I am sitting in the middle of the delivery team in the Government Digital Service where there is a mega buzz and a jubilant mood as Gov.uk went live in the early hours of this morning. This is an important moment in the move to a ‘Digital by Default’ government – an idea I suggested in my report in 2010. The launch is the culmination of a gargantuan effort by the team over the last year and particularly the last few months.

Gov.uk is a simple concept but an extraordinarily complex piece of work to make a reality. Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office came over to thank the team and said that the change happening here is what gives him a spring in his step when faced with other slower moving areas in his remit. So what isGov.uk? It is a single government domain and is the amalgamation of Directgov and Business Link (and very soon some of the hundreds of departmental sites that are not only sapping scarce government resources but also making it too hard for the user to find what they want). I wrote in 2010 that ‘government needs to move to a service based culture putting the needs of citizens ahead of departments’ and this is what MIke Bracken, the leader of the GDS has put at the heart of the new platform.

When I talk to friends about the open, innovative, disruptive and world leading team that I have been working with, they assume it must be some trendy East London start up – but no, it’s this team in the heart of government. The creation of Gov.uk is as profound a moment for us as citizens as the laying the first railway track or the designing the first school curriculum – it’s the beginning of the blueprint, values and style for the next wave of services that we will use into the next century. I am immensely proud to have been a part of this revolution – but its only the beginning and there are still mountains to climb as the team move to the larger transactional services over the next year.

Please check out the site, give feedback, and get involved – public services need our engagement and help to improve.

Click here for Mike Bracken’s blog on – Why GOV.UK matters: A platform for a digital Government.

5 thoughts on “Gov.UK Launch

  1. Pingback: Blue Note Tech Blog » UK government website wins global design award

  2. I do have to say its seems odd when one of the first things departments like DWP do is to offer services that seem to be entirely caged from outside organisations like entitledto.co.uk – services that are free to the verage user but actually have to make a living, make money etc not be funded by the tax payer

    but again this is about people in large organisations wanting to beat the competion not innovate better solutions.

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  5. I use the internet for almost everything & have increasingly done so for about 18 years. I was trying to renew my driving license. After an hour I gave up! An awful experience, so many different details required & then at the final page, Safari cannot display this page! I understood that the government was spearheading the wider use of online transactions but if this is their idea of user friendly we are all doomed. It is so cumbersome, I admit that page transitions are fast but all that means is you crash quicker. I was sent a reminder form to renew my driving license, stating that online was quicker, I needed to input SEVEN different document details, why when I’ve been sent a dedicated renewal form, surely everything except my login details & credit card should be on this form? Have you heard of online banking, eBay, Amazon or any number of highly encrypted traders? This experience reminded me of the early days of internet banking, they soon realised that they had to streamline their systems.
    I am now going to the post office to renew my license.

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