A new report on the state of UK government on the Internet was published today on Friday 13 July by the UK National Audit Office (NAO), based on research by a team from the Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford) and the LSE Public Policy Group (London School of Economics and Political Science).
The report to Parliament 'Government on the Internet: progress in delivering information services online' looked at the progress made by government in delivering services and information online since the NAO last reported in 2002.
Government organisations spend some £208 million on websites each year. Usage of the main government websites has risen over time and some sites are widely and repeatedly used. For example, 78% of Jobcentre Plus online service users visited its sites at least once a week.
However, the study reports a number of areas where departments and agencies could improve value for money in the provision of online information and services.
The researchers found that:
Government websites tend to be text heavy and complex to understand and to navigate
Many agencies have little information about how much online provision of services costs
Most departments lack sufficient information about who is using their sites and how they are being used
The team was led by Professor Patrick Dunleavy of the LSE and Professor Helen Margetts of the University of Oxford.
Professor Margetts said today: "there is great potential for government organizations to use the internet imaginatively, for example to identify what people want to do online. That way, services can be designed around the citizen and citizens can interact with government using the type of applications they use in everyday life."
Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office (tel: 0845 702 3474)
NAO press release available at: http://www.nao.org.uk/pn/06-07/0607529.htm
Press enquiries should be directed to: Donna Watson NAO Press Office (tel: 020 7798 7038)