NET 24 - Case Study - Jo Byron
With regard to Information Communication Technologies (ICT), "people can use such systems in order to make connections between each other and between themselves and information" (Green and Harvey, 1999). This is so true and we will continue to use them, especially in the burgeoning area of e-government. However, my findings from this case-study make me feel that local council websites are vastly under-promoted. As a result of my research and largely for
my own interest, rather than a formal survey, I sent an email to 20 people around the world, asking them how often they accessed their own local council site. Only 3 of them went to their local authority site regularly and 12 of them had never accessed their council site at all. I would recommend that local councils promote their site more ardently through a non-online medium, perhaps via local newspapers or regional TV.
that the level of interactivity on most sites was weak, people need
to be able to exchange information and that means giving/recieving data.
More local councils should have forums on their sites to allow an online
community to grow. Interestingly enough, there are rarely political
forums on a local council site. It seems that political forums are kept
more as "community of interest" type sites.
There also seems to be a lack of interaction from community leaders on local council sites. If the enthusiasm starts at the "top" and these people are active online, that enthusiasm will often spread throughout the community.
some of the above items have not manifested themselves yet is because
the back office administration at the council offices just is not in
place to support this kind of interactivity. Funding & staff with
the correct skill sets are essential for this to happen. As recognition
of the power of the Internet grows, hopefully it will lead to "better
administration transparency and efficiency and also to a better citizen's
access to information, discussion areas and public services" (Romania,
technology is around, but is not the norm. It would be nice to see local
councils setting a precedent with accessibility techniques such as talking
web pages, mouse free navigation, and relevant graphic images to complement