The Panel received an annual update from the Communications Manager, Assistant Director and ICT Web Manager (copy attached).
Officers present responded to questions and comments from the Panel, a summary of which is set out below.
In response to a question on Sail the Wash, the ICT Web Manager explained that the Sail the Wash website contained three areas:
· Marketing/promotion to encourage visitors to come and sail the wash.
· Economic aspect – to enable visitors to stay and boost the local economy.
· Specific technical pilot information including mapping.
Following questions on the number of visits to the website and how these were priorities, the ICT Web Manager explained that the number of visits were monitored and the items on the front page of the website could be re-ordered if required.
In response to a question on how payments could be made when the website was unable, the ICT Web Manager explained that other payment methods were available and a message had been published on the front page of the website.
Following a question on the Council’s Facebook account only to publicise events and not for news items, electoral registration purposes, the Communications Manager advised that the Council did use Facebook and social medial for a number of items and gave examples of news releases and consultation exercise, not just events and undertook to check this was correct and that notifications were received by those who signed up to receive alerts.
In response to a question regarding the web chat facility, the Assistant Director Central and Community Services confirmed that the customer was given the opportunity to be provided with a transcript of the conversation. It was noted that the Borough Council retained a copy which could be attached to the customer’s records.
Following a question on the number of internal and external visitors to the website, the ICT Web Manager explained outlined an internal and external visit and added that the IP address was recorded.
In response to questions on the importance of maintaining face to face and telephone contact with customers when required, the Assistant Director, Central and Community Services explained that it was important to be able to use technology in the correct way but also to maintain the face to face contact with customers and provide a telephone facility.
Following questions on a pre-Council briefing when a mapping tool for maps was demonstrated, the ICT Web Manager explained that the council was complaint with usage limits and that the mapping system was a extract from the council’s GIS system which had a licensing agreement.
It was noted that reporting a fly tipping incident on line was now live and news releases had been issued and copied to parish councils. However, the Communications Manager undertook to liaise with the Assistant Customer Information Manager to provide further communications to parish councils in 2020.
The Communications Manager advised that the Borough Council worked with other partner agencies if it was necessary to target a specific audience.
The importance of communicating with the older population who did not necessarily access services digitally was highlighted. The Assistant Director, Central and Community Services explained that customers who were not able to access services digitally would be offered an alternative or efforts would be made to encourage customers to use digital services. The ICT Web Manager added that one of the council’s corporate priorities was channel shift which was the most appropriate channel for customers to access which was not necessarily via the website.
The Leader commented that the annual update highlighted the important work being undertaken within Communications, Customer Information Centre and the Web Team and added that credit be given to staff undertaking this work, specifically recognising the high external scores for the website and the excellent feedback received from customers.
The Chair thanked the officers for attending and providing an annual update.
RESOLVED: The Panel noted the annual communications update and confirmed they wished to receive a further update in 2020.