Headlines: March 3rd, 2004

The government’s e-Envoy has unveiled the first stage of a new online service- Directgov – which is designed to make it much easier to find and access government information and services electronically. Visitors to the UK Online web site will be able to try out Directgov over the next few weeks and provide feedback on it.The system has been developed to bring together information from several Whitehall departments in one place, making it easier for users to find what they want from government, rather than having to search a number of departmental sites. It means, for example, that the parent of a young disabled child wanting to send them to the local mainstream school will be able to find out about the type and level of support available without having to go to the Department for Education and Skills or Department of Work and Pensions sites.

The new site is being launched with extensive content for motorists, parents, disabled people and carers as well as broader information for other clearly identified groups including British people living abroad and those over 50. The site will grow over time to take in content for other groups including householders, jobseekers and adult learners. The site also has links to relevant third parties offering additional advice and support.

The e-Envoy, Andrew Pinder, said Directgov addressed how people used the Internet today and incorporated best practice from the public and private sectors. It had been designed around the needs of the customer and he had sought feedback from users while the site was being built and tested so it could be refined. The new service is available from this week via ukonline.gov.uk