Local Council Launches New Website

The Council selected Colin Harris Website Development to create a new website after the previous site expired. The website development company was already known to the Council, being based in Amble, and having produced several high-quality websites for local organisations recently. The Council required a site that was easy to use for users, to find information and download documents. Council staff also needed to ability to update the website to add news and upload council agendas in a simple-to-use framework.

The Town Council site is split into sections. Each section is dedicated to an area of Council responsibility from meetings, agendas, news and documentation. This enables the people of Amble to have up-to-date access to the latest information from the council and to access commonly requested forms such as application forms and reports. All councillors and staff have their own @amble.gov.uk email address which they can use for Council business.

Having a presence on the Internet is vital for all organisations in the modern climate technology is being used more to enhance and replace activities traditionally undertaken manually. For example the site has enabled the Council to be more efficient in dealing with council enquiries. Instead of printing off and mailing documents and forms, users can access these via the web and fill them in on their own machines. This not only frees up time for the Council staff but also saves costs and the environmental impact of printing forms.

Elaine Brown, Town Clerk, stated the ambitions for the website. "The Town Council wanted a website to allow us to communicate more effectively with the public. Whilst we have in the past had our newsletter, the creation of the website allows us to engage more with the wider community. The benefits of the website are that agendas, minutes and other documents are far more easily accessible, communication can now be instant and it is extremely user friendly. This evidence of improved engagement and efficiencies can only aid us in our efforts to achieve Quality Council status."

Ian Hinson, Amble Town Councillor, talked about the project and the future for the site. "The Town Council choose Colin Harris Website Development because it was local which, we thought, would make modification and development easier. In retrospect it proved an unnecessary precaution as we were given access during development and the changes we requested were promptly implemented. The next phase is down to the Council - to make the contents informative and easy to read; to persuade the people of Amble that they could be missing something if they don't log on! Then, perhaps, sound and video; who knows."

By: Web Northumberland