The Society of IT Management (Socitm) has published its annual report on council website performance called Better Connected 2013 which says that local authorities should be doing more to improve websites and work towards the government’s ‘digital by default’ agenda. The results are supported by visitor feedback data taken from a survey of council website users. The organisation has also announced plans to publish a framework in April to help UK authorities draw up digital strategies.
Better Connected 2013
Some points in its findings include an increase in the number of sites rated four-star and a small decline since 2012 in the number of sites achieving three and four stars. It also gives examplles of councils who allow residents to customise their own user accounts.
According to the report, a “failure to improve websites, or even maintain existing standards, will undermine the potential to deliver savings and efficiencies associated with channel shift and to meet customers’ growing expectations of what service delivery online should be like. These are key goals of the Government’s Digital Strategy published in November last year.”
In the foreword to Better Connected 2013, Martin Reeves, chief executive of Coventry City Council and president of the Society of Local Government Chief executives has said: “This year’s Better Connected report should be required reading for every senior manager and chief executive in local government. The report gives us an important insight into how it feels as a customer of our services and for some of us it’s a salutary reminder that stuff that feels obvious to us can seem a mystery to the vast majority of people who don’t understand our jargon and our organisational structures.”
Framework for local digital strategies
Socitm also plans to publish a framework which will help councils come up with their own digital strategies, based on the national Government Dgitial Strategy, to be published in April. It will use Socitm’s work, including the Better Connected report.
According to Martin Greenwood, Director of the Socitm Insight programme, digital services range much wider than the website to social media, mobile web and apps and ” must be seen as an opportunity for redesigning services. Digital is much more about interaction, making sure the full process of any service benefits from moving online.”
IT Trends 2012/13: Riding the wave of change is another report recently published by Socitm which says that “ICT managers should be planning for a shortage of digital skills as the workforce, empowered by ‘consumer IT’, demand better facilities at work.”
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