Abstracts: March 13th, 2002

This report by the Society of IT Management in local government (SOCITM) sets out the findings of the latest survey of council websites. It makes an important contribution to gauging the level of activity in local authorities as they move towards the 2005 target of providing all service electronically. It reveals that the best council websites now perform as well as the best private sector sites. The report recognizes the critical part websites play in plans for e-government. They are becoming a mechanism for delivering services and encouraging dialogue with citizens and customers. The survey examines how well each website carries out this job in practice. Better Connected 2002 presents its findings along with a wealth of information and advice to help less developed sites improve their performance to match that of the best. It provides clear evidence that while much is improving – over one in four authorities has made a distinct improvement – overall the rate of improvement has not yet accelerated. If anything, it has slowed down from last year. Many authorities have been busy in adding transactions to their sites but this does not make them ‘transactional’. To achieve this status requires a major re-think. This takes time to implement as well as resources. The report urges councils to embrace the fact that the website is a strategic resource and act on the management issues raised in this report.
Better Connected 2002 – A snapshot of local authority websites. Report available from SOCITM. ?150 (?125 for SOCITM members).