Feeds

Improvements to council websites 'slowing'

Get your Better Connected results here

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Local authority internet services are showing signs of improvement, though the overall level of progress is slowing, a major survey reveals.

The eighth annual Socitm Insight survey of local authority websites - Better Connected 2006 - also concluded that general improvements in the functionality of council websites is being offset by a reduction in overall usability.

The survey found that a total of 60 councils now offer the highest level of 'transactional' website where customers can access council services online. This figure has increased from 38 last year and in London alone it means that more than four-in-ten councils are now rated as transactional.

But beneath this highest level the survey found that improvement has stagnated. For example, the number of councils with "content plus" sites (the level below transactional) remained the same over the past year at 226, while the number of content sites (the second to lowest rating) fell by only 11.

The survey's tests of website usability rated 70 per cent good or satisfactory, an increase on last year's results.

However, tests on council search engines showed only one-in-ten sites could find the four most common terms researchers believed any local authority site should be able to handle.

And just over three-fifths of authorities achieved a level A rating under the 'web accessibility initiative' used to regulate content accessibility. No increase from 2005.

Usage of council websites has shown a significant increase over the past year. Overall, it estimated that 10.2m people used a council website in December 2005, when the survey was carried out, a massive 40 per cent increase on last year.

Also more than 84 per cent of users said they would return to a council website compared to only 7 per cent who said they would not.

Analysis of users confirmed the existence of a 'digital divide' across the age brackets, with between 71 and 77 per cent of the four age bands between 15 and 54 saying they use the internet, compared to 23 per cent over the age of 64.

This divide also persists across social groups. Seventy six per cent of the social group AB – managers and professionals – said they use the web, compared to only 32 per cent of the DE group, which covers the unemployed and semi-skilled.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Societm Insight programme manager Martin Greenwood said: "Use of the internet is central to around 80 per cent of the 'transformational' projects and programmes recently researched and published by Socitm.

"The website should, therefore, be positioned as a vehicle that will help to drive transformation forward in local authorities. The engine of that vehicle must be up to the job. The findings of Better Connected 2006 can be used by councils as a self-audit tool to diagnose the current state of the vehicle."

Better Connected 2006 is available as a pdf to Socitm Insight subscribers. The printed version, available from mid-March will run to 180 pages (with another 36 pages of technical appendices available electronically). The report costs £375 to non-subscribers from www.socitm.gov.uk

Copyright © eGov monitor Weekly

eGov monitor Weekly is a free e-newsletter covering developments in UK eGovernment and public sector IT over the last seven days. To register go here.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.