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January 8, 2010

Poor websites cost UK councils £11m a month

Socitm exposes visitor dissatisfaction with online service

By Vinod

Shoddy websites could be costing UK councils £11m a month, according to the Society of IT Managers (Socitim).

Faced with badly designed or poorly constructed sites, people are choosing to either call their council or visit a council contact centre, both far more costly channels to run.

Only 21% of the 7.3m unique visitors to the 120 council websites (a quarter of all sites) analysed by Socitm, which represents local authority IT professionals, found part of the information they were looking for.

On average, a fifth of site visitors couldn’t find the information they needed. That equates to 4.4 million failures in dealing with online enquiries across all local authorities. As each call to a council is estimated to cost roughly £2.50 to handle, local authorities could be haemorrhaging up to £11m each month.

Despite these serious misgivings about the web, it was the most popular way for citizens to contact their local authority, preferred by 70% of the customers. But it was also exposed to be the least satisfactory channel, with 42% of visitors rating its service as poor, compared to 21% of face-to-face meetings and 2% of phone calls.

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