Headlines: May 10th, 2005

County councils who were criticised last week by the Society of IT Management for failing the e-democracy because many did not promote the county council elections, see Publicnet 6 May 2005, have now been judged by the Society to have passed the test for the way they used websites to publicise the results of the elections.Three quarters of county councils provided good information quickly about their election results and presented them in an easy-to-use and generally effective manner. All but one of the 34 councils had their results published by 9am on Saturday 7 May, with nearly two thirds reporting results as they came in.

At the time of the first survey only four counties were rated as very good, with another five rated as satisfactory. 20 were rated ‘poor’ and five councils provided no information at all. A brief look was taken at those council sites which ‘failed’ this first stage on the evening of May 4th, and by the time of the election itself, almost all had made sure at least the list of candidates was available, together with instructions about voting, and encouragement to do so. Only one county council still ignored the election on its eve.

Martin Greenwood, Programme manager for Socitm said “No formal evaluation was attempted, but the overall impression is that three quarters of councils provided complete, up-to-date, and clear information. Of the quarter which did not, the results tended to be there but were late, or poorly displayed, or details were buried in ‘pdf’ files.”