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Government on the internet

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A new report on the state of UK government on the internet is published by the UK National Audit Office today (Friday 13 July), based on research by a team from the LSE Public Policy Group| and the Oxford Internet Institute| (University of Oxford).

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 per cent 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 web sites 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 LSE and Professor Helen Margetts of the University of Oxford.

Professor Margetts said: 'There is great potential for government organisations to use the internet imaginatively, for example to identify what people want to do on line. 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.'

To download a copy of the report, go to www.nao.gov.uk| or www.governmentontheweb.org|

Click here to read a review of the report from Headstar.com|


For the NAO press release, see http://www.nao.org.uk/news_press.htm|

Press enquiries: Donna Watson NAO Press Office: Tel: 020 7798 7038.

Contact: Professor Helen Margetts, Oxford Internet Institute on 01865 287210 email: h.margetts@ox.ac.uk|, see

Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474. 

Press cuttings

In brief - Govt websites panned (20 July)
The government's websites are difficult to understand and lacking in information despite the £208 million spent on them, according to a joint paper by researchers at LSE and Oxford University that was published by the National Audit Office.

Computer World UK
Government websites not much improved, says NAO
(16 July)

Public Technology Net
UK e-Government: National Audit Office gives its verdict... (16 July)
Government has made progress in making a wide range of information available to the public through the internet. But the National Audit Office has found that although internet users rate government websites reasonably well, the quality of those websites has improved only slightly since 2002. This report was produced on behalf of the National Audit Office by a joint team from the London School of Economics Public Policy Group and the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford.

BBC News Online
Government websites 'too complex' (13 July)
Many government websites are still too complicated and difficult to use, says the National Audit Office

13 July  2007