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UK e-Government competition

26/01/2006

A Scottish rural community website has been short-listed for a UK-wide e-Government award.

The Executive's Rural Community Gateway Website (RCGW) was runner-up in one of the best sites of the year award at the e-Government National Awards in London last night.

The site, which attracts between 17,000 and 25,000 visits per month, provides information and a forum for rural communities to share experience across the whole of Scotland.

Deputy Rural Development Minister Rhona Brankin today welcomed the news. She said:

"We have supported the Rural Community Gateway Website with funding of £275,000 from its' initial development in late 2002. Although we are disappointed that the Gateway did not win the award in this instance, being a finalist among such strong competition is in itself an achievement and I am delighted that the hard work of all involved has been recognised by our peers.

"Winning this award recognises the value of the Gateway but neither we nor our delivery partners are complacent about the need to continually develop and refresh what we offer. We have commissioned an independent evaluation of the site which will be published in April and will be used to inform its future direction".

The Rural Community Gateway Website (RCGW) went live on March 10, 2003, and has been funded by SEERAD since then. The existing contract for delivery is due for review in late 2006.

The Gateway is a first stop shop for information and a forum for rural communities to share information and experience across the whole of rural Scotland. RCGW is for Scotland's rural communities and as such is editorially independent, to represent the needs of rural Scotland and to allow rural communities to shape the development of the website.

The site allows users to access:

  • a library of useful documents
  • up to date news affecting rural Scotland
  • a contacts list of people and organisations
  • links to other relevant websites
  • a "what's on" list of national events
  • a discussion forum of "hot" issues
  • a regular poll on a topic of interest

The site has over 2300 registered users and there are between 17,000 and 25,000 visits to the site every month.

The four main objectives for the evaluation of the site are:

  • to evaluate the Gateway against the original objectives
  • to locate the Gateway in the prevailing community web environment
  • to explore further developments/improvements to the Gateway
  • to explore future options for direction and sustainability

The e-Government awards are supported by the UK Government Cabinet Office e-Government Unit, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE) and were presented last night at a dinner in the Savoy Hotel in London. The website was short-listed in the 'Voluntary Sector or other Intermediary' category.