research project from Socitm, the Society of IT Management.
Socitm, which represents senior ICT managers in local authorities and other
its annual Better Connected survey for which a team of expert reviewers
assess all 460+ local authority websites against relevant e-government and
good practice criteria.
The research into police websites, whose working title is Better Connected:
the Police, will follow the same methodology, using a structured
questionnaire to explore websites' ability to respond to citizens' needs in
all areas of police work, and to test performance in the areas of usability,
joined-up government; interactive applications; community leadership; and
responsiveness to e-mail. Accessibility for those with disabilities will
also be tested thanks to collaboration with the RNIB.
The survey will cover websites published by every one of the UK's 59 police
services, and, using the research findings, the team will classify each
website as 'promotional'; 'content'; 'content plus' or 'transactional'.
'Transactional' means significantly interactive and is seen as the goal to
which all public service websites should be aspiring in order to meet the
government's 2005 targets for modernised, information-age government.
The project research team is being advised by superintendent Peter Woods, of
Northumbria Police, author of home office supported research entitled
e-ffective, e-fficient, e-conomic, e-policing published in March 2002. The
report sets out the case for the police service nationally and
internationally to seize the huge opportunity offered by the internet to
deliver online police services that currently the public can only obtain by
visiting a police station or by using the telephone. In doing so Mr Woods
believes that police performance will be improved, crime can be reduced, and
the police can become more customer focused and responsive to public needs.
An online version of the report can be downloaded here .
According to Superintendent Woods, the new report will 'provide the first
snap-shot of how individual police organisations in the UK have adapted
their services to take account of the internet. For a growing section of
society who want to make use of public services at a time and place which is
most convenient to themselves, the internet is the first port of call. This
report will establish how the police service are delivering in this
increasingly important area and how their performance to date reflects the
modernising government agenda.'
Martin Greenwood, programme manager for Socitm Insight, which is running
the project for Socitm, comments: 'We plan to repeat the success of the local government survey which has become a key source of valuable information and advice in helping local authorities improve their websites'