Angus Council praised in latest SOCITM Better Connected survey on bulky waste collections

Written by Rebecca Hill and Jenni Davidson on 14 February 2017 in News

Only 40 per cent of UK council websites were found to be satisfactory in the latest SOCITM Better Connected survey

SOCITM Better Connected website - Image credit: SOCITM

Angus Council has been singled out for praise in the latest SOCITM Better Connected survey, looking at how user-friendly council websites are for bulky waste collection.

According to results from the latest SOCITM Better Connected survey, only 40 per cent of council websites provide a good online service for people to arrange the collection of bulky waste.

The survey, which is part of a wider annual assessment carried out by the association of public sector IT professionals, looked at the mobile websites of 356 councils across the UK.


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It found a range of issues with bulky waste collection services, with just 40 per cent of councils found to provide a good or very good service.

This figure is caused in part by the fact that 16 per cent of the sample did not have websites set up for mobile use, which means the test could not be carried out at all.

Angus Council was one of ten councils, and the only Scottish local authority, to be specifically recommended for good content.

The review said of Angus’s website: “This is excellent. Lots of solid information. The form tells me there are six pages which I like.”

The survey found there was a lack of clarity in many websites on a number of crucial questions, including which items and how many could be collected during a single booking and how far in advance the booking needed to be made – the latter of which was passed by just 25.8 per cent of the councils.

One of the essential questions – which councils have to pass if they are to meet the standard set for the task – was that it was clear if a mattress could be collected, which was only passed by 55.5 per cent of the councils.

SOCITM also branded some councils’ charging arrangements “nonsensical” and over-complicated, with terms that it said residents could not understand or estimate.

Examples of this included in the report were charging by “half or full lorry load”, by how easily it could be lifted by two men or by time slots of 15 minutes.

“It is hard to imagine these sorts of narratives surviving even the most basic user testing,” the review said.

The survey also found that a number of councils had outsourced the collection of bulky waste to charities or businesses that collect things for free if they can be recycled.

This, SOCITM said, was an “excellent move”, but noted that many of these services “are really deficient” at providing information online, “let alone online booking and fulfilment”.

It called on councils to make digital services part of the outsourcing agreement and require that their partner matches best practice in online service provision.

The report recommended good practice, such as providing all information on the web pages rather than embedded in forms or terms and conditions, information about alternatives clearly visible and precision about which items would be collected.

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