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Golden Crest: How to organize the competition–some practical notes

Best of the web annual competition of towns, municipalities and regions The Golden Crest has been established in the Czech Republic in 1999. Since that time we can observe steady annual growth of the number of competitors (242 in year 2002) and also the attention of the public is growing (more than 3000 votes received). The competition has the real motivating power for the municipality representatives as well as their webmasters to compare the own online services with the best practices and to improve it.

The aim of this paper is to point out some expierences and practical advices gained during the four years of running the Golden Crest.

Prestigious Partners and Sponsors

The most respected the best of the web competition need to and can attract prestigious partners. The competition could be announced by your Ministry of informatics or your Association of towns. Do not hesitate to offer the cooperation to the most reputable personalities as ministers, famous politicians, well known journalist and top persons of relevant associations. You need to appoint the following authorities:

  • a director of the competition,
  • members of the board of honour,
  • a chairman of the jury,
  • and the judges.

Special care should be focused on the jury. We use to appoint:

  • representatives of towns and municipalities, personalities responsible for the contents and the design, representatives of the winners of the past years competitions, they can not participate in the competition (approx. 1/3 of the staff),
  • prominent publicists in the field of the public administration and internet (approx. 1/3)
  • experts in related fields in the public administration (approx. 1/3)

Keep up regular contact with competition bodies per e-mail newsletter during the competition time.

Try to find sponsors for valuable prices. Digital cameras or software are examples of suitable prices.

Open Competition

The key factor of being long term successfull and to gain broad attention of even small willages is the transparency of evaluation. The competition should be open as much as possible. All evaluations both relating to the nomination and the election of the finalists should be published on the net including all details up to the level of individual points granted by individual evaluators. We have also made good experience with participation of the competitors themselfs in the evaluation (see Rules, par. 5). Despite lots of competitor's work involved, this usage is seen positively and the competition as such is perceived as objective.

Clear Rules

You can use as an example the Rules applied in the Czech Republic. The competition is announced for the local government bodies and departments. The Golden Crest, the main prize of the competition, will be awarded to the winners of the following three categories:

  1. towns, including municipal, district and area councils;
  2. municipalities; and
  3. associations and unions of municipalities, districts and regions, including but not limited to, microregions and servers of regional local government bodies.

In the first year of your own Golden Crest it is recommended to start with just two categories: towns and municipalities or even only one common category.

Modify your procedure of evaluation according to the expected number of competitors. If you expect up to 30–50 municipalities engaged, the nomination tier is not necessary. Nominations prevent the jury being overloaded. The evaluation in the Czech competition with 242 competitors (year 2002, 105 towns, 107 villages and 30 assocciations) has relative complex procedure in the form of the nomination and subsequent selection of the finalists and winners in each category.

The nominees are identified by three groups of evaluators:

  1. Three representatives of a specialist jury (they determine 5 nominations)
  2. The competitors themselves (they evaluate all other competitors and they can not nominate themselves, 5 nominations)
  3. Members of public (they send one nomination and the number of such nominations is divided by the number of the inhabitants of the individual municipality, 1 nominations)

Thus 11 competitors are to be nominated in each category (i.e. 3 × 11 = 33 competitors in total). The specialist jury shall elect three finalists and one winner in each category out of all the nominated competitors.

Detailed rules, members of competition bodies and news should be published on the contest web site.

Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation takes into consideration three criteria:

  1. Contents
    What is to be evaluated is the contribution of the web site in terms of the scope of the information provided, the level of the detail and practical usefulness with regard to the needs of the users. Information of the execution of the public administration will be the key factor. A natural pre-condition of a success are the statutory obligations (the Act No. 106/1999 Coll. on free access to information in the Czech Republic) and the quality of the preparation. Emphasis will be placed on the provision of information exceeding the scope required by the said act. However, the evaluators may take into consideration the care after the attractiveness of the pages by including other subjects such as information on the life of the municipality and good ideas.
  2. Topical relevance
    The key emphasis will be placed on the contribution of the point of view the scope and topical relevance of the information published. Another criterion of the evaluation will be the planning and consistent and timely publication. What can be a success are in particular those pages showing a commitment and adequate, day to day work with the page and its incorporation to the communication infrastructure of the authority.
  3. Availability of the information and its graphic design
    Emphasis will be placed on a synoptic and logical lay-out of the information and the outfit of the pages with searching tools. At the same time, another evaluation criterion is the adequacy of the graphic design and the contents and the possibility to optimise graphic elements from the point of view of the rate of the loading of the information providing for the professional presentation function of the pages. Another criterion taken into account will be a barrier free access for those handicapped users.

The main prize will be awarded to the competitor whose web site got the highest number of points for the three criteria. Individual criteria will have the same weight for the final evaluation. The specialist jury may award an additional Special Award of the Specialist Jury or the award called the Most Popular Pages.

The subject-matter of the competition will be the competitors’ home page, whereas all the web pages related to an Internet presentation will be voted on as a whole web site.


Each step of evaluation takes up its specific time. Take into your consideration the Czech scheduling scheme of the Golden Crest 2002.

Step No of Days to Ceremony No of days since the previous step Comment
The competition will be announced 70 0  
Applications will be accepted 53 17  
The list of competitors will be published on the Internet and nomination process will be started 49 4 Reserve 4 days for solving lost applications at least
Nominations will be accepted 38 11 Next year we give more time for nominations, 3 weeks preferably
List of nominated competitors will be published on the Internet and evaluation by jury will be started 25 13  
Finalists for each category will be published on the Internet 5 20  
The winners of the competition will be announced at an award ceremony 0 5  

Prize Giving Ceremony

Cooperate with some popular eGovernment Conference in your country. The Golden Crest gives an attractive dimension to the conference. Consider following check list:

  • Discuss the run of the Ceremony with the conference leaders and staff.
  • Prepare the diplomas and prices in advance.
  • Pay careful attention to official inviting the partners and finalist to the Ceremony. Do not forget free tickets also for the journalists!
  • Check in advance the presence of winners and celebrities on the conference.
  • Instruct them and the speaker what to do during the Ceremony.
  • Check the prices and diplomas in the Ceremony Hall.
  • Coordinate who will hand over to whoom and what. Mistakes are fatal at this point.

If you call out only the winners (first places) at the Ceremony, do not forget to sensitive communicate with all the finalists. We organize a Finalists meeting just before the Ceremony, for example. We call out the 2nd and the 3rd place there.

Good Luck with your own Golden Crest!

The aim of this competition is to encourage the use of the Internet for provision of information by the local government bodies and departments and online presentation of towns and municipalities in support of their further development. Establishing the Golden Crest competition in your country would be a visible step toward the eGovernment principles.

Keep us in touch! Winners of your competition could be honoured in EuroCrest Award announced by the Golden Crest Association in the cooperation with the European Commission and with European IT networks.

Good Luck with your own Golden Crest!

Please, contact

The Golden Crest Association–Triada, Ltd.
U Svobodarny 1110/12, 190 00 Praha 9, Czech Republic
Phone +420 284 001 284, fax +420 284 818 027
Tomas Rencin (rencin@isss.cz)
Jan Savicky (jan.savicky@webhouse.cz)