Coronavirus Information Hub recognised as best practise

Sunita Patel , Tuesday 25 May 2021

In March 2020, our world as we knew it turned upside down. An illness affecting people on the other side of the world quickly landed on our shores and spread in a way that no one could have imagined, having devastating consequences on all our lives.

As communications professionals in local government, our role in communicating crucial information was, and still is, essential. This, as well as ensuring that it is accessible for everyone, meant creating a strong presence on the council’s website was central to the communications response. 

When we were still trying to grapple with the severity, ubiquity and impact Covid 19 would have on our communities in early March 2020, we decided it was important to create a section on our website where people could find the information they needed quickly and easily. Redbridge was one of the first local authorities to do this – it was known as the Coronavirus Information Hub. This was deliberately positioned to be the very first option to click on when visiting the site.

The profile of the virus was increasing, and so were the associated actions for local authorities, who were required to provide support for those most vulnerable in society. This included setting up a wellbeing service and giving businesses opportunities to access financial support. Other services were impacted such as rubbish collection and health and wellbeing was fast moving up the agenda as communities suffered financially and personally. Information on this and much more was hosted on the Coronavirus Information Hub.

The Hub was used as a central location that all related communications across all channels signposted to.

Since it was launched:

  • 116 pages have been created solely for the Hub and it has been updated every working day
  • The Hub has had 1,221,328 pages views, which gives an average of 3,346 views every single day in the last year
  • 30 December 2020 recorded the highest views on any one day at 18,436, nearly double the second highest in September
  • The general testing page is consistently the most visited, with 176, 888 views in the past year. Changes to services is the second most popular page with 116,572 views
  • Of the top 10 pages on the Redbridge Council website, five are directly related to the Coronavirus Information Hub and include information on testing, changes to services and the business grants and support pages

The Hub has also been recognised as best practice by national organisations including the Local Government Association (LGA), the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and the New Local Government Network (NLGN).

The numbers speak for themselves, but it’s clear from this that the creation and maintenance of the Hub has been central to the communications response to the pandemic.