New-look website praised by Warwickshire councillors despite words of warning

A revamped Warwickshire County Council website has been praised by councillors but they also warned that there were some residents who still needed to access information over the phone.

A report to this week’s [WED] resources overview and scrutiny committee at Shire Hall highlighted how a redesign of the site following feedback from 1,200 customers had resulted in an increase in visitor numbers.

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Content was removed if it was out of date, did not directly meet a customer demand or duplicated content on other websites. It was also re-written to make it easier to understand.

The report added that the content was now written by a central team with expertise in designing online services.

Councillors praised the new-look site but also had a few words of warning.

Cllr Peter Gilbert (Con Bedworth West) explained: “I like the new website, the design is great. However, we believe we live in a completely computer literate age - and we will probably in the next 20 years - but there are people who aren’t.

“We talk a lot about vulnerability in various committees and I think this is one area where we could have a shortfall because often the most vulnerable people trying to access services aren’t computer literate or don’t have credit on their phones to access things. Sometimes it is those people we can miss.

“And I think access to a telephone number is still important for people in the community. It is still an important part at least for the time being.”

Cllr Sarah Boad (Lib Dem Leamington North) added: “Some people want to speak to a human being but it is very hard to find a phone number of the name of a person. Having clear lines of accountability is really, really important.”