March 29, 2010 -- For the second year running 3 Local Authorities using Astun Technology’s iShare data integration and publishing platform have featured in the top twenty sites in SOCITM’s ‘Better Connected’ survey. 2 sites out of only 11 had top 4 star ratings and six sites had 3 star ratings. The ‘Better Connected’ survey with a forward by Digital Inclusion Champion, Martha Lane Fox, is the 12th annual survey of all Local Authority websites. The 2010 survey uses a new star ranking system based on fifteen criteria in a framework that seeks to define those sites which are ‘useful, usable and used’.
Sites which use iShare location and map features came in for particular praise. Of Elmbridge Borough Council’s site the report concluded “There is an excellent postcode search which gives me tons of information for each house, ranging from the councillor, to the nearest school, the bin collection days and even the nearest planning applications. It is well laid out and well presented,” The report was even more enthusiastic about South Tyneside Council’s site describing its use of location as “Heavenly simple and user-friendly mapping system. There wasn’t a help section obvious but I didn’t need one. It is the most usable council website I have ever come across.”
The iShare platform enables Councils to pull information from their back office systems, transform it and publish it in a variety of ways. Externally iShare enables citizens to go to a council website and search for information relevant to where they live such as the nearest school or doctor’s surgery, the date of the next bin collection or the details of a nearby planning application. Citizens can even sign up to a rich email alert service triggered by things that happen in close proximity to where they live. The platform can also be used internally to integrate with CRM systems to log the precise location of incidents on maps or internally across the whole authority with a simple to use search and mapping tool.
“As a web based solution provider we are always interested to see how well our Local Authority customers are ranked in the ‘Better Connected’ survey which is highly respected,” said Mike Saunt, Managing Director of Astun Technology. Some of the comments about features of sites which iShare has enabled in the latest survey are very complimentary and I am delighted. “iShare is all about how we can help Councils to communicate and deliver their services more effectively. It joins up data from different service delivery systems and makes it available to all so that it can be put to good use, whether it’s locating an abandoned car on a map or publishing a council newsletter. Development has always been client led and we have been genuinely inspired by where they are taking us,” continued Saunt.
AGI Awards - Highly Commended - Innovation and Best Practice, Local Government - Surrey Heath Borough Council - ‘My Protected Trees’
Exemplar Awards - Winner - Best Business Process Transformation - South Tyneside Council
SOCITM - ‘Better Connected' survey 3 Local Authorities using Astun Technology’s iShare platform featured in the top twenty sites
South Tyneside Council - one of only eight sites ranked excellent
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead - praised for its ‘amazing mapping’
Surrey Heath Borough Council - praised for its linking and mapping
Exemplar Awards - Highly Commended
Best Integration of the NLPG and NSG - Monmouthshire County Council
Best Business Process Transformation - Exeter City Council
eGov Awards - Winner - Local e-government excellence - Take-up & usage growth - South Tyneside Council
SOCITM - ‘Better Connected Survey’ 3 Local Authorities using Astun Technology’s iShare platform featured in the top 20 sites
South Tyneside Council - featured in the top 11 - "It is the most usable council website I have ever come across"
Exeter City Council - featured in the top 11 - "Really good site"
Bath & North East Somerset Council - one of 12 very good sites, one criterion short of 4 stars