Socitm's Better Connected Live

The Better Connected research programme provides an annual assessment of local authorities’ online performance, covering websites, individual digital services, customer portals, online directories and social media.

Better Connected Live is for anyone who manages council web/digital activity including developers, editors, and customer services, communications and IT managers.

Details of the performance of the UK’s 416 local council websites in Better Connected 2016-17 are free-to-view online.


28 June, Day 1:

3.30 - 4.30 pm

Better Connected 2017-18 overall results: main findings from Better Connected 2017-18, proposals for 2018 , Q&A on the programme in 2017-18. Curtain raiser for the BC Awards. 
Vicky Sargent, Director, Boilerhouse & Better Connected Programme


29 June, Day 2:

9.00 - 11.00

Connected Local Service workshop - waste & recycling: this workshop focuses on developing digital services for waste management (covering eg domestic waste collection, council tips etc) and includes commentary on findings from the Better Connected waste management survey as well as a case study from a high perfoming council. Use this link for further details of content and speakers.

1100 - 1200

Connected Local Service workshop - social care: this workshop focuses on presentation of social care services online, and includes a case study from one council that has significantly changed its approach since the early days of the Care Act. There will be commentary on findings from the two 2016-17 Better Connected social care surveys covering assessment of social care needs and presentation of information and advice about care services and provision. Use this link for further details of content and speakers.


1230 - 1700 Better Connected Live Main Programme

The session will be chaired by Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy and Reseach at Socitm

1230 Welcome and introduction

1235 Feedback on council website performance based on Better Connected surveys

Members of the Better Connected team will share headline results as well as good and poor practice from the surveys in three key areas: presentation of services online - content, design and customer journeys; the mobile experience; and the performance of search, naviagiton and A-Z.

Vicky Sargent, Director of the Better Connected programme and Rebecca Buckingham, James Coltham, Helen Williams, Better Connected Reviewers

1345 Ensuring your website is accessible to people with disabilities

Council websites are becoming more accessible to people with disabilites, but there is still much misunderstanding about the things that make website content not just difficult to access, but impossible. The session will focus on these issues, how we test and report them in Better Connected, and why automated testing may not pick them up.
Gavin Evans, Director of Operations,, Digital Accessibility Centre
1415 Trends in website design: the good the bad and the ugly
Digital services company Jumoo track significant changes in individual local authority website designs. Better Connected links to this data, so that each council landing page shows when a site has been most recently redesigned and links to 'before' and 'after' images. Icons, carousels, links and menus - what's 'in' and what's 'out'.
Kevin Jump, director, founder and employee number one at Jumoo
1445 BREAK
1500 #VerifyLocal products and plans
Jyoti Basuita and Sam Culley, Government Digital Service
1530 How safe is your website?
The recent data breaches and associated fines received by Gloucester City Council have put the spotlight on vulnerabilities associated with SSL certificates. The session will report on findings of 'all council' scanning that is identifing similar vulnerabilities elsewhere. What are these, is your site risking users' personal data and what can you do to fix this?
Bruce Thompson, 1UglyCrazyRobot
1600 Managing the handoff between GOV.UK and local authority websites
Every day, large volumes of visitors are handed off from GOV.UK to local authority websites, raising issues of management (broken links), content consistency, and efficiency. We asked GDS to provide some thoughts and updates around these issues.

Simon Hughesdon, Senior Developer, Government Digital Service

1630 Better Connected in 2017-18

An update on anticipated developments in the coming year, inculding an update on paid-for re-reviews. Plus your opportunity to feed in ideas and suggestions.

Discussion led by Vicky Sargent

1645 Close


Running parallel to the formal sessions, we are also be offering the opportunity for informal briefings with Better Connected partners and collaborators

0900 - 1030

Security briefing: discuss common security issues and how to ensure against vulnerabilities. Session pitched primarily at web managers without coding skills
Bruce Thompson, 1UglyCrazyRobot

1030 - 1330

Accessibility workshop/briefing: demonstration of common issues, how to recognise them and what to do. Session pitched primarily at web managers without coding skills
Gavin Evans, Digital Accessibility Centre
1330 - 1600
Meet the Better Connected reviewer: members of our review team will be available to discuss general or spcific issues arising from the survey on a one-on-one basis.
Alternative workshop option from 1330 - 1630
Connected Local Service workshop - data & insight: this is for anyone interested in the role and use of data (including open data) in the transformation of local public services. The workshop has been developed in conjunction with the Local Area Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA). Use this link for further details of content and speakers.

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