Parole Board

The Ecru designed Parole Board website, powered by our easy to use Content Management System (CMS), launched in January 2008, has won the website of the year category in the prestigious Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence Awards for 2008. The award was announced on Monday (15 September) at the CIPR Excellence Awards Dinner held at the London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane.

paroleboard.gov.uk

The Parole Board

The CIPR team of judges said: This is a very clearly designed site that succeeds in delivering expert advice for victims of crime, offenders and industry professionals. The language is clear and the signposting on the site is simple and easy to follow. Difficult issues are handled sensitively and the site is extremely informative, using a question and answer format to deliver its messages in a style that is open and welcoming.

I am so proud of our joint achievement and the award is a tribute to your hard work (Ecru's) and Tim's (Morris) in designing and delivering something that has real social worth.

Christine Glenn

Chief Executive Parole Board

A tribute to open communication

The site is a tribute to open communications and has received widespread praise from the industry as well as from its victim and offender audiences. There is much to commend this site its meets all its objectives, it delivers no-nonsense information and advice, and it is easy to use and follow.

The website was completely re-designed earlier this year, by web design agency Ecru, to be made more accessible to those with sight or reading difficulties and has a specially designed navigation system (information architecture) targeted directly at the main Parole Board audiences, which include victims of crime, prisoners and criminal justice practitioners

Focus on Victims

The site features a new section aimed at victims of crime and their families, including advice on how to make a victim impact statement for consideration by the Parole Board and how to attend a Parole Board hearing to present that statement in person.

Parole Board Head of Communications Tim Morris said: "Our aim in re-designing the website was to make it more accessible and user friendly for our diverse target audiences. We adopted an open and simple style for the site to meet the needs of our stakeholders and the feedback we have received from them has been very enthusiastic. The director of one victim group said Your website is the most victim-friendly within the Criminal Justice System, I think you should win an award. Well, we did!

Tim Morris

Head of Communications Parole Board

The site also features a section aimed at prisoners and their families including, for the first time, advice for juvenile offenders and a quick guide to parole and 'read this page to me' functionality, for prisoners with reading or learning difficulties.

Multimedia

The site includes multimedia features, with a podcast by Parole Board members talking about their work, a video clip from the BBC2 documentary series about the Parole Board Lock them up or let them out, and an interactive case simulator from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.

I am thrilled that the achievements of the new Parole Board website have been recognised with this important award from CIPR. The judging panel were comparing the best of the best in the Excellence Awards 2008 website or microsite category, and for us to come out on top is extremely rewarding. The secret of our success is simple though - we share the Parole Board's conviction that the criminal justice system can be improved through clear, accessible and usable communication, that the victims of crime can better achieve justice, and through these steps we can improve the society in which we live.

Matthew Williams

Managing Director ECRU

Only the cream of the PR industry receives a CIPR Excellence Award, which recognises the vital contribution PR makes to business and society. With the quality of entries improving year-on-year, this year's winning campaigns faced the stiffest competition to-date to rise to the top. This is a fantastic achievement and they (Ecru) are to be congratulated.

Elisabeth Lewis-Jones

President, Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Accessibility

Better than W3C Priority AA means we have maximised the ability of disabled people to access information.

New Parole Board branding

A complete redesign, brand new accessible structure and carefully constructed text

Visitor Channelling

All Stakeholders now have direct access to information, including victims, their families, the general public and legal professionals.

New Parole Board branding

A complete redesign, brand new accessible structure and carefully constructed text

New Extranet

The password protected area for Parole board members and staff delivers practical information to people distributed around the country

Huge improvements in Information

Parole Board Head of Communications Tim Morris has made huge improvements, making complicated parole information more understandable.

Search engine optemisation

In its first six months after re-launch the website has increased the average monthly number of page views by 101%, with over 275,000 in total from January to August 2008 and 115,000 visits during the same period.

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