Better Connected 2006, a UK survey of local authority websites, shows mixed results [eGov Monitor]

Local authority internet services in the UK are showing signs of improvement, though the overall level of progress is slowing, a major survey reveals.

The eighth annual Socitm Insight survey of local authority websites – Better Connected 2006 – also concluded that general improvements in the functionality of council websites is being offset by a reduction in overall usability.

The survey found that a total of 60 councils now offer the highest level of ‘transactional’ website whereby customers can access council services online. This figure has increased from 38 last year and in London alone it means that more than four-in-ten councils are now rated as transactional.

But beneath this highest level the survey found that improvement has stagnated. For example the number of councils with “content plus” sites – the level below transactional – remained the same over the past year at 226, while the number of content sites – the second to lowest rating – fell by only 11.

Tests on council search engines showed only one-in-ten sites could find the four most common terms researchers believed any local authority site should be able to handle.

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