Councils score double with big rise in interactive sites

The number of councils with transactional functions on their websites has doubled since this time last year, according to a survey by council IT managers group Socitm.

The number of councils with transactional functions on their websites has doubled since this time last year, according to a survey by council IT managers group Socitm.

For its Better Connected 2007 report, Socitm surveyed 468 councils in November and December last year. It found that the number offering transactions on their websites had doubled from 60 in 2006 to 121 in 2007. This included councils that were able to interact with the public online, as well as those that enabled financial transactions.

London boroughs are the most likely to have transactional websites, with 64% offering the facility. But only 14% of Welsh unitary authorities offer transactional facilities on their websites.

Barking & Dagenham came top in the assessment of council websites, which included measures such as usefulness of content, usability, search quality and accessibility.

There were 15.1 million visitors to local authority websites in December 2006, an increase of 27% over December 2005, the report found.

Martin Greenwood, programme manager for Socitm Insight and author of the report, said that although more sites were transactional, they still struggled on usability.

"The report shows that usability remains a key challenge - only one out of 121 transactional sites meets all five of our criteria for excellent usability, whereas 21 do so for excellent content," he said.

Of the 168 sites that have a registration process, only 19 were using an "https" secure connection and were considered by reviewers to be well presented. The report described this finding as a "major concern".

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

 

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