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UK citizens have a poor perception of e-Government

A recent survey of British public awareness of e-Government has found that 73 per cent of the public have not noticed the impact of the investment in government services, while almost half of those who have noticed are unhappy with it.

Because one of the key objectives of e-Government is to make public services more accessible to citizens, the survey, conducted by e-Service software provider Transversal, also investigated how the public contacts local authorities and government departments.

When asked about ways to improve public sector websites, the most popular answer from respondents (32 per cent) was the ability to answer questions from the public.

At present, almost 60 per cent of those questioned prefer to phone their local council, rather than e-mailing or checking on the Web.

Although 88 per cent said that if the council website could respond quickly and accurately, they would far rather deal with the government online.

Transversal argues that one clear mistake local authorities make, is putting up static FAQ pages. These are not flexible enough and fail to give Government an insight into public needs or concerns, pointing instead to web self-service solutions as a viable alternative.

This in turn, increases reliance on government call centres, widely criticised for being slow and unresponsive, Transversal says.

Gerard Buckley, CEO of Transversal, says: "While significant public funds have been ploughed in to content management and CRM systems, there are few public sector websites that allow us to ask a question and receive an intelligent answer in return. The public clearly hasn't noticed any improvement in public sector websites."

"If the government is really serious about e-Government, they must go back and do some basic things to ensure the public can easily access information and have the ability to ask and receive answers to their questions efficiently online," he added.

Sources: Net Imperative, The Register

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