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The Comhairle nan Eilean Siar local government website has dropped three places in the official UK chart – but it's still in the Top Ten and is the only Scottish council in the top tier. Falkirk is the next highest placed at No 12.

The Comhairle has come in at No 7 in the 2020 Q2 UK Local Government INDEX with a score of 8.8/10, dropping from 4th and 9/10 in the February chart.

At the bottom of the list, in 413th place, is the States of Guernsey website with a score of 1.7.

The INDEX has been published quarterly since 2006 and ranks the websites of more than 400 UK local government authorities, based on User Experience, Search Engine Optimisation and Governance, Risk and Compliance.

Top ten local government websites

  1. Richmondshire District Council
  2. Harrogate Borough Council
  3. Blaby District Council
  4. Bassetlaw District Council
  5. Wigan Council
  6. Chesterfield Borough Council
  7. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
  8. North Devon Council
  9. Bracknell Forest Council
  10. Somerset West and Taunton Council

Sitemorse's Q2 2020 INDEX was compiled following over 290 million tests, checks and measures across nearly 900,000 URLs.

Overall, 62 local authorities improved the accessibility of their website, whilst 50 have seen it decline and 282 have made no progress.

"Congratulations to Richmondshire District Council for taking first place and to Chesterfield Borough Council for rising 393 places up the table – the biggest improvement for three years!" say the survey organisers.

Harrogate Borough Council was the only authority to have passed the WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA tests on 100% of their web pages. Indeed, there were three local authorities that failed the level A and AA tests on every page.

European Union Directive 2016/2102/EU, creating a set of standards for EU public sector bodies, using European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04) was approved on October 26, 2016. It came into force for in the UK on 23 September 2018. The aim of the regulations is to ensure public sector websites and mobile apps can be used by as many people as possible.

This includes those with:

  • impaired vision
  • motor difficulties
  • cognitive impairments or learning disabilities
  • deafness or impaired hearing

New public sector websites have needed to be complaint since 22 September this year.  All other public sector websites need to be compliant by 22 September 2020.

If we focus on accessibility, Harrogate Borough Council should be congratulated for taking the lead in this sector top scoring a perfect 10 (out of 10). Summarising accessibility scores we see that:

  • 50% of local authorities scored 5 or 6 (out of 10) for accessibility
  • 20% of local authorities scored between 1 and 4 (out of 10) for accessibility
  • 12% of local authorities scored zero for accessibility

Full info here: