Lane Fox plans for government web revealed

A document published on a non-departmental gov.uk site appears to have lifted the lid on Martha Lane Fox’s plans for UK government web publishing. The document, published as an unrestricted PDF, is a review of the website of the organisation in question. But given the ongoing Lane Fox review, its author provides a helpfully concise summary of what may lie ahead.

[Lane Fox] is recommending that Directgov should expand in scope to become the government front end for all transactions, with the ability to mandate departments to meet standards they set; she is also recommending the establishment of a central team in the Cabinet Office in charge of commissioning all online government information, led by a CEO for digital to direct all online government spending. There has been no formal response from the Government to her proposals, but it reflects an overall trend for centralisation and standardisation of government online information and services.

A copy of Lane Fox’s letter to Francis Maude, dated 16 October, was attached to the document in question; but, sadly, has not been included in the online copy. It does at least indicate that the plans have already been widely circulated around the Civil Service.

For the record, the PDF in question appears (at the time of writing) in the first few pages of Google search results for ‘martha lane fox directgov review’.

7 thoughts on “Lane Fox plans for government web revealed

  1. pops up here too… [link removed]

    Simon says: I deliberately didn’t link to the document in question, and I’d be grateful if others also avoided doing so. It’s not exactly difficult to find, if people are suitably motivated.

  2. “One site to rule them all, one site to bind them”… isn’t centralised control in government a wonderfully productive and efficient way of working. Not to mention how it fosters cooperation and relationships between partisan groups. He ho…

  3. “I deliberately didn’t link to the document in question, and I’d be grateful if others also avoided doing so.”

    Why?

  4. I’m a bit mystified by the excitement about DirectGov. The process of moving all interaction to DirectGov (and BusinessLink for businesses) has been government policy for several years. If anything there has been some backing off from the idea in the last 6 months.

  5. @Hoover Purely because I don’t want someone getting grief for publishing something they shouldn’t. It’s probably an innocent mistake; we’ve all been there.

    @Colin The distinction here is that the review proposes merging everything into Directgov, not the just citizen-facing services. Any claim to political neutrality goes out the window, when you’ve got ministerial speeches and press releases (‘spin’) on the same site as ‘public services’ advice. It also means it’ll all be coming from one central team, with one central IT contract (presumably tied to G-Digital). You’d better hope it’s a benign monopoly.

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