It's no surprise to me that the eGovernment monitor reports that "most local authority websites are failing to provide meaningful assistance to their users". Research commissioned by web navigation company Q-go revealed that the majority of council websites "lacked the basic functionality needed to direct customers to service and payment information quickly". Although most of the sites surveyed offered keyword search facilities, the information delivered was often irrelevant or over complex. The Sites were also often "dull and outdated" lacking online help or links to e-mail addresses.

It's easy to criticise the public sector and particularly Local Authorities (LAs) that aren't "on message", when it comes to using the Internet in the way that central government has mandated. Trouble is, as a number of LA mangers pointed out to me at an eGovernment conference in London at the end of last year, "most of us have day jobs" and "funds are invariably in short supply". It's not just a gap between ambition and execution, it's more likely to be a gulf once you leave the big city authorities behind. What we need I suspect, is a single standard, a single template and a consistent source of funding that is directed towards a problem which is not seen as a priority by many. Perhaps the huge income now being generated by armies of traffic wardens should be part-directed towards better Local Authority websites or even more policemen?

Anyone disagree?


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