Annual reports can be very dull, can’t they? Who wants to force an audience to wade through a linear, very long PDF document, when you could offer them an interactive version instead? Allow people the freedom to more easily pick and choose the parts they’re interested in, and you’ll get much better engagement with the content.  

This was the thinking behind making the Conwy Social Services Annual Report available as a website. In Wales, under the Annual Council Reporting Framework, all Local Authorities are required to submit an annual report from the Director of Social Services. It’s a statutory requirement, but also a public document, so the report is written and presented in a way that hopefully makes sense, and is of interest, to the public.

So a few years ago, I had a good idea.

Why not produce a web version of the document that people could interact with, and that would hopefully come to the attention of any local people asking Google about key issues within the report.

A new format for the ACRF report

At the time of writing, we’ve just published the third online version of the annual report, for 2015-16.

conwy-social-services-annual-report-homepage

I created the site using a Genesis theme, and with very little modification. So if you like the simple, clean look and you wanted to recreate something similar, you can get this exact same theme here.(It’s called Executive Pro)

Find out more about Genesis Themes

For this year’s report I created a more structured contents page, and each article within the 2015/16 category is set to display a specific sidebar, which shows the main areas within the report. I simply used a plugin called Genesis Simple Sidebars to achieve this. The result is that the new report feels more like a mini-site within the overall site.

You can visit the actual site here.

Making the site bilingual

Because this site is representing a Welsh Local Authority, the content must be available bilingually, in both Welsh and English.

Fortunately, this has been made very simple with the excellent WPML plugin. Every single bit of text on the site is translated, all the menus, the headings, the widgets, the footer information, the posts and pages – everything.

I highly recommend WPML if you need to create a bilingual, or even multi-language wordpress site.

Find out more about WPML

Need to turn your own annual report into a website?

If you’re looking to achieve something similar, and need some help to make it happen, please contact me.

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