The Knowledge Network, which allows central departments to share information with each other, is making it quicker and easier to prepare policy briefings and ministerial speeches. The Network, which is the first of its kind in the world, is now entering its third year of operation. All departments now have access to the facility and as staff gain confidence in using it, more material is being released to a wider government audience.Ministers, Private Offices, Departmental Communications Units and key policy officials now have access to up to date core briefing; Frequently Asked Questions, key speeches, Parliamentary Questions and Press Releases. This information would previously have been stored in different formats and places, but is now stored in the Network. Because the information is available on a 24/7 basis time is saved for Private Office and policy officials and it also reduces the need for officials to be called out of hours at home.
Using the Knowledge Network as the core system, a number of pilot communities are being linked in. The largest of these is the Government Legal Services’ intranet LION (Legal Information On-Line). This joins all Government lawyers with access to the Government Secure Intranet into a common workspace. A pilot system running in the London Borough of Ealing is testing the feasibility of linking in local government systems.