Headlines: October 11th, 1999

Government web sites have been ordered to come of age – with fewer clever gimmicks that users with older machines cannot access – and services as well as information on tap.A new set of guidelines has been issued which should give Government websites a degree of commonality.

E-Minister Patricia Hewitt says the new standards should not stifle innovation, but establish a more coherent Government presence on the Internet, make more of its sites more accessible to a wide audience, and improve navigation between sites.

The guidelines were drawn up by a cross-departmental government group chaired by the Cabinet Office’s Central IT Unit.

The web is now described as a ‘crucial medium’ for interacting with citizens. Departments are likely to be audited to ensure standards are improved.

Last March, the Modernising government white paper set out a wide-ranging programme for improving public services using Information Technology as a key driver. By 2008, all Government services should be capable of being delivered electronically.

The guidelines will be available on the Information Age Government Champions website at www.iagchampions.gov.uk