One thing you notice when you work in the public sector, is the love of league tables. If something can be measured then it is (sometime if it can’t we still try). and if you have a measure for something then you can put them all together in a league table.
Being web doesn’t excuse you from this league table obsession, in-fact it’s all automated. thanks to sitemorse – A company who have realised that measuring things is one thing. put them in a league table and you’ve got the public sector hooked, it doesn’t really matter how or what you measure.
Sitemorse measure the accessibility, function, code, performance and something else* of a website, every month they do this for all local goverment websites and make a league table. Liverpool.gov.uk was first once, and then it wasn’t nothing changed but the scores did. Over the last few months it’s been quite low [for us]. Mainly because Sitemorse a company who measure websites, decided that the way MessageLabs a company who handle email didn’t do it they way they thought they should– this ment our website had poor performance.
We talked to Sitemorse, and we talked to MessageLabs and came to the conclusion that changing the email system for a league table is silly – so we didn’t.
This month liverpool.gov.uk is 32nd. We haven’t changed anything. infact according to sitemorse it’s worse than last month, but we’ve gone up. It’s all very odd and it might sound like sour-grapes; but we (the webteam) don’t care any more about this league table.
We care about the quality of the site. but not about how it performed for a few hours one day at some point in the month (you get marked down if sites you link to are down during the test… a bit hard to control).
Of course a lot of this highlights the silliness of league tables and the supposed choice they offer people, but if you live in Liverpool, what use is it for you to go to South Bedfordshire website to find out about your leisure centres?
“so that’s why Liverpool got slated by the audit commission“
Sitemorse have recently started branching out and now do league tables for banks, and news sites. I wish them luck, but who is going to change there bank because the website isn’t top of a league table?
*none of this mesures how easy it is to find or do things on the site.