Calderdale residents are showing their love for all things digital, as the use of the Council’s online payment service has rocketed.
In the last five years, the use of the Council website for paying council tax, business rates, parking charges and other online payment options has increased by almost £2million.
Over £5million was paid on the Council’s website last year, with customers increasingly going online to make payments rather than using more traditional methods.
Improvements to www.calderdale.gov.uk has been a big factor in this success, with an independent review from the Society of Information Technology Management (SOCITM), awarding the website four stars which is their top mark. This puts Calderdale Council in the top 50 local authority websites in the UK for usability, accessibility and mobile access.
Plus, with the Council’s Live Chat online messenger service now available 24 hours a day, it’s never been easier to do things online.
These successes feature as part of the Council’s Annual Review report, which details the Council’s performance in key areas over the last 12 months.
The report, which was presented to the Council’s Cabinet last week, shows that overall the Council has had a successful year, with significant progress being made in a number of priority areas.
25 service areas have been highlighted as having the most direct impact on residents and over the last year 67% of these areas had improved performance.
One of these areas and a highlight of the report is the reduction in number of children who are looked after by Calderdale Council. This number has continued to reduce year on year, and fell from 326 in the first quarter of the year to 298 by the end of March 2016.
A number of factors have contributed to this reduction, but a lot of hard work has been done to support children and families in greatest need, with early intervention aiming to reduce the number of children who enter the care system. This year has also seen a high number of children being adopted, with 33 children who were previously looked after by the Council being placed in permanent homes.
The Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift, said:
“It’s great that so many people are getting involved with our ‘Don’t wait in line, do it online’ campaign, and using the website facilities to make payments online.
“This is just one of the successes of 2015/16 for the Council. Despite a number of serious challenges such as the flooding and the challenging savings required, more than half of our ‘key services’ have made improvements to their performance over the year.
“Of course there are areas where we would like to improve further, and by identifying these, we can look at ways we can adapt services to improve performance in the future.”