The government’s latest crowdsourcing initiative launches today: the Red Tape Challenge takes a slightly more focused approach than previous efforts, naming a specific sector or industry ‘every few weeks’, pointing visitors at Legislation.gov.uk, and asking them what can be scrapped, merged, simplified or improved.
I really like the idea of targeting by sector, but I’m less convinced by the notion of chucking people rather randomly at various Acts of Parliament. It works OK when we’re talking about very specific legislation, such as The Bunk Beds (Entrapment Hazards) (Safety) Regulations 1987. But when it’s something as broad as a Criminal Justice Act, it’s not much help to be dumped at the table of contents, and told to find the clauses which might be relevant to the Topic Of The Week yourself. And even then, it’s the usual chaotic mess of cross-references and amendments.
The site’s been built in WordPress, by the in-house team, and uses a custom theme. There are a few slightly curious things in its configuration, which I can’t immediately work out; and the content (such as it is) is very formulaic, which makes me think it’s been done in a hurry. But it’s very nicely done, and suggests the Cabinet Office team are definitely finding their feet with WordPress.
However, whilst – of course! – I’m going to welcome further use of WordPress at the heart of government, I’m slightly bemused. When they moved their corporate site to Drupal, I assumed they’d be adopting Drupal as their corporate-wide solution… and in all likelihood, everyone else’s too. It would have been perfectly feasible to build this site, and various others they’ve done recently, in Drupal… yet they’re consistently choosing not to. I wonder why?