Ofsted feed update

Ofsted have recently contacted local authorities to give an update about the planned changes to the Family Information Directory (FIDy) service that they provide.

We directly take a feed of data from Ofsted for a large number of local authorities and so would like to take this opportunity to share our plans. The information below will also inform your responses in the form that Ofsted have asked be completed.

What is changing?

The service that Ofsted uses to deliver their data is being modernised. Any party already receiving their data using the current service will need to switch to the new service to make sure that they continue to receive data after Ofsted switch off the current service.

We are in contact with Ofsted regarding the specifications and technical detail of switching to the new service.

It’s also important to note that the data itself is not changing.

When are Ofsted switching off their current service?

December 2024.

When will the new service be available?

Ofsted are aiming for 30 June 2023.

Are Idox intending to connect to the new service as soon as possible?

No. Our view is to allow a little time to pass to mitigate risk of running in to issues that sometimes occur when using a new service.

Our aim is to use the new service in the September to December period.

Thurrock’s Start for Life

We’re delighted to share a new Start for Life piece which is the latest addition to Thurrock’s Young People & Families Directory.

There is a focus on supporting expectant parents and children aged 0-2. This is called the Start for Life Local Offer and citizens can find out what’s available in each locality.

It takes centre stage on the homepage, which you can see by clicking this link: www.askthurrock.org.uk

Or, jump straight to the Start for Life offer by clicking this link: https://www.askthurrock.org.uk/kb5/thurrock/fis/startforlife.page?startforlifechannel=0

Google Analytics 4

Do you have a Google Analytics code linked to your Directory website?

If you do, Google are making a change from 1st July 2023 which will affect the way data is collected.

Do Idox need to change our Directory website?
No. In most cases the change can be entirely administered via the Google Analytics dashboard by any person with access to the account and who has the editor role.

What is the change and what do I need to do?
Google have prepared information explaining the change. We’ve included 2 of the most helpful links, below:

“Introducing the next generation of Analytics, Google Analytics 4”

“Add a Google Analytics 4 property (to a site that already has Analytics)”

If you need to check anything with us, or need to change the associated Google Analytics code in your Directory website, please contact our Service Desk team by email servicedesk@idoxgroup.com or online portal https://customer.servicedesk.idoxgroup.com/idoxsd

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Did you know?

Did you know that you can crop your uploaded images, in Media Manager?

If you want to use a stock image but need all your images to be square, for instance, you first have to upload a suitable image (big enough to be able to fill the space) and then the Media Manager crop tool allows you to make a trimmed down copy, to be used on your page.

Simply click and drag to select the area to crop.
If you make a mistake, the crop can be reverted easily, simply by clicking the “Revert image” button that appears.

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Our Town Directory

Wigan Council is the latest of our customers to go live with a brand new website, built on our latest wireframe.

The project evolved their established Family Information Service Hub into an All Services Hub, branded Our Town Directory.

Check out their new site here: Wigan All Services Hub

Ofsted feed changes

You may have already received details from Ofsted of the planned changed to FIDy.

Our development team is currently liaising directly with Ofsted to understand the changes, and we will update customers once we have a plan in place.

Many thanks,

Directory Team

Writing good image alt text

Image alt text, also known as “alternative text” or “alt attribute,” is a short description that is added to an image on a website. Alt text is intended to describe the content of the image to people who are unable to see it, such as those who are visually impaired and use screen readers, as well as search engine robots.

Writing good alt text is an important aspect of website accessibility and can also improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website. Here are some tips for writing effective image alt text:

  1. Keep it concise: Alt text should be a brief, concise description of the image. Aim for no more than 125 characters.
  2. Use descriptive language: Alt text should accurately describe the content of the image. Avoid using phrases like “image of” or “picture of,” as it is already assumed that the text is describing an image.
  3. Don’t stuff keywords: While it’s important to use relevant keywords in your alt text, avoid keyword stuffing, as it can negatively impact the user experience and your website’s SEO.
  4. Don’t use the alt attribute for decorative images: If an image is purely decorative and does not add any meaningful content to the page, you can leave the alt attribute empty or use a null value (alt=””). This will prevent screen readers from reading out unnecessary information.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your image alt text is improving both accessibility and the SEO of your website.

Open Referral API

As per our recent communication, we have been made aware that an invitation to our Open Referral API workshop did not reach some of our customers, despite signing up via our website. We are sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused.

The session itself was not recorded, but we would be happy to meet with individual customers and provide an overview of the discussion and confirm our plans for the new Open Referral API. If you’d like to discuss this with us, please email socialcare@idoxgroup.com

Best wishes

The Idox Directory Team

Check out our latest websites!

As we continue to work with some of our long-term partners to redesign and rebuild their websites on our latest wireframe, we wanted to share with you, two of our latest websites for inspiration!

Trafford Council’s brand-new Local Offer is now live: Trafford SEND Local Offer

Also, Oxfordshire County Council has refreshed their entire directory, which you can view here: Oxfordshire Directory

Happy browsing!

Customers success at the 2022 NAFIS Awards

Reading Borough Council wins Best Community Engagement, for its SEND Local Offer and Family Information Services (FIS) websites (delivered on behalf of Brighter Futures for Children), and Islington Council is awarded Best Directory for its refreshed Family Directory

The NAFIS Awards (National Association of Family Information Services) recognise and celebrate local authority achievements and transformative services delivered across the country in supporting families to access vital services and information. The awards enable FIS to share experiences and learn from one another about how to continually improve these essential services.

Idox is proud to support its local authority customers with our Directory platform, a market-leading solution that creates a fully-accessible SEND Local Offer, curates the best childcare information for families, and delivers critical information and advice to adults with social care needs. This, and our SEND EHC Hub, are already helping over 100 local authorities across England to deliver effective services across social care and SEND.

At the 2022 NAFIS Awards, Reading Borough Council was awarded Best Community Engagement for its SEND Local Offer and FIS websites (delivered on behalf of Brighter Futures for Children). This marks the second consecutive year that the Council has won at the NAFIS Awards, having taken home the award for Best Local Offer in 2021.

Community engagement is at the heart of Reading Borough Council’s strategy for delivering a high-quality information service, collaborating with local services to meet family needs. Developed in consultation with parents, carers, young people, and voluntary and statutory services, the Directory platform delivers vital information about services available to families, children, and young people within the local area. With more than 3,000 records in its FIS and Local Offer directory, local services work closely with the Council, ensuring information is accurate and up to date for the community to access.

Islington Council has won the award for Best Directory at the 2022 Awards. Family Directories provide high-quality local information, advice and guidance that support young people, adults, families, and carers to find the information and support they need when they need it.

The Council launched a refreshed Directory in the summer of 2022, creating a new look and feel and identity for the Islington Directory – Find Your Islington. Islington Council worked collaboratively with parent champions, residents, and voluntary sectors to ensure the new refreshed Directory met their needs. Idox was proud to support the Council throughout this project. Local families, many of whom are accessing the Local Offer and FIS websites on mobile phones, have already commented on how they appreciate the more modern, brighter layout and design, as well as easy to use navigation and compatibility with mobile devices.

It was the hard work and dedication to transforming this high-quality information service that has been recognised in this award.

Idox congratulates all the nominees and winners at this year’s NAFIS awards. We look forward to continuing our collaborative partnership with customers as they transform their FIS directories to deliver exceptional support to their communities.