Durham County Council's website, www.durham.gov.uk, has been hailed as one of the best of its kind.

It has been rated among the country's top ten county council sites by the Society of Information Technology Management.

The society assessed the site, which is getting more and more hits, by seeking information on such issues as starting a business and taking retirement.

The society was impressed at the comprehensive range of information available.

Head of information technology Chris Collins said: "This is a great achievement for the council and for all the staff who have been involved with the design and development of the website.

"We have looked very carefully at every aspect of the site's development, and this is reflected in the survey, which recognised us as a Content Plus website.

"This means they recognise the site provides useful content with comprehensive service information, makes widespread use of e-mail and on-line feedback, and offers more advanced features such as on-line databases.''

Despite the recognition, the council is planning to give the site a facelift.

Mr Collins said: "We are in the process of redesigning the look and feel of the site and identifying new content areas.