The four awards - one each for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - go to the local authority website which is judged best able to meet the needs of the user.
The selection process began with the results of the Socitm Insight 'Better Connected 2003' survey - published in February 2003 - which surveyed every council site in the UK.
The best performing sites in the survey were then subjected to further evaluation in terms of:
- the ability of the site to meet the needs of a variety of different user groups
- the amount of site help and assistance provided to users
- the ability to undertake transactions and the comprehensiveness of what was provided
- the ability to download, easily understood documents in a variety of formats
- the ease of screen navigation and clarity of design
- the availability, comprehensiveness and clarity of the A-Z section
- the depth and clarity of the resulting information returned
- the usefulness of the search engine and the ease of 'findability' of information
- the extent to which the issues of accessibility was dealt with;
- a consideration of the general usability of the site
The judging committee commented that each region contained a number of a high quality sites offering an excellent user-experience, and that deciding on a winner in each region had been a difficult task.