Weekly Broadcast Thursday 26 August 2010
Local & central government web performance
Socitm Insight has just published a short report comparing performance data from 123 councils participating in the Website Takeup Service with data from central government websites collected by the CoI and published in June. The data covers website costs, usage, satisfaction and success of visits. Use of the web - local government compared with central government is available to subscribers to Socitm's Website Takeup Service and to Socitm Insight subscribers, who may download copies from the Socitm website.
The Daily Telegraph published an article on 16 August with the headline Councils spending millions on website design as job cuts loom. It was based on a series of FoI requests to councils about what they spend on websites, and quoted costs per council for 'website re-design' ranging from £250 to £2.8m with costs for annual spend ranging from £729,000 to £4000. Clearly there is currently no consistent basis for costing website maintenance and development across the local government sector. However, Socitm Insight's Channel value benchmarking service does some work in this area by benchmarking the cost and performance of all customer access channels, including the web, for participating councils. The next CVB series starts 1 October in London.
Reminder: update your data and get FREE access to the Applications Register
Don't forget to update data for your council on Socitm's new Applications Register, created by merging material previously held on LB Brent's eGovernment Register and Socitm's Software Index. Emails went out a couple of months ago inviting public sector organisations to do this and thereby secure a free subscription to the Applications Register. Those who do not update their data will have to pay in order to gain access. There has been a good response to our invitation, but some authorities are yet to take action. Why not go to the Socitm Applications Register website to update your data now?
Socitm joins with CIPFA, LeGSB and LG Group to advise on open data publishing
Socitm is working with CIPFA, LeGSB and the Local Government Group to advise councils on open data publishing, and the Local Open Data Community we originally set up for our open elections project is now being used as a key repository of information and resources and discussion on this topic. The Local Government Group has written to councils with information about this collaborative activity, and to ask for details of the lead officer on the expenditure publishing collating and publishing council spending and contracts over £500 - you can find copies of these letters in the CoP. LG Group will be posting a running list of councils that have published spending data, but meanwhile the best list is on the CLG website with analysis to be found on www.openlylocal.com.
Library services: users are switching to online
There's been much in the news this week about dramatic falls in visits to libraries. But this doesn't necessarily mean public library services are any less popular. Figures from Socitm's Website takeup service show that 23.8m people across the UK accessed library information and services through websites in the first 6 months of 2010, up from 20.9m in the same six month period in 2009. WTS data also shows that library enquiries (renewals, enquiries about availability of title, opening times and more) are regularly in the top three of all web enquiries every month. Details about subscribing to the Website takeup service can be found on the Socitm website.
Weekly Broadcast Thursday 19 August 2010
Latest from Socitm.tv - Green ICT policy
Catalina McGregor - named by Computer Weekly as one of the most significant drivers of Green ICT in the western world - explains how local government organisations can play a key role in shaping future carbon reduction policies.
View the video at: Socitm TV
Weekly Broadcast Thursday 12 August 2010
Missed William Heath on Friday's Today programme? Hear more at Socitm 2010
2010 speaker William Heath was on form when interviewed for Friday's
Today Programme about the closure of the ContactPoint database. Having
explained the confidentiality issues inherent in a database of 12m
records accessible to around 300,000 people, he was then asked by John
Humphries: 'surely if you've got nothing to hide, being on a public
database isn't a problem' (or words to that effect). 'Anyone who hasn't
got anything to hide isn't living life properly.......' came the response.
Read more about William Heath's objections to large government databases
and something about his work on better ways of sharing personal
information (his topic at Socitm 2010) in his blog and come along and hear more at Socitm 2010.
Tomorrow's public services: some stories from everyday life in 2012
What will it be like to use or provide public services in two to three years' time, when public spending cuts and high levels of demand have done their worst?
This is the imaginary future a new Socitm report, Tomorrow's public services: some stories from everyday life in 2012, attempts to capture. Readers are invited to take a journey to the imaginary county of Loamshire to share the experiences of what it might be like to use and provide public services in the future.
Costs reduced and user satisfaction up says benchmarking summary
Benchmarking services summary for 2009 is now available to view and download for employees of organisations that subscribe to Socitm Insight. This requires registration on this site so that you can log in. Go to the 'register' button and when you get to the registration page you will be able to use a look up facility to see if your organisation is a subscriber. If they are, you will be able to access Socitm Insight publications when logged in.
Weekly Broadcast Thursday 5 August 2010
Does your council engage with hyperlocal websites?
In Better connected and its various reports on social media, Socitm Insight has discussed the benefits of engagement with community-led websites. We are therefore encouraging members to complete a survey being conducted by Networked Neighbourhoods (who will be contributing to the Big Society session at Socitm 2010) on this topic. You can access the questionnaire at: Surveymonkey.com
Participants will receive a copy of the research, together with a free guide on citizen-led neighbourhood websites.
How to respond to new policies on open data: Insight briefing
Socitm Insight has published a briefing on the new requirements around open data publishing and transparency. Open data and transparency: no turning back fills in the political background to this development and looks at potential benefits for the public and for the performance of public sector organisations. The briefing makes suggestions about how councils should approach a development that it suggests could be as disruptive to traditional public sector ways of doing things as the internet has been for media businesses. The briefing is available to employees in Socitm Insight subscribing organisations, who can download it from www.socitm.net
Publishing spending, tenders and contracts >£500: workshop outcome
Last Monday (2 August), Socitm organised a 'quick and dirty' workshop for six local authorities in the West Midlands to exchange notes on how they were approaching the task and the associated challenges. As result of the meeting, William Perrin, a member of the Local Data Panel who also attended the meeting will be updating the advice to local authorities first published in June on data.gov.uk. There is also a blog on the meeting in Local Open Data Community (it's behind a login but free to join) which links this to the wider LGA Group initiative on local open data, in which Socitm in closely involved. Open data will also feature as a key topic in the Socitm 2010 programme.
Socitm joins Race Online 2012 - watch the video on Socitm.tv
Socitm has signed up as an official partner for Race Online 2012. The campaign, led by UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox, aims to make the UK one of the first developed countries in the world to achieve near-total internet use by 2012. You can watch an interview with Martha Lane Fox on Socitm TV, in which she sets out a practical action plan for councils to get their communities online and enable citizens to benefit from greater education and employment opportunities and more efficient transactions.
Benchmarking summary shows ICT functions improve performance in 2009
Socitm Insight's just released Benchmarking services: summary for 2009 provides an analysis of results from local authorities participating in Socitm's Benchmarking the ICT service and Benchmarking user satisfaction services during 2009. It shows that ICT functions improved service performance and user satisfaction. Socitm Insight subscribers can download the report from the Socitm website.
Socitm News 117 out now and available for download at: Socitm.net