Work has started to improve search and navigation functions on the Epping Forest District Council website.
Digital Strategy working group
A working group has also been set up to improve the council’s wider digital communications including the design of online forms in response to public feedback in the digital strategy consultation held earlier this year.
More than 200 people responded to Epping Forest District Council’s digital strategy consultation in February and March. 183 residents and 15 councillors completed the survey. The council also organised four focus groups providing more depth and detail to the findings.
- Youth Council
- Tenants and Leaseholders
Top-line findings have been published ahead of a full survey report and analysis, due to go to councillors for consideration later in the year.
Digital strategy consultation
The consultation involving residents, councillors and other stakeholders was launched on 10 February to explore barriers to the implementation of the council’s digital strategy, in particular digital access to services – available online 24/7 for connected residents and visitors who use the internet every day.
The council says the research highlights issues with forms on the website, both as a design issue and as businesses processes to the back office. It also shows that despite high levels of digital connectivity, the website search facility can be a barrier to residents. However, many residents and councillors prefer direct voice and email communication with the Council regardless of other options. The research also shows some dissatisfaction with phone and email response times.
Improvements to be made
More than a million visitors come to the website each year and the vast majority complete successful transactions or find the information they want, but there is always room for improvement.
Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Customer Services Sam Kane said:
I would like to thank everyone who took part in the research including those who also offered to participate in future developments. We are putting the information to good use and already responding to the findings. Improvements are being made behind the scenes and I hope customers will start to see a difference soon. We won’t see big improvements overnight. It will be a series of incremental changes such as the improvements to our search facility and improvements to our website structure. These will build our digital customer services over time.
Councillor Kane added:
However, one of the biggest lesson is that you can’t just rely on technology to provide good customer services. Our residents expect personal access and we are committed to improving face to face, phone and one to one email contact too.
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