Detica: UK government sites are a waste of money

by Editor 5/23/2008 4:04:00 PM

Government websites are a chronic waste of taxpayers’ money, warns UK-based technology consultancy Detica, explaining that the UK government’s failure to listen to the public and provide online services the public needs as well as failure to carefully plan its web presence are resulting in government departments losing grip over the websites and the sites themselves becoming a big waste of taxpayers' money.

Detica, consulting jobs
Detica’s warning came in response to a report issued by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which was critical of the websites’ quality and accessibility and revealed that the government is unfamiliar with the exact number of websites it has, with their running costs and possible cost saving strategies.

Andrew Rolf, head of creative services in Detica’s government business unit, says: “Government departments have rushed into gaining a presence on the web without considering the purpose of their sites,” adding that the situation “is not helped by the fact that 12-month funding cycles do nothing to support strategic development programmes or promote consistency between different sites.”

“It is hardly surprising that the resulting sites neither meet the needs of the public nor improve the operational efficiency of the departments in question… Some really basic customer service tricks are being missed. For example, website owners could ask the IT helpdesk what the most frequent requests are and place answers to those questions on the home page.”

Besides adding an FAQ page, Detica also advises the government departments behind the websites to pinpoint the target audience assign a clear purpose to them as well as clear ownership to make sure that someone is accountable and in charge of maintaining them.

“Lack of governance is the biggest single risk to government websites. Without this, any website project will quickly find all the same problems being made six months after launch,” says Rolf.  



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