I’ve just received an invite to attend a Free Business Advice Open Day, hosted by HMRC with the support and active participation of Business Link. Their glossy leaflet includes a URL on the front cover: www.businessadviceday.gov.uk. You can probably guess where I’m going with this.
In November 2005, the Transformational Government strategy declared:
For customer information, self-service transactions and campaign support, services will converge on Directgov and Business Link as the primary on-line entry points; service-specific or stand-alone solutions will be phased out.
Er, so what is this site exactly? A stand-alone site with self-service transaction. And to make matters worse, there’s no reference anywhere in the leaflet to the main Business Link URL. (Interestingly, several of the other partner organisations include their URLs in their logos, making them actually better represented than Business Link!)
A whois search reveals that the businessadviceday domain was actually registered more than a year after the Transformational strategy was published. There’s really little hope for rationalisation when customer-facing activity like this, on behalf of one of the primary beneficiaries of rationalisation, is being handled through stand-alone websites.
PS: Today was actually the first time I’ve come across a whois which works for gov.uk – hosted by Janet. Well worth bookmarking, although its accuracy is limited. Most of the records for well-established domain names are listed as being ‘created’ in 2003, which clearly isn’t right. But basic contact details are generally included, and should provide a starting point at least.