Published: Thursday, 9th March 2017

Harrogate Borough Council's website has been named as the best in the UK in the latest quarterly INDEX carried out by Sitemorse.

Sitemorse are experts in website indexes based on experience, optimisation and compliance.

The council's website was completely redesigned last year with the assistance of software developers, Jadu, to provide visitors with a better online experience by being more user-friendly, easier to navigate, and allowing customers to complete more tasks online.

Since its launch in June 2016, the website has risen 384 places in Sitemorse's Local Government INDEX, which evaluates functionality and accessibility and rates how websites are performing, based on experience, optimisation and compliance.

The website - which can be found at www.harrogate.gov.uk - features 'top tasks' buttons and easy to use icons for popular pages to help customers find the information they require more easily. Over 1,000 webpages were written to ensure they were more customer friendly.

Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "Our aim is always to help more people get the support and information they need as quickly as possible. Our old website did not do that. The council have launched a new site which has taken us from internet-zero to web-hero in under a year. More people now use the site to do more things at less cost to the taxpayer. Everyone is a winner including the council's online-team with this top ranking among local authority websites.

"Before building the website, we spent a great deal of time engaging with the public to understand what they wanted from a council website. We have listened to their thoughts and incorporated them into the design. That is why with our new website if you want a council service quickly, it takes just a couple of clicks.

"We have created a website which meets the needs of our customers; however, there is more we can do and we will continue to develop the site to provide customers with access to even more services and conduct more business online."

Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse, said: “It is a great achievement by Harrogate to achieve number 1 in the Sitemorse INDEX after only recently launching their new JADU website.

“It demonstrates that even a very small team, or single person, can deploy and manage a website that is compliant and performs exceptionally.”

photo of Sitemorse certificate presentation

Caption (left-right): Wallace Sampson, Chief Executive of Harrogate Borough Council; Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council; Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse; and Piers Morgan, Commercial Director at Jadu.

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Media contacts

For Harrogate Borough Council:

Giles Latham, Communications and Marketing Manager on 01423 556825 or email giles.latham@harrogate.gov.uk

Alison Lister, Communication Assistant on 01423 500600 (ext 58060) or email alison.lister@harrogate.gov.uk

For Sitemorse:

James Spice, Sitemorse, 48 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2NS Telephone: +44 7545 255 365 or email jspice@sitemorse.com