Government websites rated as being good

The recommendations from the experts who evaluated the government website competition for the first time, this year say the government websites are static and not updated limiting their benefits and use.

The competition was held as per the directives of the Prime Minister of Bhutan with the generic objectives and agency specific aims. It was started in the end of March 2014.

The Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) ranked first followed by Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. The Department of Traditional Medicine Services stood at the bottom.

Awarding the certificates to the winners, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said ICT is very important for economic development and to provide services to the people. He said the websites must be maintained and utilized properly to maximize the services.

He said a lot to needs to be done in content creation for the websites as it can increase the function of the website and also pull in higher ratings. The PM said more of such competitions related to ICT will be conducted in the future to bring about innovative, powerful and useful websites.

As per the press release from Ministry of Information and Communications, the objective of the competition was to encourage agencies to use their websites as an important channel for information and services, to ensure regular updates and enhancements are made on government websites and to increase the utility of websites for citizens.

The competition also set challenges in terms of setting criteria and parameters to ensure maximum objectivity as possible since such an evaluation was carried out first time in Bhutan, the release adds.

The evaluation was carried by an eight-member committee from the private sector and was done based on the six categories, such as usability and reliability, content and aesthetic, security and privacy, services related information, citizen participation and other additional features.

The top ranked website was rated as good and 56 sites was rated as average and 41 websites was evaluated as sufficient sites. It was also reflected that the websites lacked the menu designs based on the content, categorization of information and relevant presentation of information, lack of Dzongkha version and the non-responsiveness to different screen sizes used for accessing the websites.

It also addressed on the accessibility problem because of low bandwidth, missing site content searching feature, lack of disclaimer and copy right information, lack of proper archival of information, and use of outdated content management systems.

The competition had a few drawbacks due to the insufficient time allocated for the evaluation. It also required some fund mobilization and difficulty in evaluation as different websites serve different purposes.

In the next six months, the Ministry of Information and Communications plans to conduct websites competition compulsorily for all government websites as one category and voluntarily for corporations and private sector. The ministry will also look at the criteria set based on the intended functions of the websites by grouping them together. The results of the next competition will be declared in January 2015.

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