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
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