We discussed how Silktide helps Rob Helliwell, Communications and Marketing Manager at Oadby and Wigston Borough Council oversee and improve the council’s website.

Despite being one of the smallest councils in the country by population, with around 50,000 residents, they face the colossal task of delivering the same amount of services as larger councils. The council’s website is a critical component of its service delivery, requiring it to be accessible, understandable, and user-friendly.

A central hub for web accessibility

The responsibility for the council’s website largely falls on Rob Helliwell and Mollie Whiles, who act as gatekeepers for all the website content contributed by the entire organization. They make sure the site meets legal accessibility requirements and is as user-friendly as possible.

Their roles are crucial, especially considering the content comes from various departments, each with its unique content needs. Rob explains, “We’re the guardians of the website trying to make sure we’re making it as accessible, readable, and understandable as possible.”

Decentralized content management and the role of Silktide

Initially, the council’s approach to website management was decentralized, with staff across the council contributing content. However, this changed with the introduction of stricter WCAG guidelines. The council decided to centralize the process, with Rob and Mollie managing most updates directly to ensure compliance and maintain control over the website’s accessibility.

The reintroduction of Silktide was a turning point for the council. After a brief period without the platform, Rob quickly realized its value: “Silktide was useful and we were starting to miss it. We knew we were losing visibility of where we were at with the website.” Silktide provided the necessary tools to scan, check, and ensure content met the latest accessibility standards, a task nearly impossible to manage manually with the resources available to a small council like Oadby and Wigston.

Silktide’s impact beyond compliance

The use of Silktide had a transformative impact on the council’s web accessibility efforts. Not only did it automate the compliance checking process, but it also served as an educational tool for Rob, Mollie, and other staff members. Rob highlighted the platform’s ease of use and its role in helping them understand and improve web accessibility, stating, “It’s intuitive to use, showing you key metrics and measurements for what you’re doing along with in-depth explanations.”

Achieving and maintaining high accessibility standards

With Silktide’s help, Oadby and Wigston Borough Council has made significant strides in improving their website’s accessibility. They have achieved and maintained high accessibility scores, demonstrating compliance with government standards and, more importantly, enhancing the user experience for all residents, including those with disabilities. Rob proudly notes, “We’re doing pretty good. It fluctuates a little bit but we’re hitting our, a, the targets.”

A commitment to future digital excellence

For Rob and his team, the journey doesn’t end with compliance. They are dedicated to continually improving the council’s website, aiming for perfection and fostering a culture where every staff member recognizes their role in maintaining web accessibility. Silktide has become an indispensable tool in this ongoing effort, enabling the council to punch above its weight and serve its community more effectively.

Silktide’s value

Reflecting on the value of Silktide, Rob affirms the platform’s worth, not just in terms of compliance but as a long-term investment in efficiency, customer service, and the council’s digital future. As public sector organizations like Oadby and Wigston Borough Council navigate the complexities of web accessibility, Silktide emerges as a key ally, offering the technology, training, and support needed to create a more inclusive digital world.

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