2014-04-01 10:57:40 - The Government has adopted a “Digital by Default” strategy and a new platform – GOV.UK - for its online communications, and there are some clear signs of the change in the first Sitemorse benchmark of the central government sector in 2014.
No less than 175 of the 271 sites we benchmarked have moved up our table this time, including top sites belonging to the Northern Ireland Department of Education, UK taxman HMRC, and the Central Arbitration Committee, an independent body whose role is to resolve trade union disputes. The results would seem to indicate that the general standard of web governance across the sector is on the rise.
The new GOV.UK platform has replaced Directgov and Business Link as a hub for government activity. Currently all 24 ministerial departments, 23 non-ministerial departments and more than 340 government agencies and public bodies use Gov.uk, with the rest are gradually being merged into it.
Taking the lead this time in our Index is the site
of the Northern Ireland Department of Education, based in Londonderry and a part of the NI Direct web hub. With a score of 7.1 of a possible ten marks, the Department of Education site rises 17 places in the table since the previous benchmark in Q4 2013.
H M Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which headed our Central Government Index for two quarters last year, rises four spots in the table this time to second position with an overall score of 6.9/10.
In third place this time is the website of the Central Arbitration Committee, a permanent independent body with statutory powers whose role is to resolve trade union and collective bargaining disputes. The CAC site drops down one place and scores 6. 7/10.
• Biggest climbers up the table this time include Horniman Public Museum and Public Park Trust, up 99 places to 43rd overall, the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, which rises 106 places to 7th overall, 'Bona Vacantia’, the office of the treasury solicitor, up 113 places to 22nd, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, also up 113 to 106th, and top riser the UK Border Agency, up 209 places to 28th overall.
Inside the top twenty sites the Money Advice Service rises 18 places to take fourth position, the Farm Animal Welfare Committee is at sixth having risen 20 places, and there are improvements for the government intelligence and security organisation GCHQ, the Pensions Regulator, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Council for Science and Technology.
• Fast-loading web pages are important, so readers of our Index might be interested to see the average response time we recorded when testing each site. A response time above 0.75 seconds can have a negative effect on user experience. The Government Art Collection and the Civil Aviation Authority are the top performers here, with average response times just 0.01 seconds for a tested page to load.
• Accessibility, now backed by law, remains a key criterion for any site. HMRC maintains the highest score here, with 9 out of a possible ten marks. Eight government sites including the Food Standards Agency and the UK Intellectual Property Office score 8/10, a slight improvement on last quarter, when only seven sites achieved this score.
About the Index
The scores for the Central Government table are created by Sitemorse (www.sitemorse.com) using its automated software that reads and reviews the first 125 pages of each site and places them in a ranked table based on User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO).
The quarterly Index Website Review, powered by the Sitemorse software platform, is an important independent benchmark that clearly shows how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It’s also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.
Sitemorse services such as Governisation and the Web Management Toolkit immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence.
They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation. Contact us to request further details and / or an example.