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Councils failing to deliver satisfactory web services

Simon Quicke

The signs are that even before any cuts have been made local councils are at risk of failing to deliver a high enough standard of services via the web.

According to the Better Connected report from public sector body Socitim there is a real danger councils will not be able to meet their obligations in  the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Constitution Act, 2009.

There are signs already that not enough information is being shared online with 23% of councils not even listing the leader of the council on their websites.

Customer satisfaction with council web sites dropped 18% between December 2008 and 2009 and 21% of those quizzed were not able to find the information online they were looking for.

Resellers targeting councils are warning that any move towards "self-service" where the public finds its own information on the web with back office jobs cut is going to be hampered by the current failures to use technology.

Simon Etherington, UK general manager at the Objective Corporation, said the Socitim  report highlighted the problems with the current websites on offer.

"Overall the survey found that the majority of websites cannot support the move to self-service, which is going to have to happen as the direct result of increased budgetary pressures," he said.

"The results of this year's survey show little evidence that councils have ibvested in their sites over the last year to make the necessary improvements. Overall, there has been little improvement since last year and there is an increasing gap between the best and worst performing websites," he added.

Earlier this week MicroScope revealed how those targeting the public sector like Trustmarque were already seeing users come to them asking for more help in using the technology they had already bought more effectively.

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