According to Socitm data, around 6% of all visits to council websites are for leisure services (a higher proportion – around 10% - of all visits to council sites from mobiles are for leisure). Providing information about local opportunities for children's sports is about more than leisure however, it also makes a vital contribution in two other key areas for people living locally: helping parents provide meaningful activities for children when they are not in school, and encouraging kids to be active, an important part of promoting health and wellbeing within local populations.
Northern Ireland District Councils
The outcome of this survey was very disappoining, with no site scoring above 2 stars, indicating that councils in Northern Ireland have little focus on the promotion of sports for children, certainly via their websites. This is a shame at a time when Sport Northern Ireland has invested £6.2 million with districts in a programme called Everybody Active 2020, the aim of which is to help increase participation in sport and physical activities including children moving from primary school to post-primary.
Check ‘coverage’ to see if your council has been surveyed. Go to councils page and select your council. Look for link to task report under 2016-17 results
Provide a good or very good online service based on this survey
Better connected rankings
*Discrepancies in the figures are due to rounding off
NB Question highlighted in red is an ‘essential question’ that must be answered correctly for the council to meet the standard for this task. Questions highlighted in blue affect star ranking
|Questions to be answered "Yes"|
|• Would you recommend that other councils look at this implementation as an example of good practice?||0%|
|• Does a Google search lead me to the task?||73%|
|• Can I find a list or directory of sports clubs/activities for under 18s by type ?||18%|
|• Are there links to phone numbers or websites of different clubs?||18%|
|• Can I find a simple description of the different sports offered?||9%|
|• Is information provided directly or via links about suitability of specific classes for different ages/levels of fitness?||27%|
|• Can I find sports activities for under 18s by location (postcode search or map) ?||9%|
|• Is there information about coaching for different sports?||18%|
|• Is there any information about sports acitivy for half terms and school holidays?||27%|
|• In carrying out this task do I find any links to information about the health beneifts of exercise?||45%|
|• Does the home page lead me directly to the task?||91%|
|• Does the service landing page link me directly to this task?||64%|
|• Does a site search return the correct result listed in the first five results?||18%|
|• Does the A to Z list include this task?||9%|
|• Do all of the above routes lead to a consistent destination?||18%|
|Other questions affecting standard achieved|
|• Was the content you reviewed free of any out of date information?||73%|
|• Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion?||1.6|
|• Was the content you reviewed concise and free of jargon?||100%|
Of the eleven districts, only six made two stars. Our Google search on 'XYZ Council sports for children' turned up nothing for three sites, and for two others found infomation about last year's summer holiday programme - even when this year's programme was available on the site.
Just three sites passed our essential question Is there any information about sports activity for half terms and school holidays? including the only site, Derry City & Strabane, that scored above 2 for customer journey.
As is is the case with other sports/leisure based tasks we have reviewed for Better Connected, infomation is very often buried within separate sites provided by third party providers. Such information is usually focussed on individual leisure centres, so anyone seeking information needs to trawl through each site in turn to check the availability of activities.
The thinking behind this approch is that where a service is outsourced, the council can then wash its hands of communication of that service. This might appear to be a reaonable approach, were it not for the fact that councils also run sports development functions and, as mentioned in the overview, are receiving funding to promote sport and physical activity under the Everybody Active 2020 programme.
The suggestion is not that councils websites should repeat or replicate information available on extenal sites, but they do need to provide introductory and contextual information and good linking to this provision.
There are no sites recommended for this task