Months late and having cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, today Barnet council launched its new website. Sadly as is so much in Barnet, it was BROKEN.
If you get on to the front page of the website, which now has a new web address, http://barnet.gov.uk/ (no www. anymore) you will find lots of broken links that take you back to the old website. Frankly this isn't good enough. The council's IT consultants have had a huge amount of time to sort this out and today it should have gone right first time.
I have written to Councillor Cornelius along with my three ward councillors to tell them it isn't working well. They could have actually turned this into a real PR success but their lack of commonsense and desire to stifle resident engagement has yet again created another problem.
Set out below is my email to Cllr Cornelius
Dear Cllr Cornelius,
The new Barnet council website has gone partially live today. Most of the data appears to remain on the old platform but all council meetings and delegated powers reports are on the new website. Sadly virtually all of the old delegated powers reports have now disappeared; I could only manage to find two on the new website.
At the most recent Chipping Barnet Residents forum I did put forward a question asking if the Council would consider holding training sessions for residents on how to use the new website but sadly my question was ruled invalid and was not even allowed to be considered.
As a simple PR exercise I think it might have been helpful to invite regular website users to a training/briefing session. It might have also helped to build bridges between the Council and the community. Perhaps this is something which you might want to consider as creating such a significant information vacuum will only lead to even more Freedom of Information requests.
Let's wait and see if I get a reply.