We regularly receive freedom of information requests about the Warwickshire website and other online systems. Responses to common questions are provided below. If you wish to make a Freedom of Information request about any aspect of the council’s business or services, please use the contact details provided on the Freedom of Information page.
Why do you have a website?
The Warwickshire website was created in response to the national Implementing eGovernment (IEG) programme which ended in 2006. Warwickshire County Council achieved one of the highest levels of online service provision against the IEG targets in the country. Uptake of online services continues to rise (see Question 2 below for usage figures) so websites have become a vital part of information and service delivery for national and local government.
The council’s main Warwickshire website offers very high value for money. For example, taking the total number of unique visitors for 2008/09 and the total budget spent on support and maintenance, the Warwickshire website cost just 5p a year for each unique visitor to the website. Given the range of services and information provided via the website, we believe that the website is highly cost effective.
What is the level of usage of the Warwickshire website?
The Warwickshire website is highly popular. Figures are provided below, but the Warwickshire website is the second highest used county council website by residents according to national research carried out by the Society of IT Management (Socitm).
Please note that we do not tend to provide statistics of webpage ‘hits’ alone because these are not a reasonable indication of actual usage. Statistics are provided below for numbers of visits (how many times a groups of pages have been visited in a session), page views (how many times in total all of our webpages have been accessed) and unique visitors (how many unique IP addresses have accessed our website at least once). Our statistics do not include data from council networks (for example visits by staff) and from automated systems such as search engine ‘bots.
Annual figures using WebTrends
April 2007 to March 2008
Visits – 8,000,827
Page views – 80,012,516
Unique visitors – 2,744,563
April 2008 to March 2009
Visits – 6,793,102
Page views – 88,143,972
Unique visitors – 3,001,722
January 2009 to December 2009
Visits – 6,750,690
Page views – 103,533,579
Unique visitors – 3,137,278
Annual figures using Google Analytics
January 2010 to December 2010
Visits – 4,278,620
Page views – 16,245,455
Unique visitors – 1,834,240
January 2011 to December 2011
Visits – 3,440,677
Page views – 9,514,869
Unique visitors – 1,701,257
What domains are owned or used by Warwickshire County Council?
The following domains are registered to or used by (for example, registered through a third party on behalf of the council) Warwickshire County Council. The council is in the process of reducing the number of different websites it maintains in order to improve clarity for customers and efficiency so some domains may be discontinued or may redirect users to information on the main Warwickshire website.
What content management systems does the council use?
The Warwickshire website uses Lotus Notes for content management. This system is primarily supported by in-house expertise and resources. Other content management systems are in use for some of the websites listed above.
How many redesigns has the Warwickshire website gone through in the past 10 years?
The Warwickshire website has had 2 major redesigns (including it’s original design) and 1 more recent minor redesign of the homepage.
All redesigns have been implemented by in-house teams. For the second redesign in 2005, Green Cathedral Plc was commissioned to develop the new look and feel and to provide content structure expertise.
The minor redesign affecting the homepage was carried out in 2009 using in-house teams. CSS coding for this page was produced by NBA Creative.
A redesign of the main Warwickshire website is currently taking place. All work, including design, content creation and technological developments, was performed internally. Only existing and freely available systems (eg Flickr, Google Analytics, and YouTube) were used, with the exception of optimalworkshop.com, which cost $299 (approx £180).
How much is spent on running the Warwickshire website?
The response to this question also covers similar common requests such as:
- What is the budget for running the council’s website?
- How much is spent with external suppliers relating to the council’s website?
- What procedures are used for awarding contracts to external suppliers?
For financial years 2007/09, 2008/09 and 2009/10, spending on essential maintenance and support for the Warwickshire website has remained consistent at around £80,000 per year. This consists of approximately £60,000 spent with external suppliers for licensing and support of specialist third party systems (including but not limited to search functionality and online transactional forms systems) and approximately £20,000 on in-house technical support and maintenance costs.
Specific costs for services provided by third parties cannot be provided. The County Council believes that this information is commercially sensitive under Section 43 of the Act and its disclosure would prejudice the Council’s commercial interests. After due consideration the Council considers that the public interest test in withholding this outweighs the public interest in disclosing this information. However, a breakdown of essential support and maintenance costs by each broad function supported can be provided on request.
Contract tendering and awards are carried out in line with the council’s published procurement standards.
What is the size, structure and salary cost for the central website team?
The Warwickshire website and other corporate systems such as the intranet are managed and supported by the E Services Team, a core team currently consisting of the E Services Team Leader and 3 support officers. The total salaries cost for this core team is approximately £90,000 per year. We cannot provide salary scales information for individual posts in this team. The County Council believes that disclosure of this information would breach one of the data protection principals under Section 40(2) of the Act. The Council considers that the public interest test in withholding this outweighs the public interest in disclosing this information. Due to the small team involved it is possible that an individual’s salary could be identifiable.
The team sits within the Customer Service Business Unit of the Resources Group. This means that the team works closely with other customer services channels (telephone and face to face) to develop joined up online information and services. Technical support and development is carried out by specialist teams in the Information Assets Business Unit of the Resources Group. Costs for this are included in the figures given above.
Content for the Warwickshire website is created and updated by content authors across the council. There are currently approximately 800 members of staff who have received training and are able to create and update content.
Content standards for the Warwickshire website are available online.
|Year||Position within organisation||Team leadership role||Number of website support posts||Number of departmental editors|
|Corporate Webmaster||1||Approx 600|
Performance and Development
|Corporate Webmaster||2||Approx 650|
Performance and Development
|E Communications Manager||2||Approx 700|
|2009/10||Customer Service and Communications,|
Customer, Workforce and Governance
|E Communications Manager||1||Approx 750|
|2010/11||Customer Service and Communications,|
Customer, Workforce and Governance
|E Services Team Leader||1||Approx 800|
What is the technical architecture of the systems, servers and programming languages used to deliver the council’s websites?
The County Council believes that detailed information about systems and server architecture is commercially sensitive under Section 43 of the Act and its disclosure would prejudice the Council’s commercial interests. After due consideration the Council considers that the public interest test in withholding this outweighs the public interest in disclosing this information. Disclosing this information could result in possibly security risks and in turn the County Council incurring excessive costs.