In a recent reply to a blog on UK authority…
Martin Greenwood says…”the data behind our calculation of £11m a month losses to councils from web failures is extremely robust”.
I beg to differ. I don’t believe it is robust at all, which is why I described their results as laughable but lets continue.
Socitms figure is calculated from some 20% of questions as being shown as unanswered by LG web sites. This they derive from respondees to the online questions who said they were unable to find what they were seeking on the site.
Setting aside that 80% did find what they wanted – and I am pleased that Martin Greenwood agrees this shows an annual saving of over half a billion pounds for councils – lets see what the 20% Socitm commented on was made up of.
I can of course only discover only Lincolnshire’s “missing information” and that is from the same information Martin Greenwood uses.
In January there were around 460 respondents who said they couldn’t find what they were looking for. What they said in their reply was also shown.
It is intriguing that even using Socitm’s own logic and figures it shows that 11 of those expressed frustration in finding something because the online questionnaire interfered with their quest. Now if my calculations are correct that is 0.24% of the respondents. And that as a percentage of the annual “losses” according to Socitm would equate to .SOCITM WEB SITE SURVEY COSTS COUNCILS £320,000 A YEAR BY DISGRUNTLING CLIENTS’
And, of course there are many others that were not weeded out of Socitms figures. ‘Could not finds’ that are unanswerable and yet included to justify this, yes, laughable, report.
Here are just a few of some from our January report. This is the information people were looking for according to Socitm. Information Socitm seem to think we should provide and are somehow remiss for not doing so. These reproduced below are shown as they came in. Names have been removed.
• 16th century handwriting information
• kjhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
• Looking for a convict born Lincs but tried in London
• aircraft pictures
• could not download logo for This is Art
• couldn’t find the tables and then computer froze when downloading a pdf
• “Details of my ancestor Rev’d (name removed by PB) of Gedney parish.
• Does LCC think that is OK to transport primary school children four in a taxi, but only three can sit on a booster seat due to lack of room across the rear seat.
• I am looking for an ancestor named (Name removed PB) who moved to Elton, I think because of the railways
• I am looking to research the history of cottage in New Bolingbroke
• I am researching a convict to Australia, (name removed PB)The website gave me an overview of his crime. Now I need to get a detailed report of the court Assizes.
• I am trying to find out about a local paper which on Thursday 3 September 1942 reported on the parade at Cranwell for the National Day of Prayer. A letter from my uncle (who was killed in 1943 and whose life I am researching) says that Paramont took pictures for the news and that there would be picutres in “Friday’s Sketch”. I don’t know how to find the Sketch and back copies. I thought this site might be worth a try, but I can’t see anything to help – but it was a long shot!
• I could not find details about a possible ancestor born in Billingborough
• I could not find why Branston was called Branston Allotments in the early 19th century. Ancestors come from there and this detail is on the census forms of the day. I will try the records office which we have previously visited to great success.
• i found the events section but nothing at all for Woodhall Spa
• I found the information on your holdings to be excellent. I was hoping to find church records online. Since I live far away I cannot access the archives.
• I found the service but was dissatisfied by the outcome.
• I need to talk with someone who will be able to answer the rest of my problems
• I wanted a small holiday touring through bulbfields,I think I will have to go to Holland.
• I wanted to find a list of allotments in Linconshire. I will contact SKDC direct
• I was looking for an inquest from 10th Oct 1936 for one (name removed by PB)
• I was looking for discussion notes on a book I have just read.
• “I was looking to see if my grandmother’s obituary was published in the local newspaper. She died in 1964.”
• I work for another COuncil, and have been browsing a number of Council sites and this was just one of them – so is just part of the picture.
• info about eating facilities at the Plowright Theatre.
• It didn’t tell me what i wanted to hear!! Not your fault, not enough snow to close the school!
• Looking for a convict born Lincs but tried in London
• still want to know history of why we came from france to work in castle as armours for the king
• you had my g,g,grandfather named in one of your pages but could get nothing further this would have been a bonus plus for me infinding something.
I’m not saying we are perfect but neither is Socitm’s report or the logic on which it is based.
Now if in some way I have this wrong I am sure Mr Greenwood will enlighten me.


  1. Peter, thanks for this. I do think that you raise some important issues about, among other things, how results are both measured and subsequently interpreted. If you would like to discuss this issue with us personally I would be happy to meet with you. Adrian Hancock (

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