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Page history last edited by Liz Garlinge 14 years, 6 months ago

A page for a general wish-list of features we would like as people and constituents to see from our council website. Like the people's council (which technically it should be shouldn't it?).


A useful starting point here: http://localgovweb.ideascale.com/akira/panel.do?id=5509



Department Sitemap ("who deals with this")

Sitemap within department

Intelligent search (i.e. "What are the opening times of the BMAG?")

Simple payment systems for council tax and other bills. — (most we can do is drop them in to latest point it in process? - JB)

Key staff lists for departments.

FOI section where requested info can be viewed and all financials are searchable.

Ratings on pages for info (i.e. Was this page useful). Low scoring pages can be rewritten. — (great on propper site but can/should others rewrite -JB)


Local Information:



Planning Applications

License Applications

Councillor details including contact, surgery and committees

Bulk Collections

Recycling Dates and which is which

Nearest Doctors, Chemist (+late night duty chemist), Leisure Centre etc (NHS Choices has a API that returns this info)

Neighbourhood offices

List of public consultations (by area?) current, future and past

Job Applications

Events listings (including what film and where)

Sports and leisure facilities

Local arts organisations & voluntary organisations

Local education services - preschool, primary, secondary, part time and full time adult services

Legal help - access to legal aid, immigration advice, Citizens Advice Bureaux etc

Information on the police in the community - eg who is my local bobby? what campaigns are going on in my area?

Local allotments

Recycling/waste facilities

Local cycle routes, parking restrictions, ongoing traffic problems

Information on local groups - eg ...in Bloom campaigns and local pressure/campaigning groups.  Place for groups to seek volunteers.

Religious institutions - eg where is my nearest mosque?

Local support groups - eg Alcoholics Anonymous


Information on birmingham for non local site users: 

Tourist info - including links to reputable review sites

Information for people setting up enterprises/organisations in birmingham - what support is available



What do I do if I...  Box


Put the Google Analytics visitor data on the site, pull in via  API http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/ 


Comments (14)

Daz said

at 12:33 pm on Sep 22, 2009

One of the most useful parts of the BCC site is the reports and decisions database. http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/democracy/Pages/Index.aspx It is essentially a completely different site to the main site but holds all of the details on meetings that held as well as the papers.

Unfortunately it is hidden on the BCC site and isn't very user friendly. If you find a paper, e.g. an agenda for a meeting you can't email a link to someone as the links aren't persistent.

If you could find some method of integrating this into your site I would be eternally thankful.


CountCulture said

at 1:29 pm on Sep 22, 2009

I'm working on this one (for OpenlyLocal.com, and stef is using XML feed from that). Have extracted member, ward, committee and forthcoming meetings. Working on committee membership and meeting documents.

As you say, it's problematic as navigation depends on javascript and cookies. There are ways around it but it's not straightforward.

Stef Lewandowski said

at 3:25 pm on Sep 22, 2009

I'm working on integrating @CountCulture's work into the main site now... half way there!

Julia Larden said

at 4:13 pm on Sep 22, 2009

Agree - it would be nice if there were one place for each suburb were stuff could be quickly found. Eg ward and constituency meetings - minutes of old ones (going back as far as poss) agendas for new ones, ward plans, reports. Planning aps and decisions on old plans (to way back) would definitely be useful. It would be nice to also have Transportation plans quickly available in the same place. One issue that has come up repeatedly in my area (Acocks Green) has been the selling of council assets, before anyone knows about it. The info on planned sales is there, I know, but it is very time consuming to track down. I have just had another idea. It would save local activists a lot of headaches if we could sign up for a weekly, or at least monthly, list of docs relating to things in our area - and be emailed links to them - I mean the things that could cause problems, not the nice things like festivals and exhibitions etc, but plans, sales etc. Perhaps this is an impossible dream - probably far too much work, but maybe the process could be automated in some wa? Too busy and missing something important going on under our noses, until too late, is a really big worry. Also, what about a list of local blogs for each area? (For more flavour of where I am coming from see www.acocksgreenfocusgroup.org.uk)

Julia Larden said

at 4:14 pm on Sep 22, 2009

PS - it goes without saying that I do think this is a really, really good idea, and am glad someone is brave enough, and imaginative enough to attempt it!

Jamie Bullock said

at 7:52 pm on Sep 23, 2009

Great project. One thing on my wishlist for a council site would be more of a customised UX on login. I'm thinking something along the lines of 'My BCC', so when the user logs in the get a personalised dashboard with 'Welcome back <username>, this is what's happening in <your area>: <content>. Your council tax payments: <listing showing due payment/make a payment>. Your interest: <arts/entertainment listings i've opted into or that the site is smart enough to recommend>, Your complaints/questions: <'ticket' style listing of sent complaints and status/response> etc etc. I appreciate that this is a project-within-a-project, but maybe worth exploring a bit?

Martin Wright said

at 4:39 pm on Sep 24, 2009

Really surprised about viewing council services by department here, assuming this would be a secondary or tertiary navigation?

lessismore said

at 5:06 pm on Sep 24, 2009

Is it possible to build a secure online library system that does not display other people's details (name, address, email, phone numbers, loans, history, fines)? I reported this over 2 weeks ago am still waiting for a satisfactory response. I have screen prints.

Jamie Bullock said

at 10:29 am on Sep 25, 2009

An achievable wishlist item would be a much improved "Finding a reliable builder" section. Currently the council just provides a (probably out-of-date) PDF with builder contact details on.


This provides a worse UX than the http://www.trustmark.org.uk/ site they pull their data from. Pointless.

It would be better to either simply link to trustmark, or much better provide an in site search facility with star ratings and comments (from council site users) etc.

Might also be nice to have stuff like local piano tuners, instrumental teachers, child minders etc on there too. So instead of spreading this information across the site in a deeply nested hierararchy, just have an easily searchable flat structure "Find my local...[ ]".

Martin Wright said

at 12:05 pm on Sep 25, 2009

@Jamie - local business directory?

Julia Gilbert said

at 3:16 pm on Sep 25, 2009

What would be totally awesome, but probably v difficult is for people moving to Brum, "where's a good place to live?". This could be seen as subjective, but there are stats that can be analysed. Perhaps filter this by "if schools are important to me", "if healthcare is important to me", "if transport is important to me", "if cheap housing is important to me", and so on.

Liz Garlinge said

at 8:00 pm on Sep 25, 2009

Non fully-formed idea - some place where citizens could link with each other ? Dashing out - will expand later!

derek cooper said

at 8:00 am on Oct 8, 2009

"Non fully-formed idea - some place where citizens could link with each other ?"
This is similar to something I'm after, maybe nothing more than a library of site addresses for Residents or Tenants Associations (if they have a web site), to make it easier for different groups to access each other to share experiences pool ideas and/resources.

Stuart Dixon said

at 5:07 pm on Dec 4, 2009

How about for each department or contractor a quality review form where citizens can let the council and other citizens know how contractors perform when working in their areas? For example logging feedback: "xxx came to my house to fix the light fittings, good job very quick." Then a page publicly displaying the results. The aim of this would be to alert the council about good contracts and bad ones with a view to improving quality of workmanship....

Excellent site by the way. How about making it generic? i.e able to be used by any borough council in the UK as an out of the box configurable solution? This will save the taxpayer squillions.

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