Council Website Usage is on the Up

Webcredible poll discovers 6% increase in citizens accessing council services online and a steady increase in citizens making financial transactions online

(PresseBox) ( London, )
The latest poll conducted by user experience consultancy Webcredible, has shown that citizen use of council websites is increasing - albeit at a conservative pace. A survey of 1,077 people showed that 73% of residents access their local council website to gather information about services or to perform online payment transactions.

Webcredible conducted the same survey 12 months ago and found that 67% of citizens used council websites. This 6% overall increase represents a small but significant change in the way in which people are beginning to engage with their local council.

Respondents to the survey showed that 27% of citizens never used council websites, 34% used them occasionally to find information, 9% used them often but just for information, 10% used the sites and would consider making a transaction and 20% used the sites for information and transactions.

Trenton Moss, director Webcredible comments, "It is encouraging to see that there is an increase in the number of citizens who are accessing council websites and that more people are going online rather than choosing to use traditional methods to interact with their local council. This change in attitude is partly due to the public's general desire to interact online, but also due to the time and effort which council IT departments have put into making their sites more user friendly and accessible. There has been an increase from 16% - 20% in citizens using council websites to make payments and transactions, this equates to a 25% jump and represents a sure and steady increase."

Richard Beards, web team leader, Northamptonshire County Council states, "I think the results from the Webcredible poll are a fair reflection of what is happening in the public sector generally. For example, Northants has seen an increase of 30,000 unique visitors to its site over the last 12 months. This is partly due to the public becoming more 'switched on'to the online world but also local councils are becoming more creative in the way that they develop their sites."

Beards continues, "They are adopting a more commercial attitude to online services. Web development and access to online services has previously been driven by SOCITM and e-government initiatives but now it is by user demand. As a result councils are offering greater levels of personalisation and interactivity and are not afraid to let users customise their homepage and mash-up sites. Councils are able to enhance the user experience but still provide high levels of accessibility."

Summary of Results

Based on 1077 votes, the results so far are:

Which describes your use of local government (council) websites?

- Never used them - 290 votes (27%)
- Used occasionally to find information - 367 votes (34%)
- Used often for information only 95 votes (9%)
- Used, would consider making transactions - 110 votes (10%)
- Used for information & transactions - 215 votes (20%)
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