Do councils need a website at all?

Simon Wakeman poses a potentially controversial question on his blog:

One idea that’s been playing on my mind for the past few days is whether a council needs a website at all.

Initially this might seem like complete heresy. Surely a public sector body providing services to local residents needs a website to help them communicate and provide online services to their residents?

But do they need a website in the sense that we might see a traditional “destination” website – a place where people go to find out information and do council stuff online?

One of the things that is making me challenge some assumptions is the increasing focus on place in local public services. For the uninitiated this means that there’s much less focus on the organisation providing particular local services (eg council, police, primary care trust…) and more on the organisations working together to provide services in a coherent way that suits residents and businesses, not service providers.

So why a council website alongside a police website alongside a primary care trust website?

He goes on to make some further really interesting points. Well worth a read.

I’m also thinking I need to add Simon to the Public Sector Bloggers list…

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3 Responses to Do councils need a website at all?

  1. Yes – everyone needs a website. Everyone. At the very least I need a council website for when I’m off to visit them to find out where they are! But I like the idea of an area portal for public services, what’s on, and so on…

  2. MJ Ray says:

    The council needs a website for the stuff it publishes, or at least to gather together information about itself. The better questions are whether they should be more about gathering information together, distributing it and less obsessive about hosting it themselves and only linking internally.

  3. Paulie says:


    I’ve just seen this. I’m glad someone else is saying it – a few years ago, i gave a talk arguing that a third-party information provider would do a much better job of mapping an organisation for the public than the organisation itself would – here:

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