“It’s all about improving transparency and putting information about the council out to the public,” said Coun Mick Stanley, who led the taskforce responsible for launching Ripon City Council’s new website.
“We want to make information available and easy to read. That’s the whole point of the exercise – and it gives people the opportunity to make comments.”
The new website – which the Gazette first reported on last week – includes details of financial information, minutes of meetings, councillors’ photos and contact details, a welcome video and invitation to ‘like’ its Facebook page.
The council also plans to use the website to publish its accounts online every year.
“We’ve tried to make it appeal to everybody,” said Coun Stanley.
Councillors are also planning to use their own personal accounts on social networking site Twitter to connect with more people. The city council already has its own dedicated Twitter account, @Ripon_City, which has attracted more than 100 followers since launching a month ago.
Coun Stanley, who originally joined Twitter to chat to his children, said the site can be used to build a dialogue with younger people in Ripon.
The city council’s digital initiatives have been backed by Ripon MP Julian Smith who helped kick-start the new website by dedicating some of his office’s resources to help support the site’s launch.
Mr Smith said: “It is vital everybody in Ripon can see how the money they pay to the city council is spent and that the information is easily accessible.
“I hope this website will be expanded in the coming weeks and months to ensure all of that data is available to anyone who wants to see it.”
He added: “I believe the issue of transparency of our public bodies is so important I gave some time from my office to support Ripon City Council’s efforts to get this site online. I congratulate all of those who have worked hard to make it happen.”
The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Andrew Willams, has pledged to ensure the website continues to improve.
“We’ve laid the foundations that we can now build upon,” said the Mayor.
“It will enhance the way we communicate with a wider cross-section of people than we have ever done previously.”