Local government’s progress on digital transformation is too slow for it to save council services, according to this year’s detailed review of council websites by Socitm.
The representative body for public sector ICT professionals released its Better Connected 2015 report today, concluding that progress is “slow and intermittent based on returns from expert reviewers.
In addition, responses from the public show a large rise in dissatisfaction with council web services.
In the report foreword, Jason Kitcat, leader of Brighton & Hove Council, said: “What has been achieved so far is miraculous – there is some fabulous digital work out there; some brilliant apps, websites and more as evidenced by this report.
“But it’s not enough. If we continue at this pace of change, the transformation will only be ready long after our sector is dead and buried.”
He said that the sector needs to “turbo-charge” digital transformation, and backed the creation of a Local Government Digital Service run by and for local government.
He said: “This should be an approach that prevents reinvention of the wheel where possible (how many separate times are councils building ‘My Account’ functions?) and which provides collective leadership.”
The report showed that half the new websites launched in 2014 did not lead to an improvement in rankings given by its reviewers.
The report’s other key findings include:
- 34 councils (8% of the total and two more than in 2014) have achieved the top, four star ranking;
- Last year’s decline in top ranked sites (down in 2014 to 32 from 39 in 2013), attributed to the full incorporation of mobile testing, has been halted;
- A significant increase in the number of councils that have implemented a responsive site, up from 107 (26%) last year to 198 (49%);
- Mobile experience has improved only slightly with 32% passing the general assessment of the mobile experience (31% last year);
- On accessibility for disabled people, there has been a marked improvement, with 43% of sites being assessed as ‘satisfactory’ up from 26% in 2014;
- Public satisfaction with the user experience from council websites has dropped by 30%