Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Government IT

As you will know if you read this blog recently I have been trying to get the the council to drag TDCIT kicking and screaming into the twenty first century, one thing I pointed out to them was that parts of their website didn’t work on the later versions of Internet Explorer.

Having countered their unlikely argument that most people that used their website, used older versions they eventually put this right.

I should point out to all of my readers that using older versions of Internet Explorer means that your computer is not secure when you access the internet and that you could easily have something nasty happen to you.

Many thanks to reader Keith for pointing out this article click here to read pointing out that the MoD are using insecure browsers, presumably this could even lead to members of the armed services being killed.

I am told that our own dear council are slowly coming round to the idea that not all is well with TDCIT and more improvements will be made eventually.

Below is the gist of what I said to them today about it.

As far as what is visible to me goes the councils website search still doesn’t function it won’t even find things on their homepage, I just tried typing in Gary Rhodes who is the subject of an article there.

There isn’t any reason why they couldn’t use the Google one as many other councils do.

There are still no feeds for their press release pages, an embedded blog with the press officers having access to post on it would do the trick for free.

At the time of writing 4 pm today neither of the last two press releases that I published yesterday at http://thanetpress.blogspot.com/ had appeared on the TDC website although I do concede they are getting better with pretty much all of the press releases getting up within three days.

There does seem to have been some increase in the documents available in html, although where the document is an image of a document i.e. it has been scanned it always appears as a pdf file. It is as though they lack the ability to publish ordinary image files, this may be the case as they make so little use of their press release photos.

They are still bouncing back emails that they shouldn’t be I just tried simon.moores@thanet.gov.uk in a normal sane world and in any other organisation I have come across from the house of commons down they only use one format for email addresses derived from a persons name.

Still no linier scales appearing on planning documents, this is something that could be solved with a few rubber stamps. At the moment you can’t tell the dimensions of any building if you view the plans online making the whole expensive business of putting them there almost pointless.

In all of this I discovered that TDC have their own Utube account http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=ThanetCouncil&view=videos many of the videos are produced for them by professionals and most of them never appear on the TDC website. Just another wasted resource like the press release photos.

3 comments:

  1. Michael

    I'm cllr-Simon.Moores@thanet.gov.uk
    as published.

    If you knew how much spam we get through the council mailserver you would understand why we don't make it too easy for the spammers to guess names.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just as well 'Doctor' Moores and his IT skills are at hand.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Simon I believe councillors get sent a lot of spam because their email addresses are published on the council website which is where the spam programs that work through websites automatically picking up email addresses get them from.

    Obviously this is unavoidable my email address is published on numerous places on the internet and I get a lot of spam.

    I believe you will find if you look into it that spam programs don’t make email addresses up.

    Up until about 4 years ago the all of the council email addresses were made up the same way christianname.surname@thanet.gov.uk this is an internet standard and makes some sort of sense.

    They then started making up new email addresses that were not standard including those starting cllr- and randomly deleting email addresses as an example leader@thanet.gov.uk which they then deleted, it took a complaint from me to get it reinstated.

    Another example that caused me problems as various email addresses were deleted; I started a dialogue HES@thanet.gov.uk I never did discover what this stood for, this then changed to HDS@thanet.gov.uk The Head of Development Services, and has now metamorphosised into, DRS@thanet.gov.uk Director of Regeneration Services all the same chap running the planning department, I believe.

    Just imagine how well you would get on in business if you deleted your email address and replaced it with another one and then to cap this sent people who tried to use your old email address a reply that didn’t give the new one.

    I am sorry to say it is just bad practice and I have been writing to council officers about it for years.

    ReplyDelete

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