Local gov't adopts web-savvy interaction

With some 'excellent' results…

With some 'excellent' results…

Web services are becoming an increasingly important way for citizens to interact with local government and councils are responding with improved websites.

The number of visitors to council websites sites increased by more than 10 per cent in the past 12 months according to the 2008 Better Connected report from local government IT body the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm).

Broadband from A to Z

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A is for ADSL
B is for BT
C is for Cable & Wireless
D is for Dial-up
E is for Education
F is for Fibre
G is for Goonhilly
H is for HSDPA
I is for In-flight
J is for Janet
K is for Kingston
L is for Landlines
M is for Murdoch
N is for Next generation
O is for Ofcom
P is for Power lines
Q is for Quad-play
R is for Remote working
S is for Satellite phones
T is for Trains
U is for Unbundling
V is for VoIP
W is for WiMax
X is for Xbox
Y is for YouTube
Z is for Zombies

The number of local government websites offering transactional services - such as online council tax payment - has increased by 36 per cent.

Other improvements noted by Socitm include better information and news, greater use of plain English and improved search services.

Four councils achieved an 'excellent' rating for their websites compared to just one last year - although numerous websites were close behind.

The four sites rated as excellent are those belonging to East Sussex County Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Salford City Council and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council.

But the survey also found some council online services still suffer from poor usability, while others are insecure or request inappropriate data.

Martin Greenwood, programme manager for Socitm Insight and author of the report, said with widespread internet access there should be a focus on encouraging greater levels of take-up of online services and improving customer access.

Janet Callender, CEO of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council said websites are increasingly underpinning frontline services and improve efficiency.