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Councils should share services to improve websites, says Socitm

Councils seeking to improve their websites should move to shared services to update their websites with other public providers, according to a report from the body for public sector IT professionals.

Councils seeking to improve their websites should move to shared services to update their websites with other public...

providers, according to a report from the body for public sector IT professionals.

Self-service and shared services are recognised as a means of cutting local government costs, but few councils are putting the two approaches together to improve council websites, according to Socitm's Better Connected 2011 report.

The website is a critical corporate asset, says Martin Greenwood, programme manager at Socitm. "It needs to perform effectively if channel shift potential is to be reached. Sharing content, applications and resources, whether locally, regionally or nationally, is a strategy that will deliver the change that is necessary at the speed that is now required," Martin Greenwood said.

Syndicated content from three government websites - Directgov, Businesslink and NHS Choices - could also improve local website content at a time when local resources are scarce, Greenwood added.

Carlisle City and Allerdale Borough Council are two separate councils sharing web resources as part of a wider shared ICT service. The two websites use the same CMS, templates and e-forms, although the branding of the two sites is quite different. There is no reason why this approach might not be implemented elsewhere, said Soctim.

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