Winchester residents are online!

Over the past year the number of people using Winchester City Council’s online services has almost quadrupled - and with new figures showing that 72% of people in the district now have broadband it’s expected the figures will continue to rise.

The City Council’s website receives up to 5,000 visits a day, and has just undergone a facelift that will make it easier for residents to find what they want and to get in touch about the things that matter to them.

A new ‘Do it online’ section allows people to report problems such as graffiti or abandoned vehicles, apply for things like licences or benefits, or pay for their council tax or parking permits – all in a one-stop-shop.

In the past year online payments and applications increased dramatically with almost 20,000 forms submitted in 07/08, and that’s not including online planning applications which have also increased threefold in the past year.

Council Leader George Beckett said: “Encouraging more people online is beneficial in two ways - not only can residents access services and information at a time convenient to them – but they are also helping the Council make savings.

“The improvements that have been made focus on making the council more efficient and allowing visitors to get the most out of our online services.”

On average - once overheads are taken into account - an enquiry made by phone or in person costs the council £2.20 to resolve. This compares to an online enquiry which costs an average of 0.01p.

Another addition to the Council website is increased interactivity with users. We now have regularly changing polls on the homepage and RSS feeds are available for news, events and committees. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and lets you have the latest news and web content delivered straight to you. Three thousand people already keep in touch by receiving one or more of our e-newsletters.

Over the coming months further improvements will be made to the website, including a new way to search for planning applications.

Top of the polls?

Ofcom recently named Sunderland as the best connected city in the UK - but according to a survey by Winchester City Council our residents are the most computer savvy.

Of more than 1,000 residents who responded to the latest annual Citizens’ Panel between March and April, 85.9% said they have a PC at home, and of those 83.3% are connected to the web via broadband.

That means 72.1% of people are surfing the web at high speeds in our district compared to the 66% quoted for Sunderland.

Read the Ofcom article