Local government web sites outperform their central government counterparts when it comes to providing information to the public, according public sector ICT management body Socitm.
According to figures in the Use of the web - local government compared with central government report, 54 per cent of respondents said council web sites provide better information than central government sites, which were favoured by just 38 per cent.
However, Socitm said that growing financial pressure on councils meant the need to improve web site interactions will only increase.
"There is a financial imperative to improve the web interaction experience for citizens as it's a lot cheaper to manage online requests for information than it is to manage phone calls," said a Socitm spokeswoman.
"People's expectations rise all the time about what they can do online, though, so it gets harder to give people everything they want, but it's useful to have a benchmark figure from which to try and improve."
In something of a twist, the survey found visitor satisfaction scores were higher for central government web sites (45 per cent) than local government web sites (31 per cent).
However, Socitm said it considered the first set of figures a more reliable indicator as to the true worth of a government web site.
"Giving people what they actually want from a web site is the most important thing so although satisfaction may be higher, it doesn't necessarily mean they are getting specific information," said Socitm's spokeswoman.
"Secondly, because surveys on local government sites run regularly, users are possibly more prone to vent their feelings more explicitly than on central government surveys, which are run less frequently so people's replies can be more benign."
The figures were gleaned from an average of 25,000 responses per month from users on 130 local government web sites that Socitm runs surveys for.
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