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UK councils failing to fully utilise the digital technology they are investing in

Press release   •   Apr 16, 2014 13:50 BST

New research has found local authorities in the UK have invested substantial efforts into developing a good online newsroom infrastructure but have failed to optimise their newsrooms for mobile or connect them to their social media channels. This means there is much room for improvement in the ways councils engage with their residents, the media and other stakeholders.

Despite high profile government initiatives to improve online accessibility with the likes of the award winning Gov.UK redesign, local authorities have done little to aid visitors in finding and navigating their newsroom with half of local councils failing to link their newsrooms from anywhere on their homepage. Furthermore, only one of local authority provided a responsively designed newsroom for use on mobile devices.

Mynewsdesk’s What's the story? 2014 newsroom report into newsroom best practice saw local authorities score an average of 23.75%, falling behind the world’s top 100 brands average score of 38% in last year’s What’s the story? 2013 newsroom benchmark report.

The report found that although local authorities are aware of the importance of multimedia content with an above average number including image (30%) and video (20%) libraries they have performed significantly below average when it came to populating these with any sort of visual content. Similarly, they performed poorly in providing links to their social media channels which is an ideal way for local authorities to connect with their residents.  

Guy Bellamy, Founder of Elephant Communications said, “The challenge for the communications practitioner today is to work good content across a broader range of channels, making them work together rather than operate in silos. The only way to manage this and to fully understand the audience’s terms of engagement is through a multimedia platform.”

Peter Ingman, CEO of Mynewsdesk said, “Local authorities need to work harder to engage with their citizens and the diverse range of audiences they serve. It’s clear councils are investing in the tools needed to do this but simple things like updating their newsrooms regularly with interesting, useful content and connecting them to social media channels could possibly reduce calls to their contact centres and put less of a strain resources.”

Mynewsdesk’s What’s the story? The 2014 newsroom report is available for download here. It includes the complete findings of the study, as well as offering best practice guidelines, top tips for a successful online newsroom, practical information, expert opinions and real-world examples.


Notes to editors

The full study, What’s the Story? The 2014 newsroom report, evaluated the top 10 brands from five different UK sectors and benchmarked them across 60 different criteria, taking in to account content, social media integration, newsroom structure, features, multimedia, blogging and mobile functionality.


Based on a decade of experience developing newsrooms for companies across the world, the Mynewsdesk team devised a set of best practice criteria, in conjunction with professionals from across the communications industry. We evaluated the top 10 UK companies from five different sectors against our criteria, and assigned each a score. With 56 points available, we were then able to create a benchmark based on how well they performed.

The local government authorities assessed were based on size of population: 


- Leeds

- Glasgow City Council

- Sheffield 

- Cornwall UA 

- County Durham UA

- Manchester

- City of Edinburgh 

-Wiltshire UA

The brands and organisations assessed were: Lurpak, John Lewis, Princess Cruises, University College London, Leeds, Warburtons, Imperial College London, Cornwall UA, Cunard, Audley Travel, Birmingham, Oxford, London School of Economics, Sheffield, The Body Shop, Exodus, Walkers Crisps, County Durham UA, City of Edinburgh, Bristol, Durham, Dunelm Mill, Inntravel, Evans Cycles, HF Holidays, Fred Olsen Cruise, Bonmarché, Manchester, Cambridge, Trailfinders, Glasgow City, Nestle Nescafé, Hovis, Lucozade, Andrex, Bradford, King's College, Manchester, Waterstones, Edinburgh, Kingsmill, Wiltshire UA, Lush, Richer Sounds, Lakeland, Early Learning Centre, Cadbury, Whiskas, Archers Holidays, Riviera Travel

You can download the 2013 benchmark report into the top 100 global brands here.

Media contact:

Darren Willsher / Andrew Hill

EML Wildfire Tech PR

+44 20 8408 8000

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