New-look website ‘to help payments’

New Look: E Communications Officer Stephen Dolan and designers Daniel Kirkland and Ross Hume of Tor Studios check out the new website for Derbyshire Dales District Council.

New Look: E Communications Officer Stephen Dolan and designers Daniel Kirkland and Ross Hume of Tor Studios check out the new website for Derbyshire Dales District Council.

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A NEW council website has been launched in a bid to encourage more people to conduct their business on-line.

Derbyshire Dales District Council has launched its new site which has been developed with the help of Derbyshire Dales web company, Tor Studio, and it is designed to make it easier than ever for residents to make payments, including council tax.

In what the council is describing as a value-for-money move, the running costs of the site have been dramatically cut by adopting an innovative “open source” approach – which means the council downloaded the software for free and then asked Tor Studio to make it as accessible as possible.

Another Derbyshire district authority – nearby Erewash Borough Council – liked what they saw and came onboard as well, reducing the project costs still further.

Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, Cllr Lewis Rose OBE said: “Online transactions cost a fraction of a typical phone or face-to-face payment and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it made sense for us to look to improve our web offering.

“The target for our communications team was to make transactions quick and easy, while ensuring the information people want can be found with the least possible number of clicks of a mouse or phone-pad.

“Along the way we have reduced the running costs, entering into a partnership with another Derbyshire authority and supporting a local web company that won the contract to improve the look and feel of derbyshiredales.gov.uk.

“It’s early days but we’ve been trialling the new site to the public for over a week now and the feedback is very positive. The site will continue to improve but I’m delighted with the new look. More people than ever are visiting our website – we recorded almost 30,000 visits every month in the past year, a massive rise of over 40 per cent - and we hope this dramatic trend will continue with our new site.”

Tor Studio is based in Matlock and owner Daniel Kirkland said: “It’s been a great experience working with Derbyshire Dales District Council to design and develop their new website, and we feel confident we have created a site that the local community, businesses and visitors to the area can take pride in.”