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