“Your council is a website” says tech expert Tom Steinberg

“Your council is a website”

Meeting user needs through digital channels

At Socitm 2012, Tom Steinberg, Director & Founder, mySociety gave a talk titled “Your council is a website” where he argued that a local council’s web presence would eventually be the main, perhaps only, way that citizens interacted with local government and thus should be given high priority.

He gave the example of Amazon.co.uk, which actually consists of thousands of employees, warehouses and offices but to the general public it is a website and their impression of the company will be based entirely on what they see online.

For the next generation what council services are will be what you look like on the web. It’s not just one front door that will be all that you are,” he explained.

He went on to say that “in order for councils to look as good as they need to, to remain legitimate, a transformation has to happen that puts user centred design and meeting user needs through digital channels right at the top – as high as anything else like meeting legal responsibilities or protecting children.”

“If this does not happen then it will come as no surprise when people will no longer want to pay for council services,” he warned.

He expressed his deep concern about the issue when he said that “a failure to keep up with standards of digital channel will add to the weight of distrust that the public has in the government.”

Steinberg had written an article on the same topic earlier, which can be read here.

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