Low ranking for Hounslow Council web site
Study reports high number of errors and poor accessibility
An independent analysis of local authority web sites makes painful reading for Hounslow Council with their site ranked one of the lowest in the country. The report by web site performance measurement company Sitemorse ranks the Council's site at 413th out of 461 sites measured. There were 201 errors discovered on the site and 350 site warnings generated. Only 0.79% of the pages on the site were compliant with existing government accessibility standards.
Hounslow devotes a relatively limited amount of its resources to its web site compared to other authorities. No member of staff is engaged full-time in managing the site whereas elsewhere other boroughs have sizeable teams working on development.
A poorly functioning web site is likely to hamper the Councils attempts to meet priority targets set by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The government is keen to see as many council functions able to be completed on-line as possible by 2005 and significant investment may be needed by Hounslow simply to catch up with other authorities.
Changes of personnel in the IT and communications departments are said to have held up attempts to improve the level of content and functionality on the site. It is acknowledged that the Council has a significant challenge in meeting targets set by the government for e-government and e-citizen initiatives despite having the advantage of relatively high internet and broadband usage within the borough.
Best site overall in the Sitemorse test was Tynedale, with Trafford in second place. At the bottom of the rankings was South Somerset.
September 24, 2004