Government on the Internet: Progress in delivering information and services online

Aug 2007

Dunleavy, P., Margetts, H., Bartholomeou, P., Bastow, S., Escher, T., Pearce, O., Tinkler, J., Broughton, H., Davies, M., & Crowley, T. (2007) Government on the Internet: Progress in delivering information and services online. National Audit Office Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, HC 529 Session 2006-2007, 13 July.

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A new report on the state of UK government on the internet has been published by the UK National Audit Office on 13 July 2007, based on research by a team from the Oxford Internet Institute
(University of Oxford) and the LSE Public Policy Group (London School of Economics and Political Science).

The report to Parliament 'Government on the internet: progress in delivering information services online' looked at the progress made by government in delivering services and information online since the NAO last reported in 2002. Government organisations spend some £208 million on websites each year. Usage of the main government websites has risen over time and some sites are widely and repeatedly used. For example 78 per cent of Jobcentre Plus online service users visited its sites at least once a week. However, the study reports a number of areas where departments and agencies could improve value for money in the provision of online information and services.

The researchers found that:

  • Government web sites tend to be text heavy and complex to understand and to navigate
  • Many agencies have little information about how much online provision of services costs
  • Most departments lack sufficient information about who is using their sites and how they are being used

The team was led by Professor Patrick Dunleavy of LSE and Professor Helen Margetts of the University of Oxford.

Professor Helen Margetts
Professor Margetts said: "There is great potential for government organizations to use the internet imaginatively, for example to identify what people want to do on line. That way, services can be designed around the citizen and citizens can interact with government using the type of applications they use in everyday life."

For the NAO press release, click here.

Press enquiries: Donna Watson NAO Press Office: Tel: +44 (0)20 7798 7038

To download a copy of the report, see below. Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on +44 (0)845 702 3474.

Related Reports

  • February 2009: The final report of the Power of Information Taskforce by the Cabinet Office calls for implementing the NAO report Government on the Internet. See the recommendations in detail
  • April 2008: As part of Ofcom's Second Public Service Broadcasting Review, MTM London used data from Government on the Internet to estimate the expenditure of UK institutions and organisations on public service content online. Download a copy of this report
  • March 2008: For the report of the Public Accounts Committee which is based on this study, see the UK Parliament website.


Professor Helen Margetts, Oxford Internet Institute on +44 (0)1865 287210 or email.

Our research methods were:

  • A survey of central government organisations to collect information about the cost and usage of their online services;
  • A census of central government websites to evaluate how informative and interactive they are;
  • Analysis of web links across the government domain to find out how ‘connected’ government websites are;
  • Experiments to explore users’ experience of government websites;
  • Focus groups and polls with citizens on how they use government services online;
  • Identification of good practice; and
  • Comparison with governments from other countries, local government and the private sector.

The study team for this report was Professor Patrick Dunleavy (LSE), Professor Helen Margetts (Oxford), Jane Tinkler (LSE), Simon Bastow (LSE), Oliver Pearce (LSE) and Tobias Escher (Oxford).

To view the contents of the Government on the Internet report, please use the links below:

Summary214.58 KB
Full Report875.8 KB
I: Quality of Online Provision374.63 KB
II: Quality of Online Provision182.93 KB
III: Future Developments204.67 KB
Appendices156.5 KB
Full Research Report655.67 KB
A: Supplementary Information417.7 KB
B: List of Organisations10.32 KB
C: Web Crawling Report96.5 KB
D: User Experiments Report98.47 KB
E: Focus Groups Report51.93 KB
F: National Survey Report35.14 KB


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