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64% of UK council websites are too slow

Almost two thirds of UK councils are failing when it comes to website performance with one London Borough Council site taking an average of 30 seconds to open.

A new study released by netEvidence found that 64 per cent of council websites failed its benchmark performance test that challenged sites to open within half a second.

“Websites provide a vital part of the services that councils deliver to residents and local businesses. If they can deliver a fast and efficient service via the web, councils can minimise enquiries to call centres and thus save considerable costs,” Richard Thomas, CEO of netEvidence, said. “What we found was that whilst some councils were achieving excellence, others were failing badly in comparison.”

Using its Highlight digital window service, the research firm gathered data on 227 councils during September and saw Sheffield Council come out on top with a response time of 0.04 seconds – more than 700 times quicker than one London Borough Council’s time of over 30 seconds.

Welsh County Councils were the best group when it came to performance with just eight of the 22 underperforming with English Unitary Councils performing worst with 40 out of 52 taking over half a second to load.

netEvidence explained the delays are caused by a plethora of reasons including issues with the network, server and design or a combination of all three. Even when improvements are rolled out, there is a little chance of them being visible to councillors though.

“Ultimately, the main issue remains that without visibility, senior council members have no way to judge if their services are underperforming. And, if and when new investments are made, they often have no way of telling if any improvements have been achieved,” Thomas added.

netEvidence added the speeds, which were recorded using its own high speed broadband, will be even slower for the everyday user and that some sites will present users with long wait times.

Image Credit: Flickr (NapaneeGal)