Corporate Website Online Strategy

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Corporate Website Online Strategy Powered By Docstoc
					    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


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 COVER?                    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 TO BE?                          15
         4.1 Vision                                15
         4.2 Objectives                            15
         4.3 Key Concepts                          16
         4.4 Principles                            20

5 HOW DO WE GET THERE ?                            23
         5.1 Phase 1 - Enhance                     23
         5.2 Phase 2 - Explore                     23
         5.3 Phase 3 - Extend                      24

6 HOW DO WE MAKE SURE 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

         7.1 Resourcing                            31
         7.2 Prioritisation                        31
         7.3 Communications                        31
         7.4 Search / Discovery                    31

8 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN                              32
A1       APPENDIX -GLOSSARY                        34
A3       BUDGET INFORMATION                        37
A4       REFERENCES / LINKS                        38
A5       DOCUMENT CONTROL                          39

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                             Online Strategy

1 Why have an Online Strategy?
“Information is Power. Go to your council website, find out about your local
services. If information is not there demand an explanation!” - Communities
in control real people, real power (2009)

Real people, real business and real services in real communities are connecting with each other
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 than 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.
There are some excellent sites, including the award-winning Leicestershire CareOnLine, and The
Jitty. Customers can transact an increasing number of services online, and customer feedback
from the corporate 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 against public and staff
expectations, nor did it specify any standards or principles for using the internet to deliver services
and information. This Strategy sets out to provide a comprehensive online strategy aligned with
the needs of customer and communities, which can best exploit the new opportunities which the
web can offer.
The online channel allows us to realise key business benefits for customers, communities and the
For Customers…
 By making information accessible, Customers are empowered to make choices
  regarding 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 Community…
 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 matters; solving problems through the benefit of others’ experience

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                              Online Strategy

For the Council…
 An effective online presence enhances the Council’s reputation.

 There is significant cost reduction opportunity by reducing calls and manual

 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, reducing cost and environmental

 It provides an economical 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 information 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: being 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 engagement; giving citizens a sense of place and involvement in what happens in
their local area.
The online channel is a vital part of this engagement activity, with particular emphasis on
access to information. The White Paper states:
             "Citizens often feel powerless because of a lack of information. Too much jargon can
             alienate, 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 internet 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 digital
             exclusion. We will ensure all sections of society can enjoy the benefits of the internet,
             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 thinking and planning.

     1.1.2 Local Democracy Bill
Whilst „Communities in control: real people, real power‟ outlines the approach Central Government
wants local authorities to take, specific duties have been placed on us through the Local
Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.
In relation to online information and services, the three key references in the act are:

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                           Online Strategy

          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
          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 provide an electronic petition facility.

    1.1.3 Customer Expectations
With the rise in use of the internet, 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 now
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 councils 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 entirely online will assist in reducing
service delivery costs. This adds further emphasis on channel shift, not only to improve service but
deliver efficiency.

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                                                       Online Strategy

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 Microsites1

 About understanding the requirements 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

Our strategy is not…

 Purely about any one site individually e.g. the corporate 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 Strategy 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 need to be
produced for individual sites.
Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                           Online Strategy

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
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.

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                             Online Strategy

3 Where are we now?
“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 (2009)

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 delivering 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
technology 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 about 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 A2). 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 Together. 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 using third party sites for promoting our information. For
example, we have a Council Youtube channel ( 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 functionality to sites, including applying for jobs or entering competitions. A list 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 undertake a transaction, internal users, job applicants,
Leicestershire residents, visitors and local businesses. Individual websites attract different 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

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                                                      Online Strategy

SOCITM survey also provides an independent assessment of the website, which has consistently
been rated as “transactional” (Level 3 from a possible 4).
Most of the customer 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
          10% 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 users 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
extent and causes of digital exclusion within Leicestershire (looking at various factors such as
access to computers and broadband, internet skills, mobile technology, accessibility of online
services and so on), to ensure citizens are not discriminated against.

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 appendix A3.

    3.3.1 Content Management Systems
Much of 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, intranet, 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 from 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, are managed
              through the "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 corporate procurement unit to cover hosting,
support and development.
Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
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:Leicestershire County Council                                                              Online Strategy

              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 software was produced under 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 Management 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 and through the Knowledge Bases
              used 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 engines 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 information from a variety of sources, and from different systems and
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)
within 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 search 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.

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                           Online Strategy

    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 -

    3.3.4 Statistics
Management information is crucial for understanding how people use the Council's online
Much of the raw information is stored in log files which show computer activity. In order to make
sense of this information the 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 most popular
documents and pages are, and so on.
In order to get more qualitative information the Council also deploys a survey run by SOCITM and
Govmetric, on the main website. This asks 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 whether they were satisfied. This survey is also
used by around 150 councils so it also provides valuable comparison information.
Govmetric also provide the „rate this page‟ functionality 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 staff resources to online information and service
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 search engines
                   o    Production of management information and site monitoring (for usage and up-
                   o    Development and support of electronic forms

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                                 Online Strategy

          Content Production and Maintenance
              Across the Council‟s departments there are at least 11.5 FTE that have web publishing
              as a major part of their job role. In all there 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 departments have a nominated „Lead Author‟. They are responsible for
              coordinating the content being published within their department, 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 services, 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 provide
              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 for the main website, CIS
              and „Community ICT Infrastructure‟ is approximately £46k. 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 budgets.

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 main 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
Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                           Online Strategy

              This includes information on local clubs and services, and can be customised 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 admissions
                   o    Job applications
          Good practical 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 community-based sites
                   o    Leicestershire CareOnline
                   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
          Level of adoption and development dependent on interest
          Bottlenecks in adding content in some services
          Responsibility 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 easy to set up sites without corporate awareness or advice

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                         Online Strategy

          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’
              There 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 Customer First programme provides 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 culture
              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‟

    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

Confidential: Leicestershire County Council
Leicestershire Online
The Council’s Online Strategy 2009 to 2011
Version 1.1
:Leicestershire County Council                                                           Online Strategy

4 Where do we want to be?
“The web is transforming into a medium where the greatest value is created
when people connect via platforms of participation around a common goal --
to make money, be entertained or informed, to create, etc.” - Steve Rubel

Having reviewed the current situation, this chapter outlines the Council's vision for its online
presence, the objectives it wants to meet and the principles and concepts that are needed 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,
    Usable and Used‟ for the provision of information and services to the
    mutual benefit of customers, the Council, staff and partners and the
    communities we serve 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: Information and services should be accessible to all, and presented 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, usable, 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 channels. 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 services.

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                              Online Strategy

    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 extent 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, efficient 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-

    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 interest can provide an extremely valuable resource.

    4.2.7 Equality and Diversity
The online channel will be one way to provide 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

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                             Online Strategy

User insight will give some information about the main tasks and outcomes users are looking for
online. Once this is established, the journey needs to be made as 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 article in a newspaper. Online, the journey is likely to
start 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 journeys should be tested and observed 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 vital. This
recognises that the „web‟ is not an entity in itself, but groups of people connecting 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 should be aligned to the communities
being engaged. These communities can be grouped into three areas that will overlap. These 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 they 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 users for example, or a group of partners that jointly deliver
              services. 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: age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual
These communities have relevance online when looking at the „reach‟ of websites against the
different types of community. This is illustrated in figure 2.

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                         Online Strategy

    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 more 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 answering 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 benefits and dis-benefits of building a website for a single purpose, having content on an
existing LCC site, or using a third party site such as YouTube needs to be assessed on each
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
notices from Consumer Direct displayed within the Trading 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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:Leicestershire County Council                                                          Online Strategy

Many of the microsites that the Council is involved with have been created as a result 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 different 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, but is a sub-section of museums 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 reduce 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
should be written for the web and for online display. However, those users who wish to find for
example information about key strategies, policies and meetings should be able to do so through
effective search capabilities. Where appropriate downloadable and printable versions should be

    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 been developed further with the rise of
syndicated 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 council content and services
are not constrained to a single website, but are offered to other websites to reach a wider
People are no longer prepared to visit a specific website to access information, but may want to
combine this with their individual interests in their own personal spaces (such as i-Google,
Facebook or Myspace). Council information, such as job vacancies or the Library catalogue
search should be made available for other people to use in their own websites.

    4.3.7 User feedback
The online channel allows the gathering of user feedback and provides a way to enter into
dialogue about 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 addition 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 approach to managing its
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
              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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:Leicestershire County Council                                                            Online Strategy

              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 used 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 documents they choose to download
              provide valuable feedback 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 customer behaviour, cross-promotion is about
highlighting services and information from a Council perspective. This can be used to encourage
take-up of services that may seem unrelated, for example promoting relevant library books on the
composting area on the main website.

    4.3.9 Preservation
Our online channel is dynamic 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, the
web channel should not be thought of in isolation, but should be integrated with other
communications channels.
Furthermore, online service delivery needs to be planned as part of a suite of delivery channels, so
that where possible a user may switch channel seamlessly.

    4.4.2 Promoted
Simply providing online service and information is not enough to ensure it is used. The site should
be promoted to the relevant 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 message must also be consistent with that in other channels, but this may mean that the form
it takes is different from other channels. For example, information may need to be specifically
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 content reaches this standard.
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:Leicestershire County Council                                                            Online Strategy

    4.4.5 Professional
Specific skills are needed 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, and professional advice should be sought 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 also be confident
that the information they provide is dealt with securely. The online environment 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 on the technology they may 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
Sites should be designed to fulfil what users require; they should recognise the importance of the
„customer journey‟. An understanding of what a customer wants to achieve and how they will
achieve it should drive site design and navigation. Where this is not possible, as much focus as
possible should be given to ensuring the user experience 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 should 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 reach information or services quickly. If it takes to long to find anything,
users will abandon the web channel in 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
The online channel is an area that requires quality controls as much as any other channel.
Content and services must be developed specifically for online use in order to ensure 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

    4.4.12 Tested
It is vital that our online presence is tested both before being deployed and on an ongoing basis
after deployment. Testing should focus on the user experience.

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                                 Online Strategy

    4.4.13 Adds Value
The web channel should always add value for a user. Broadly there are three ways this can be
          Convenience
              Online services and information can be 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
              It is worth considering if using the web channel will provide the user or service area
              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. Research by Gartner suggests that this
              can be developed by encouraging customer ratings of services, blogs and online

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                            Online Strategy

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 that are available. It

          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:
               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 Customer Service Centre and the Customer First Programme
               Syndication of prime Council content areas. This will include areas such as job
                listings, press releases and news, and library catalogue search and renewals.
               Establishment of appropriate governance structures and clearly defined roles and
               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

  5.2 Phase 2 - Explore
This phase will examine the potential future requirements of our online users. It will evaluate the
current trends with the use of the web for service delivery and analyse the effectiveness of current
provision. It will also investigate the needs of the Community and Partnership requirements for
online services and facilities and a move towards a more joined-up approach across the public
sector within Leicestershire.

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                           Online Strategy

There will also be a need to assess the opportunities linked to enterprise content management and
the technological implications of this.
Some 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 resources used to create,
             maintain and support the online channel

            A review the effectiveness of the current technology supporting the online

            Review of the current portfolio of microsites against their objectives and the
             Council’s priorities

            Investigation of the dependencies and relationships with other Council

            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 „Explore‟ phase to deploy the necessary information and
services in a way that supports the Council‟s and the partnerships priorities. The Customer First
programme will also feed in requirements from service areas for additional online functionallity.


       Aug-09                                     Aug-10


                Oct-09                                     Oct-10

                                         Jul-10                              Oct-11

Figure 3 – Approximate Timeline

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                                     Online Strategy

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 standards 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 microsites.

                                                       Go rategi
                                                         ve r     c
                                                                 ce   IGG

                                              Ma trateg
                                                nag ic
                                                       ent                  IPT

                                         Op                                                   ds
                                        Go ration                                   .   Lea
                                          ve r
                                              nan al                         D   ept

                            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” manager

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                                Online Strategy

    The Information Governance Group (IGG) incorpoates all of these roles. It will take overall
    responsibility for strategic development for the online channel, and for ensuring that all
    Leicestershire County Council websites and the intranet are aligned 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 will resolve any issues 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 active promote the vision, principles,
    concepts and standards contained in this strategy.

     6.1.2 Strategic Management - Information Provision Team
     The role of strategic management is to deploy and develop the overall online strategy, polices
     and standards, and provide recommendations for key decisions to the Information Governance
     Group. This will be provided by the Information provision Team (IPT). The IPT will have
     responsibility for ensuring the web channel is effectively managed and supported, including
     the management of 3rd party site accounts (such as the Youtube Channel).
     Strategic management will have authority over areas of corporate 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 strategic management 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 governance around information and services online, there will need to be a
    clear responsiblility for managing the technical infrastructure that underpins the Council‟s online
    Technology decisions will be made by the Corporate ICT Steering group and will 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 outlined 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 responsibility for the content or service and
                 are equivalent to Content Owner in the Information Management Strategy. It is their
                 responsibility to ensure that once the content or service is live, it is maintained.

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                               Online Strategy

             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 experience 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 meets 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 allocated Maintainer to undertake
                 ongoing management. 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 departmental and service level in order to be
              responsive to local needs. This will cover:
                   o    Content Management Training
                   o    Simple online form creation (those that only generate an e-mail sent into a
                   o    Advice on standards and quality
                   o    Risk assessments for use of third party sites

          Information Provision Team
              Corporate support will be provided to departmental leads and services focused on the
              professional use of the online channel, and including:
                   o    Usability
                   o    Management Information 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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:Leicestershire County Council                                                               Online Strategy

          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 area for standards is Usability, and will include::

 Accessibility
               Any website or application should meet the standards outlined in „PAS 78:2006: Guide
               to good practice in commissioning accessible websites‟. Websites should meet the
               Web Accessibility Initiative (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 checking 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 structure 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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:Leicestershire County Council                                                            Online Strategy

    6.3.2 Style and Branding
    A style and branding guide for online activity will inform the way in which the Council 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 define how to refer
    to the Council, partners 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 existing 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 proposed microsite would not be developed. Criteria will
                 o Specific partnership branding requirements
                 o Specific audience or community targeting
                 o Management arrangements are defined for communication and information
                 o Potential equality and environmental impacts are understood and documented.
    6.3.4 Web Applications and Interfaces
    It is desirable that presentation and interaction of web applications with the public or staff via
    the online channel is achievable through the Council‟s content management system (it 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
    interaction is done in accordance with the standards in the this strategy

    6.3.5 Domain names
    The Information Provision Team will authorise domain name requests, along similar lines to
    Microsites. A number of factors will be considered including availability, usefulness, and

    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 that risks such as access, account 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, whilst ensuring the
    consequences, intended 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
deployed. 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 undertaken as part of the
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:Leicestershire County Council                                                           Online Strategy

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.
Further 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 as 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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:Leicestershire County Council                                                            Online Strategy

7 Is there anything that may stop us? –
The main barrier to successful delivery of the strategy 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 pressure 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, such 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 online 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 needs to be clear direction as to whether 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. Online activity is core to the delivery of the
Council‟s objectives, and effective prioritisation is needed to deliver good online services 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 met.

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 “Useful, 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 wider 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 wide 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.

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8 Implementation Plan

“Enhance” Phase Outline Implementation Plan
                                                                 Development of an expanded set of
      Identification of the key customer journeys
                                                                 customer service transactions linked to
      for the main LCC website and development                                                                        Syndication of prime Council content areas
                                                                 services provided through the CSC and the
      of high quality content to support them
                                                                 Customer First Programme
                                                                                                                 Key Activities to include:
                                                                                                                 · Library Search Gadget
Key Activities to include:                                                                                       · Redevelop Jobs area of website
· Review feedback comments to understand issues            Key Activities to include:                                 · Develop Content
· Produce content plan, including page titles,             · E-petitions                                              · Syndication of Jobs
                                                           · Customer First Prioritisation Plan                  · Press release RSS Feed
·   Political Management System searchable
                                                                                                                 · Events and What's on
·   Review website stats to identify popular services /
    pages / search terms
                                                                                                                      · What's on Syndication
                                                                                                                      · Online Ticketing / booking
                                                                                                                 ·   Dynamic page population on main website

                                                                                              Embedding the use of                 Establishment of appropriate
      Development of supporting                     Review of current content
                                                                                              management information in            governance structures and
      standards and guidance, such as               against the principles and
                                                                                              development of content and           clearly defined roles and
      writing for the web                           standards in the strategy
                                                                                              services                             responsibilities
Key Activities to include:
· Writing for the web check lists
· Website Style Guide                         Key Activities to include:
· Style Check lists                           · Service area content review              Key Activities to include:
· Testing standards                           · Review of main website against           · Reporting requirements             Key Activities to include:
· Domain Name Standards                           accessibility standards                · Produce Strategy Communication     · Think Online Campaign
· Staff Contribution policy                   ·   Website EIA                                Plan

· Domain name Policy                          ·   CSS control of presentation of main
· Writing for the web guidance
· Third party sites policy
· Microsite Criteria
:Leicestershire County Council                                                                     Online Strategy

    “Explore” Phase Outline Implementation Plan

          Exploration of opportunities to develop an            Review of the current structure and
                                                                                                                     A review the effectiveness of the current
          online presence across a range of public              deployment of resources used to create,
                                                                                                                     technology supporting the online channel.
          sector organisations within Leicestershire            maintain and support the online channel

    Key Activities to include:                                                                               Key Activities to include:
    · Defining role of Leicestershire Gateway                                                                · Document current technology
        Partnership                                        Key Activities to include:
    ·   Defining requirements of Community ICT             ·   Establish resource levels
                                                                                                             · Define Council's web content management
    ·   Develop relationship with Key stakeholders         ·   Resource deployment model
                                                                                                             ·   Review requirements against current technology
    ·   Defining the role of the main LCC website within
                                                                                                             ·   Produce technology recommendations
        the partnership context

          Review of the current portfolio of microsites
                                                                Review the dependencies, requirements and            The development of a Council wide approach
          against their objectives and the Council‟s
                                                                assumptions with other Council strategies            to digital inclusion


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A1          Appendix -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 of 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 YouTube 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 information.

   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 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 structured way to exhange information between
computer networks.
:Leicestershire County Council                                                  Online Strategy

    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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:Leicestershire County Council                                                        Online Strategy

A2             List of Websites and Applications
    8.1.15 Maintained List of Known Council Websites
    See document: lcc_websites.xls (County Council Internal Document)
    8.1.16 Maintained List of Know Council Website applications
    See document: websites_applications_list.xls (County Council Internal Document)

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                         Online Strategy

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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:Leicestershire County Council                                      Online Strategy

A4             References / Links
    8.1.17 IA Task Failures Remain Costly
    See document:
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.shtml
    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
    See document: the-cut-and-pas.html

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:Leicestershire County Council                                                                     Online Strategy

A5             Document Control
A5.1 Control Details
         Document                \\Lccfp2\CEXDATA\Information Provision\ict - information mgt - change
         Location:               management\change management\Online Strategy - Draft.doc
         Production              Microsoft Word 2003
         Author:                 Matthew Dodd, Corporate 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        N
         0.2         Additions and Corrections        Liz Clark        May        N
         0.3         Additions and corrections        Matthew Dodd     May        Y
                     following IGG                                     2009
         0.4         Additions following              Matthew Dodd     June
                     distribution                                      2009
         1.0         Final changes for IGG            Matthew Dodd     June       Y               Y
         1.1         One change following IGG         Matthew Dodd     July                       Y
                     approval                                          2009

A5.3 Document Distribution
         Issue        Recipients                                                            Date of distribution
         0.3          Liz Clark; Gayle Wells; Andy Robinson; Sandy McMillan; Nigel          29th May 2009
                      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
         1.0          Liz Clark; Gayle Wells; Andy Robinson; Sandy McMillan; Nigel          July 2009
                      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

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Description: Corporate Website Online Strategy document sample