Whakatāne District Council has won the ALGIM Supreme Website Award, sponsored by ReadSpeaker, for the third year running at ALGIM’s 2017 Spring Web & Digital and Customer Experience Conference.

 The winning website is based on a web audit carried out by ALGIM each year to encourage development of the digital customer experience in local government. The audit looks at what self-service functions the website provides, accessibility features, how it complies with best practice for websites, and how quickly councils respond to enquiries through email and social media channels.

ALGIM CEO Mike Manson said, “Coming out on top of 78 councils is a tough ask, given the amount of work going into enhancing online services in local government. To do it three years in a row is an admirable result, and one that Whakatāne District Council should certainly be proud of.”

In announcing the news to staff, Council Chief Executive Marty Grenfell described the award as a “great achievement”.

“Given the significant investment most councils make in continually improving their online assets, for a small council like ours to be acknowledged as having the country’s best local government website, for the third consecutive time, is simply outstanding,” he said.

“That we have dominated the local government website rankings for three years running shows that we have continued to develop and enhance our website, with a primary focus on customer service and making more information available, more easily, for more people. Our usage numbers keep going up, our bounce rate – a measure of frustration-related disengagement – is extraordinarily low, and our accessibility for people using mobile devices is best practice. The April emergency event demonstrated graphically how important the last factor is, with website usage quadrupling and more than half of all visitors using mobile devices.”

The runner up in this category was Palmerston North City Council who have performed well in recent years, moving up one place from third in 2016.

The web audit also provided some interesting insights into the online services provided by councils. Rates can now be paid online at 80% of councils, dog rego renewals at 61%, and building consents at 44%.

The majority of councils now also see 25-50% of their traffic coming from mobile devices – meaning that mobile responsiveness is a crucial feature.

ALGIM serves the entirety of the New Zealand Local Government ICT sector, with all 78 Councils as members. The ALGIM Spring Conference Awards highlight the best and innovative digital and customer experience projects within our country’s local government sector.

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