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GOV.UK push in action: Er, FEWER Brits filling out govt forms online

But oldsters are flocking to interwebulator 'cos of fondleslabs

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While some Brits appear keener than ever to access services via the internet, the proportion of people who completed government processes online at least once every three months dropped five percentage points in 2013 compared with a year earlier.

This is according to a new report released by communications watchdog Ofcom, whose figures go against regular claims from Whitehall that its Directgov website re-branding team in the Cabinet Office - the over 100-strong GOV.UK crew - is doing a great job of improving public services to make them more accessible online.

Ofcom said that that six in 10 Brits were completing "government processes" online, a number that hasn't budged at all compared with a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the number of citizens completing government transactions via GOV.UK and local council sites has fallen.

The watchdog's annual Adults' Media Use and Attitudes Report also revealed that non-internet users had dropped from 15 per cent in 2012 to 12 per cent last year.

Those 7.6 million Brits don't have broadband access at home and have no plans to subscribe to an ISP in the next 12 months, Ofcom said.

The regulator added:

One in eight (13 per cent) say they contact their local councillor or MP online, which is also unchanged since 2012. But there has been a decrease in the frequency of completing government processes online at least quarterly from 33 per cent in 2012 to 28 per cent in 2013.

However, since 2012 there has been a rise in the numbers of people saying they prefer to use email or websites to complete government processes, out of a range of possible types of communication - from 43 per cent in 2012 to 48 per cent in 2013. Those that complete government services online say that it's convenient (84 per cent) and quicker than doing it in person (40 per cent).

Elsewhere in the report, elderly people are slowly starting to embrace fondleslabs, according to communications watchdog Ofcom.

The regulator said that 17 per cent of Blighty's 65- to 74-year-olds had their hands on iPads, Kindle Fires and other mobile devices in 2013.

The figure trebled from 5 per cent a year earlier, Ofcom added.

Similarly, it noted an uptick in the number of oldies using the internet with a nine per cent climb in over 65-year-olds going online. Apparently, 42 per cent of elderly people are now plugged into the interwebulator, compared with 33 per cent in 2012.

Anecdotally, a 66-year-old friend of your correspondent bought a fancy new Kindle Fire HD in February. It remains wrapped in its box. ®

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