Sitemorse INDEX Q1 2018, Harrogate Borough Council top and the leader for digital capability

27 Mar 2018

Harrogate Borough Council

London, 27th March 2018 – Harrogate Borough Council has been identified as a leader in digital governance after coming in first place for UK local government in the latest Sitemorse quarterly INDEX. Congratulations also go to Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the highest riser, and to JADU, a service provider to both councils.

The Sitemorse INDEX reviews sites, scoring and ranking them based on optimisation, experience and compliance and factors such as loading speed and accessibility.

Borough Council took first place with an overall score of 9.5 out of 10, representing a very high standard of optimization, user experience and content delivery. The council took first place for functionality, accessibility, HTML, email and metadata and was near the top of the table for performance. Stoke-on-Trent City Council was the most improved in the field, increasing its score by 1.96 points to 6.2 and climbing 209 places in the list.

Also in the top ten were:

2. North Devon Council – scoring 8.9 out of 10

3. Scottish Borders Council – scoring 8.8 out of 10

4. North Warwickshire Council – scoring 8.7 out of 10

5. Scarborough Borough Council – scoring 8.6 out of 10

6. Orkney Islands Council – scoring 8.6 out of 10

7. Taunton Deane Borough Council – scoring 8.5 out of 10

8. Richmondshire District Council – scoring 8.4 out of 10

9. Rochdale Borough Council – scoring 8.4 out of 10

10. Spelthorne Borough Council – scoring 8.3 out of 10

Issues discovered on low performing sites included broken links, missing images, faulty email addresses and webpages that came without titles and descriptions. Many organisations are unaware of the issues that are discovered and many more struggle with the substantial challenge of manually monitoring and implementing repairs. Organisations that score highly, however, generally have strong leadership and a firm understanding of corporate responsibility.

Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse (, said, “When it comes to local government, it’s crucial to ensure that you are delivering on compliance and accessibility. Indeed, providing a positive digital experience really is a core part of their service. Because of that, it’s great to see councils scoring highly for functionality, performance and accessibility – and Harrogate has done well to top the list.

“At Sitemorse (, we see our job not just being to make it simple to onboard automated monitoring, but to ensure that the recommendations our system provides are easy-to-understand and immediately actionable. Rather than deliver endless reporting, we provide insights so you can make major changes, fast.”

The results of the INDEX were based on a total of over 115,000,000 tests on public pages (web and PDF) carried out in January 2018. Every page on every site surveyed was subjected to over 1,600 unique tests, checks and measures each.

Other sectors surveyed include higher education, police forces, US airlines and consumer finance.

The Sitemorse INDEX report is carried out by Sitemorse (, which helps clients to continuously and automatically monitor for issues relating to optimisation, experience and compliance (including SEO and accessibility) on public and private pages. The findings of the latest report, for Q1 2018, will be released over the course of February and March 2018. The full results for UK local government can be found here:


About the Sitemorse INDEX

Since 2002, the Sitemorse INDEX has provided an independent industry standard for benchmarking digital governance. Sites are reviewed and scored based on some 1,600 tests, checks and measures per page, identifying actions that improve optimisation, experience and compliance. Since its inception, it has been the fundamental measure of digital capability for organisations that strive for online excellence.

Scoring highly typically reflects those that have strong digital leadership and understand the importance of providing the best visitor experience possible – and it reflects positively on the entire organisation’s operations and branding.

The latest results follow over 115m tests on public pages carried out in January 2018. These results provide extensive insights into the experience that these sites deliver and offer vital information on how they can better meet audience expectations – points that are crucial, but impractical to capture manually. Indeed, organisations are all too often unaware of what might be simple actions that they could take that would offer immediate improvements to their delivery.


About Sitemorse

Sitemorse ( helps organizations to efficiently drive improved user experience, ensuring that content is always optimised and that compliance requirements are always met. With clients in every corner of the world, Sitemorse ( sets out to remove endless reporting from Digital Governance and to instead provide actionable insights so that major changes can be made quickly.

The company has now been moving the field of Digital Governance forwards for over 15 years, while remaining privately owned, and continues to provide clients with new tools and capabilities every year. Most recently, this has included a focus on extending capabilities directly within the CMS, as well as addressing the governance / QA service issue of ‘endless reporting’. 

Sitemorse ( helps digital managers to build strong processes and accountability, to minimise risks and to achieve the highest standards of content quality. And with Sitemorse (, there is no need for the substantial infrastructure, support and accordant costs that are required for manual quality and compliance checks.



Sitemorse, 48 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2NS

Telephone: +44 (0)77 2940 5889

PR enquiries:

Michael Simon: