Leeds City Council faces £1.8m website revamp bill

Plans have been unveiled to spend more than £1.8m replacing Leeds City Council's website which has been branded "not fit for purpose."

A recent study ranked the site – www.leeds.gov.uk – rock bottom out of 36 metropolitan council websites based on the number of visits.

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It is also estimated that when people access the website they

frequently – one in every three visits – fail to find the information they want.

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A council report acknowledges that because the site is cumbersome many people do not use it and opt for the telephone, costing 3.21 per contact compared to just 39p for the web. The council receives about 2.5m calls a year.

The report adds: "The content management system that supports www.leeds.gov.uk is no longer fit for purpose. It was developed in-house more than 10 years ago, with an expected lifespan of three years, and is unstable and costly to maintain.

"The council cannot publish information in real time which means we cannot react to emergencies or immediate changes to service information. Additionally the website is completely unavailable for 20 minutes each day to enable site content to be updated."

The report forecasts efficiency savings of 4.29m over five years.

It says that "e-service delivery" and moving high volume transactions from face-to-face or telephone to the internet would produce significant savings.

The council's intranet, its internal online information service, will also be updated as part of the project.

Senior councillors on the Executive Board will discuss the report next week and are being recommended to approve the spending.

If they agree, design work on the site will start early next year.