Meeting the needs of the engaged minority

The next phase of the Government’s GOV.uk  beta site – Inside Government – went live a couple of days ago.

Its purpose/content in their own words:

“This is the place where, in future, people who are personally or professionally interested in the business of government will be able to research how government works and see what it is doing.” Neil Williams – Project Manager at Government Digital Service (GDS)

There are, at this stage, ten Government Departments who have, and are, providing updates for an experimental period of six weeks. It’s described as a live test of a publishing system.

The participating Departments  are (with links, to both the – beta Inside Government -  site and the current official site for comparative purposes):

Whilst it’s still pretty embryonic and currently regarded as “even more early stage than the rest of it” the potential of the UK and the world section is evident. It could be of enormous benefit, we feel, particularly if  more fact based.

A couple of trivia points:

1. The background image sort of slices Scotland in half and almost highlights Ireland!

2. On the terminology front we have a dislike for abbreviations and in support of simplicity would love to see a move towards, Communities, Business, Foreign, Aid, Revenue, Justice, Defence, Health, Environment and Cabinet. Some of the Departments even have logos of their initials. At a practical level if you search on MOJ on the main site it tells you it “… can’t find any results”. At a cheap shot level GDS is also used “elsewhere” to abbreviate the  Government Decontamination Service. Now we wouldn’t want to see the two GDS’s getting mixed up would we!

The development is described as being good for the taxpayer. The system can be used for free by Local Government and other Nations.

We’re pretty impressed and like Martha Lane Fox would encourage you to pay it at least a visit and engage if you’re in this minority which, we think, could be a significant one.

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