Abstracts: March 14th, 2007

This survey of local government websites from the Society of IT Management shows that the number of councils with transaction websites has risen to 121, which is double the number recorded last year. Transaction website are those where people can transact business with the council, in contrast to sites which are restricted to providing information. 468 sites across the UK were surveyed, but only Barking & Dagenham achieved the new ‘excellent’ rating. Salford City, Surrey CC and West Lancashire DC missed the excellent rating by one failure out of nine criteria.The practice of getting people to register for online services was examined in 168 sites with a registration process, Only 19 sites of these sites were found to have a registration form that is secure with a ‘url’ prefixed with ‘https’. The reviewers considered all 19 sites to be well presented, with the registration process and reasons for registering clearly described. The report expresses concern that the majority of sites were not considered secure.

The Better Connected survey is carried out each year by a team of reviewers who visit all council websites, and using a 93 question document, assess how well each website performs on features such as content, currency, the quality and availability of interactive applications and usability including the quality of search functions, navigation, A-Z lists, and maps and forms.

The survey is available from www.socitm.gov. The cost is 395 pounds.