In the 12 months ending 31 July 2015 there were 658,544,076 visits to local government websites in Great Britain, 10.5 visits for every woman, man and child.

Total visits

GB population

Visits per head

658,544,076 62,756,300 10.5

There is a wide variation between different local authority websites in terms of the numbers of visits. It is a very skewed distribution, with the bulk of authorities having small numbers of visitors and a small number of authorities having very large numbers, as illustrated below.

The median local government website had 1,100,000 visits. 25% of websites had 542,000 visitors or fewer and 25% had 2,500,000 or more. Non-metropolitan districts see the fewest visits (50% of them have 557,000 or fewer visits) and county councils see the most visits (50% of them have 3,257,000 or more visits). This is not surprising: county councils serve much larger populations than non-metropolitan district councils so it seems logical that they would receive more visits. Overall, it would be expected that the number of visits would be higher for local authorities serving larger populations than for local authorities serving smaller populations. There is a clear relationship between the size of the population served by a local authority and number of visits to the local authority’s website.

The relationship holds true for the different types of local authorities apart from London Boroughs.

In fact the type and population of the authority are good predictors of the number of visits for all authorities apart from London boroughs.

Key points

It is striking how closely related population and visits are, especially considering that local authorities have considerable discretion on how they administer themselves and what services are available through their websites.

It is not clear why London boroughs are so different from other authorities. It might be that the services that cause lots of visits to other local authority websites are delivered by the GLA (the Mayor of London) so they do not appear in the London borough figures.

Further work

The visualisations used in this section are available as interactive tools on my Tableau site http://lawrd.co/1Mpz01Y.

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