
to evaluate ex
isting and potential microsites,
and to
ensure
there are valid reasons

why

the main County Council website

cannot be fulfil requirements.

Unless these

criteria

are met, then a propo
sed microsite would not be developed. Criteria
will
include:

o

Specific partnership branding requirements

o

Specific

audience or community targeting

o

Management arrangements are defined for communication and information
provision.

o

Potential e
quality and
environmental i
mpacts are understood and documented.

6.3.4

Web Applications

and Interfaces

It is desirable that p
resentation a
nd interaction of web applications
with the public

or staff

via
the
online channel

is
achievable

through
the Council’s
co
ntent management system (i
t would
be envisaged that this would be done through a web service, XML
feed, SOAP or other defined
API).

If

this cannot be
achieved

then it is essential that the system's presentation and
intera
c
tion is done in accordance
with the standards in the this strategy


6.3.5

Domain names

The
Information Provision Team will a
uthoris
e

domain name requests
,
along similar lines

to
Microsites.
A number of

factors
will

be considered including availabilit
y, usefulness, and
simplicity.

6.3.6

Third

party sites

A policy on third party sites will outline
the
procedure required to use a site not controlled by
the Council
. This will ensure t
h
at

risks

such as access, a
ccount management and passwords

are assessed and controls are put in place. The aim will be to allow services to use third party
sites where they add value or reach a
different
community or audience, whils
t ensuring the
conseque
nces, int
en
d
ed or unintended, are considered.

6.3.7

Publication Processes

A set of protocols and procedures will need to be outlined for the publication of content and
how the roles and responsiblities operate.

6.4

Resource Implications

The Council’s online presence

will need to be
appropriately

resourced to meet its objectives. The
current
resourcing

has developed in an uncoordinated and unplanned

way. The professional skills
and
capabilities

needed to maximise the benefits from the online channel is
beginning

to
be
recognised in some areas, but needs to be consolidated to give users
a consistent, high quality
online experience across the wide variety of Council services.

The major implication of this is

in

the way that the resources are organised, governed and
dep
l
oyed. Additional resources may

not necessarily be required if the current
resource can be
deployed effectively to

support the Council as a whole.

A further assessment of the resources
necessary to implement the ‘Enhance’ phase of the strategy will be und
ertaken as part of the
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development of the implementation plan. However, Phase 1 is not likely to require significant ICT
resource, and most of the work will be undertaken by the Information Provision Team and
departmental lead authors and publishers.

Furth
er

exploration of resourcing will be required to establish the levels and deployment model
needed in the future
. This will be done as part
of

the ‘Explore’ phase.

6.5

Technology

The
continued
support of the LiveLink content
management

system has been raised a
s a

potential
issue, but assurances from the supplier have been given regarding ongoing support. In its current
state the content management system still fulfils the Council’s requirements for the Enhance phase
of this strategy.

Support for the Council’s
core web technology

such as the content management system,

needs to
be in place to ensure available upgrades are planned and carried out.

The full implications regarding the technology required will be evaluated by the Enterprise
Architecture team and ICT
Services
as part of the ‘Explore’ phase
.

The
focus

of this strategy as it develops will be to
specify

business

requirements, rather then the
technology itself.

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7

Is there anything that may stop us?


Barriers

The main barrier to
successful delivery
of the st
rategy is

the buy in and support for the strategy
across the organisation.

However there are some key issues and risks that may stop effective use
of the online channel by the Council

7.1

Resourcing

Over the next 2


3 years the Council will face increasing p
ressure to deliver efficiencies. This is
likely to impact of the level of resourcing available to the online channel in terms of staffing and
budget. This will be set against increasing demands from services to move to more efficient
delivery channels, s
uch as online.

The risk is that support for online activity is reduced at the same
time demands increase. This in turn could mean that resident satisfaction decrease as online
quality suffers.

The Council should ensure that it is able to access skilled o
nline professionals, in a way that
benefits the Council as a whole rather then one particular service area.
There also needs to be
resources available to market and promote the online channel to ensure take up.

7.2

Prioritisation

There need
s to be clear direc
tion as to whe
ther online information and service delivery is one of
the Council’s priorities. If it is not seen as a priority by Senior Managers and members then it will
be increasingly difficult to bring resources to bear online.

There will need to be a

change in the way managers view the online channel and how they plan
their communications and services to incorporate it.

O
nline activity is core to the delivery of the
Council’s objectives, and effective prioritisation is needed to deliver good online s
ervices whilst
making the necessary efficiency savings.

Given the restriced resources, it will be necessary to prioritise what development activity can be
undertaken. Additionally, it is likely that not all departmental or service
aspirations
will be me
t.

7.3

Communications

There will need to be a clear
communication

programme around the strategy to ensure staff are
aware of the contents and the impact it may have on them and the services they provide. The key
message of “Usefu
l, Usable and Used” along with

‘Enhance, Explore and Extend’

needs to be
widely understood along with the
responsibilities

this imparts and how the Council

s online
presence will be managed.

7.4

Search / Discovery

While clearly a part of the online environment, search and discovery has a w
ider context within
knowledge management and the use of Knowledge Bases.

An overall approach to search and
discovery will greatly enhance usability and effectiveness of online searching.


This needs to be done in parallel to developing an organisation wi
de approach to how information
and content is used to support services. How information is created has a profound impact on how
it can be used and how it can be found.
8

Implementation Plan

Identification of the key customer journeys
for the main LCC website and development
of high quality content to support them
Development of an expanded set of

customer

service transactions linked to
services provided through the CSC
and
the
Customer First Programme
Syndication of prime Council content areas
Development of supporting
standards and guidance
,
such as
writing for the web
Review of current content

against the principles and
standards in the strategy
Embedding the use of
management information in
development of content and
services
Establishment of appropriate
governance structures and
clearly defined roles and
responsibilities
Key Activities to include
:
·
Review feedback comments to understand issues
·
Produce content plan
,
including page titles
,
keywords
·
Political Management System searchable
·
Review website stats to identify popular services
/
pages
/
search terms
Key Activities to include
:
·
E
-
petitions
·
Customer First Prioritisation Plan
Key Activities to include
:
·
Library Search Gadget
·
Redevelop Jobs area of website
·

Develop Content
·

Syndication of Jobs
·
Press release RSS Feed
·
Events and What
'
s on
·

What
'
s on Syndication
·

Online Ticketing
/
booking
·

Dynamic page population on main website
Key Activities to include
:
·
Writing for the web check lists
·
Website Style Guide
·
Style Check lists
·
Testing standards
·
Domain Name Standards
·
Staff Contribution policy
·
Domain name Policy
·
Writing for the web guidance
·
Third party sites policy
·
Microsite Criteria
Key Activities to include
:
·
Service area content review
·
Review of main website against
accessibility standards
·
Website EIA
·
CSS control of presentation of main
website
Key Activities to include
:
·
Reporting requirements
·
Produce Strategy Communication
Plan
Key Activities to include
:
·
Think Online Campaign
“Enhance” Phase Outline Implementation Plan

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Exploration of opportunities to develop an
online presence across a range of public
sector organisations within Leicestershire
Review of the current structure and
deployment of resources used to create
,
maintain and support the online channel
A review the effectiveness of the current
technology supporting the online channel
.
Key Activities to include
:
·
Defining role of Leicestershire Gateway
Partnership
·
Defining requirements of Community ICT
·
Develop relationship with Key stakeholders
·
Defining the role of the main LCC website within
the partnership context
Key Activities to include
:
·


Establish
resource levels
·

Resource deployment model
Key Activities to include
:
·
Document current technology
·
Define Council
'
s web content management
requirements
·
Review requirements against current technology
·
Produce technology recommendations
Review of the current portfolio of microsites
against their objectives and the Council’s
priorities

Review
the dependencies
,
requirements and
assumptions
with other Council strategies
The development of a Council wide approach
to digital inclusion
“Explore” Phase Outline Implementation Plan

.
A1

Appen
dix
-
Glossary

8.1.1

online

The use of a browser to access information and services

8.1.2

website

a collection of information and services that you access online.

8.1.3

Internet

The global network of computer resources accessed through a service provider.

8.1.4

intranet

The part o
f the Internet that is only available to internal staff.

8.1.5

web channel

The

use

of the intranet or Internet to deliver services and information.

8.1.6

user

Someone who access services or information online.


It can be a member of staff or a member of
the public.

8.1.7

Yo
uTube

www.youtube.com is one of the many sites that allows users to upload video content for other
users to access.

8.1.8

newsfeeds

The sharing of news information by a standard technology that allows different websites to display
or access the same news or info
rmation.

8.1.9

web service

A way that data can be made accessible to websites in a similar way to newsfeeds

8.1.10

microsite

In this context it is public facing websites developed by areas of the Council for the delivery of
specific

services or information that do not
form part of the main www.leics.gov.uk website

8.1.11

Gartner

An organisation that specialise in ICT research.

8.1.12

blog

Short for "weblog", these are online diaries or commentaries that are updated directly by users

8.1.13

SOAP

Stands for Simple Object Access Protocol


a s
tructured way to exhange information between
computer networks.

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Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

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8.1.14

Java

A programming language developed by Sun Microsystems that can run through a virtual machine
on any computer type


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Online Strategy 2009 to 2011

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A2

List of Websites and Applications

8.1.15

Maintained List of Known Council Websit
es

See document:
lcc_websites.xls

(County Council Internal Document)

8.1.16

Maintained List of Know Council Website applications

See document:
w
ebsites_applications_list.xls

(County Council Internal Document)

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A3

Budget Information

Please note this will need to be updated with current figures (figures shown from 2006/7)

Software / Technology

Approx.
Revenue Cost

Opentext LiveLink

£19,900

Ultraseek
Search

£3
,
000

Website Survey

£1
,
000

Multimedia Hosting

£1
,
700

Axzona web monitoring

£1
,
500

Webtrends statistics

£
3
,
600

Sitemorse Page
Checking

£595

Browsealoud

£5
,
000

Achieve Forms

£4
,
000

Cuttlefish CMS

£
6
,000

TOTAL

£
46295


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Online

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A4

References

/ Links

8.1.17

IA Task Failures Remain Costly

See document:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/ia
-
failures.html

Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, April 2009

8.1.18

The Unwieldy Web

See document:
b3952418.htm

8.1.19

Eric Enge Interviews Usability Guru, Jakob Nielsen

See document:
interview
-
jakob
-
nielsen.sht
ml

8.1.20

NWEGG Service Delivery Costs

See document:
38658

8.1.21

Giraffe Forum » Web customer
-
centricity save time and money

See document:
web
-
customer
-
centricity
-
save
-
time
-
and
-
money

8.1.22

Micro Persuasion In the Cut and Paste Era, Traffic Happens
Elsewhere

See document:
the
-
cut
-
and
-
pas.h
tml


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A5

Document
Control

A5.1

Control Details

Document
Location:

\
\
Lccfp2
\
CEXDATA
\
Information Provision
\
ict
-

information mgt
-

change
management
\
change management
\
Online Strategy
-

Draft.doc

Production
Software:

Microsoft Word
2003

Author:

Matthew Dodd
,

Corpor
ate Resources, Organisational Development


Owner:

Liz Clark on behalf of IGG

A5.2

Document Amendment Record

Issue

Amendment Detail

Author

Date

Circulated?

Approved

0.1

Creation of draft

Matthew Dodd

May
2009

N


0.2

Additions

and Corrections

Liz Clark

May
2
009

N


0
.3

Additions and corrections
following IGG

Matthew Dodd

May
2009

Y


0.4

Additions following
distribution

Matthew Dodd

June
2009



1.0

Final changes for IGG

Matthew Dodd

June
2009

Y

Y

1.1

One change following IGG
approval

Matthew Dodd

July
2009


Y


A5.3

Document
Distribution

Issue

Recipients

Date of distribution

0.3

Liz Clark;

Gayle Wells;

Andy Robinson;

Sandy McMillan;

Nigel
Farrow;

Isabel Merrifield;

Kathy Harman;

Paula Forster;

Simon
Lawrence;

David Pitt;

Tony Dailide;

Simon McIntosh;

Paul Love;

Nigel Thomas;

Stephen Curtis;

Matthew Lugg;

Debbie Billingham;

Roderick O'Connor;

Nic Rowe; Harry Mistry
; Brian Roberts; Andy
Roberts; Matt Scott

29th

May 2009

1.0

Liz Clark;

Gayle Wells;

Andy Robinson;

Sandy McMillan;

Nigel
Farrow;

Isabel Merrifield;

Kat
hy Harman;

Paula Forster;

Simon
Lawrence;

David Pitt;

Tony Dailide;

Simon McIntosh;

Paul Love;

Nigel Thomas;

Stephen Curtis;

Matthew Lugg;

Debbie Billingham;

Roderick O'Connor;

Nic Rowe;

Harry Mistry; Brian Roberts; Andy
Roberts; Matt Scott

July 2009