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Published: 2013-05-09 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council’s web team has won the country’s top local government website award.

The Supreme Website award – handed out at the Association of Local Government Information Management’s (ALGIM) Online Services Symposium in Wellington this week – reflects the council’s strong customer focus, said Waikato Regional Council communications manager Karen Bennett. 

“The award is based on the results of ALGIM’s annual audit of 78 council websites in New Zealand,” said Ms Bennett. 

“It takes into account how well a site meets New Zealand Government web standards, how quickly enquiries from the web are answered and how accessible the website is for someone who is visually impaired. The web standards look at the quality of the content, design and technical issues. 

“So the kudos for our in-house web team is well-deserved. 

“We’re proud of our website and we’re delighted the team has been recognised for building an excellent local government website that looks good and makes it easy for people to find information and use online services,” Ms Bennett said. 

“More than 1.7 million pages have been viewed by people in New Zealand and from around the world in the past 12 months showing that council information and services are being accessed from anyplace, at anytime.” 

Aside from the home page, people are most interested in situations vacant, river levels and rainfall, and fresh water quality. 

Before going live with its revamped www.waikatoregion.govt.nz website, the council sought feedback from a cross-section of the community, including farmers and bus users. 

“We have a wide range of information and community engagement opportunities on our website covering environmental and social sciences, the economy and major policy issues.  So feedback from users was essential in the development of the website to help make it as accessible as possible,” she said. 

The waikatoregion.govt.nz website actively engages with audiences using subscription based email notifications of updates and e-newsletters.