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Last month, SilverStripe spoke about what we consider to be the future trends and features of council (local government authority) websites. We also asked council staff what they wanted to add to their websites. You can watch our presentation and read council views below.

All of this took place at an annual conference of council web managers and developers. The same conference also featured a panel discussion on content management systems, and the new website we produced for the council of Gisborne won an award.

What we think

What councils think

During the conference, we asked council staff what they thought should be added to their sites. Staff supplied the information on paper cards, which we have collated, summarised, and grouped below.

  • Embedded Facebook applications
    •    LTCCP submissions (Long Term Community-Council Plan)
    •    museum exhibitions
    •    library events
  • Ability for ratepayers to log in to their website and retrieve information
    •    access to their rates balance
    •    track building consents
    •    property information (with links to maps and consent information)
    •    licenses (e.g. dog permits)
  • Applications
    •    as above (rates, building consents, property, licenses, etc)
    •    job applications
  • Real-time information
    •    traffic and pedestrian webcams
    •    real-time rainfall data and river level information
    •    local weather
  • Consultation and information exchange
    •    online consultation (local democratic work)
    •    online newsletters
    •    obtain LTCCP feedback and submissions
  • Database publishing
    •    search on rates information
    •    cemetery records for genealogical research

Overlap?

In general, we're happy to see that both our presentation and the list above are in general agreement. However, when implementing any website feature, it’s important to put the user’s needs first. Council websites have long had features on their websites for users, but they are often undermined by very poor usability. SilverStripe would like to see this substantially improve and we look forward to helping New Zealand councils make this happen.