Council websites hold key to efficiency savings

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Council websites hold key to efficiency savings

Lindsay Clark

Government IT managers group Socitm believes that “a significant slice” of the 2.5% efficiency gain the Treasury expects local government to make can come from transferring contact with the public to self-service websites.

The Public Sector Efficiency Review, prompted by last year’s Gershon report, has created a new driver for council website development, according to a Socitm briefing paper. It recommended that councils exploit the efficiencies of "citizen self-service" via websites.

“A significant slice of the annual 2.5% efficiency gain expected of local authorities over the next three years could potentially come from transferring activity from mediated services (in person or on the phone) to self-service via websites,” the briefing says. 

But the paper adds that this goal can only be achieved if websites have well-developed transactional capacities, are simple to find and easy to use, and effectively promoted.

Council website development has been driven by the government target to get services online before the end of the year and by the priority outcomes set by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The briefing draws on Socitm's lastest annual survey of council websites to show how councils are using their websites to greatest effect, what services they should consider putting online, and the reasons people return to council websites they have used.

It also details the best performing councils' websites in England and how well council websites are performing on priority outcomes.

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