An evaluation of the information content of local authority websites in the UK using citizen-based scenarios

Wendy Olphert, Leela Damodaran

Abstract


The UK Government is pursuing ambitious targets for the delivery of e-government at the local level. As part of the implementation of local e-government, all of the 468 local authorities in the UK now have a website. Surveys show significant advances in the delivery of online local government services, but despite this the level of usage of e-government by citizens in the UK is low compared to other countries at a similar level of e-maturity. One reason hypothesised for this is that the websites do not meet citizens' information needs and consequently fail to engage them. A pilot study was undertaken to explore the use of real life scenario-based queries as a method for evaluating information provision on local authority websites. The findings suggest that even websites that perform highly in terms of accessibility, transactional capability and ease of use will not necessarily meet citizens' information needs. The authors conclude that a citizen-centred approach to developing e-government systems, including the identification of information needs, could generate the 'user pull' needed to stimulate uptake and achieve the intended benefits.

Keywords


e-government; websites; information needs; citizenship;

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CILIP Registered Charity no 313014

ISSN 1756-1086 (Online)