The usability is of local government websites is often hindered by the third party software that manages services such as renewing library books or paying parking fines.
This is according the Socitm, the body representing people in public sector IT, which is holding a Use of third party software: addressing a major problem for council web teams event to combat the issue.
The organisation conducts an annual survey of council websites, which is how it became aware of the problems facing the teams responsible for running them.
Socitm has also recently commissioned a “mystery shopping” exercise that covered some common tasks undertaken by visitors to social care pages of council websites which it claims underlined problems.
In this study, three common tasks: applying for a blue badge/disabled parking, find equipment for the elderly and find respite care for carers were undertaken.
Each participant completed two the above three tasks and record their experiences on video and rated the entire experience.
Although the blue badge test was rated very good by 72% of respondents, equipment for the elderly was only rated highly by 12% and just 8% had good things to say about finding respite care.
Socitm claims these results are in line with those from their annual council websites survey and that these issues that keep arising are down to poorly integrated third party software.
The organisation says issues with the software itself, problems that arise because of procurement specifications or the way it was implemented by in-house teams is sometimes behind this.