Self service and the enhancement of democratic processes take second place to news and information dissemination on the web sites of UK local authorities. There are regional differences in the way what content and services are the most prominent on the web sites of UK local authorities and indications that the size of local authority may be a significant variable the extent of online content and services offered by local authorities in the UK.
Percentage of content and services available on the surveyed UK local authority sites – a few findings from the survey:
• Content in other language than English: 50%
• Application forms filled out and submitted online: 50%
• Online Poll: 21%
• Enlarge text (for the visually impaired): 31%
• Login to a service web: 14%
• Online newsletter which users can sign up for: 0%
These are one of the findings of an new survey of 15 randomly selected of web sites of major local authorities in the UK. The survey was conducted by Jon Thorsteinsson, an independent researcher who has surveyed web sites of Icelandic local authorities since 2002.
Comparison With Icelandic Local Authority Web Sites
The survey estimates how web stites of 15 UK local authorities and 30 of the largest Icelandic local auhthorities fulfill three different roles:
• Self Service Centre
• News and Information Dissemination
• Forum for Democratic Exchange
The survey compares the amount of online features and content offered by UK and Icelandic local authorities. Although the UK local authorities have more content and services overall, the average score for the largest Icelandic local authorities was significantly higher than the score achieved by the typically much larger UK local authorities.
The survey concludes with an extensive to-do list and an issues list for local authorities employing online services.
An extract from the survey is also avaible online on http://www.simnet.is/jonhth/extract.pdf
About the Survey
The survey for the UK web sites was conducted in March 2004 while the Icelandic sites were surveyed in January and March 2004. A separate paper in Icelandic covering the Icelandic sites in detail has already been published. It is the third consecutive survey of web sites of Icelandic local authorities Jon Thorsteinsson has conducted and published online since 2002.
Websites of the 15 UK local authorities surveyed
The 30 Largest Icelandic Local Authorities Surveyed
Jón Heiðar Þorsteinsson
Published on: 12:00AM on 2nd April 2004