SA Mathieson, editor of Socitm’s In Our View magazine
Multi-purpose and library-specific apps appear to be the most popular provided by local authorities, according to data from Google’s Play store.
As of mid-August, at least 13 local authority apps had been installed more than 5,000 times through Google, with eight of them library service apps from Scottish technology company Solus.
Bradford City Council’s multi-purpose app, which covers areas including school closures, library renewals and job vacancies, and Glasgow City Council’s iTouch-designed MyGlasgow app for reporting environmental issues, had both been installed more than 10,000 times.
As well as those for libraries, multi-purpose apps designed by Cloud 9 for East Devon District Council and governmentM for Staffordshire County Council, as well as Boxsail’s Recycle for Greater Manchester app, had all been installed more than 5,000 times.
The 127 apps, provided by 105 local authorities, were found through keyword searches in the Google App store for the 50 largest UK local authorities and lists of apps from selected suppliers, so the data is indicative rather than comprehensive.
But many council apps appear to be little-used. Although 68 had been installed more than 1,000 times through Google, 47 had between 100 to 999 installations and 12 had been installed fewer than 100 times.
User ratings for apps varied widely, with five having average scores of less than two stars out of five, but 12 scoring four or above. Cardiff Council’s multi-purpose app, launched in June, was one of the most highly-rated, with an average score of 4.6.
A longer version of this article is in the new issue of Socitm’s In Our View magazine, available for download here.