From today Gov.uk drops its public beta tag and replaces the governments two main brands Direct.gov.uk and Businesslink.gov.uk . We think this is not as dry as it sounds/reads and is in fact a most note/newsworthy event.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office with responsibility for the Governments Digital Service (GDS) says “.. .much remains to be done if we are to achieve the fundamental digital transformation that is required across government. “
Quite so but we think this is a major move in the right direction.
The head of the GDS Mike Braken has a fairly lengthy interview in the Guardian explaining “Why this new government website really matters”.
Traffic is the key as Graham Francis mentions in a blog post. Direct.gov on Alexa is the 36th most visited site in the UK and Businesslink is 362nd, then there are all the Government Departments and Agencies which are to be added at a later stage. As an example the dreaded HMRC&E comes in at number 95 and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office at 925 and so it goes on and on and on.
Last year the GDS ran an Inside Government live trial which impressed and has now been adopted. “Websites of all government departments and many other public bodies will be merged into the Inside Government section of Gov.uk. This will happen in batches, starting soon and finishing in 2014”.
From a very brief look at a couple of Department websites it looks as if layout standardisation is well underway. This generates more applause from us.
There will, for sure be some teething problems but we have no hesitation in wishing them a very warm welcome and we look forward to the ongoing digital transformation with the Gov.uk brand soon entering the top 10 websites on Alexa along with the likes of Google, Facebook YouTube, eBay Amazon and even the BBC.
Here’s their commendably short video introducing the NEW service. We encourage you to “Take the tour”