New government blogs: food safety and geography

It’s been some time coming, but details are emerging of the second phase of the Hansard Society’s Digital Dialogues programme. Included are a couple of new government blogs launched in the past fortnight: one at the Office for National Statistics, the other at the Food Standards Agency.

As mentioned previously, I spent a couple of difficult years at National Statistics, so I’m delighted to see them dipping their toe in the ‘social media’ water, albeit on a small scale for now. The geographers were always among the most forward-thinking people in the department, and is going to be an interesting example to observe, stimulating debate around a specific project. A widely accepted approach to geography is crucial in making ONS data more usable to the nation generally, and I hope they can generate good buy-in through this open initiative.

The blog over at the Food Standards Agency is your more familiar personality-led affair, from its chief scientist Andrew Wadge. He promises ‘to let you know what I and my scientist colleagues at the Agency are up to, what the emerging issues are, and how we propose handling them’. If you’re in the business, this could become a great way to keep in touch with FSA activity.

The two blogs share a common layout, and look to be based on a bespoke platform by Bedford-based developers Vohm, who have already worked with the Hansard Society on various projects. It’s all very familiar blogging fare, including RSS feeds, pretty URLs and tag clouds… although I’m curious as to why they haven’t used a standard platform like WordPress.

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