As a result of Really Useful Days….

A few months after each Really Useful Day, we ask participants if they’ve made any changes as a result of attending the day.

The responses show that Really Useful Days do seem to make a practical difference, and inspire people to go back to their council and change things for the better.

Here are a few of the changes councils have told us about:-

Suffolk County Council

Suffolk County Council was able to improve user journeys, as well as the tagging of their website.

“Since attending the Really Useful Day (Improving user journeys) in Oxford, I have used the techniques and resources from the day to work with voluntary sector partner organisations to improve the information and tagging on our websites and the pathways for users.

We have found the tips and online documents very practical and useful and it has saved us a lot of work.”

Kate Turner, Adult and Community Services Information Team

Buckinghamshire County Council

Buckinghamshire County Council has been able to improve digital inclusion for residents.

“Since the RU Day, I have set up a Digital Inclusion Working Group, presented to them some of the excellent content from the day. I relayed stories of the hectic webpages we reviewed in support of the argument that a simple and easy-to-use webpage is fundamental in reaching our excluded.

This working group now tracks progress on all current activity carried out by our organisation. Projects include:

  • working with housing associations to upskill residents
  • promoting Learn My Way Courses in libraries
  • holding in-house digital surgeries to improve inclusion amongst staff
  • working alongside specialist and sheltered accommodation to review their wifi needs
  • connecting all libraries to wifi and upgrading their software and accessibility hardware

And loads more!”

Georgina Hartgroves, Business Analyst – Transformation Programme Team

Milton Keynes Council

Milton Keynes Council has been able to improve its use of social media.

“Since the Really Useful Day on social media for councils:

  • We have dedicated more time and resource to Twitter and planning using Hootsuite. We have increased our Twitter output by 500% and have started to be more robust in using it to dispel rumours or misinformation.
  • We used a more digital approach for our budget consultation through the creation of an animated video which will go viral tomorrow. We will be looking for a significant increase in feedback as we push it using Twitter and YouTube.
  • We are having a review of Facebook with a view to relaunching in the new year.

It was a really useful day for us to give us the push to get going and try some new ways of working.”

Gerry McIlwaine, Head of Communications

West Berkshire Council

West Berkshire Council has been able to improve its website usability.

“I found the event to be really interesting (and useful!) and probably for the first time I have really looked at my section of webpages on our website from a ‘user’ perspective.

The day helped me to understand what people really want to do when they access a website, the journey they take to get information and the frustrations from too much information etc. It will really help me with redeveloping my webpages.”

Lisa Vine, Waste Officer

Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council has been able to make its website more user-friendly.

“In terms of changes we have made as a result of the day:

  • Our homepage now has ‘straight to’ links based on our most commonly visited pages. Previously this space was filled by the promotional slide show and information on our Councillors.
  • We have set up small groups of staff to review content in two key services (waste and council tax) to streamline the content.
  • I’ve made improvements to the customer journey I brought as an example – adding plain English rather than service-specific search terms.

The day gave some impetus to just get going!”

Helen Adams, Project Manager – Customer & Process Programme

Warrington Borough Council

Warrington Borough Council has been able to improve its use of social media. 

“As a result of the day, we held a session to come up with a ‘hashtag strategy’ to use in emergency and seasonal situations. We agreed with our communications department that we will use these consistently to develop our presence online and keep these tags at the forefront of our customers’ minds.

Secondly, after listening to how others manage their social media, we decided to change our social media management tool. We now have a much clearer picture of what is happening within our area and have also been able to get more in-depth reporting which has benefited both the digital team and the communications team alike.

Finally we ran some paid social media advertising campaigns throughout December and January. We were looking at doing this before we attended the Really Useful Day but were unsure if the cost was justifiable – speaking with others at the day removed the doubt we had. This empowered us to run successful campaigns and create case studies to demonstrate to other parts of the council the potential reach and savings that can be made.”

Anthony Thompson, Digital Lead – Digital Services

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