Three years ago in my first blog post here on GovFresh, I recommended the U.S. government centralize its web operations, something I believe applies to government at every level.
To some, this was absurd. One leading government IT “expert” called it the “worst idea ever.”
But what we’ve seen with much of .gov web operations is a disjointed ecosystem of interfaces, technologies and content strategy that evokes a lack of leadership or clarity in how the public sector should best serve citizens online.
From a follow-up post, here were my general recommendations:
- Centralize all government Web operations under one agency
- Hire a Chief User Experience Officer
- Unify look/feel of all government/military Web sites
- Hire talented writers and editors to produce quality content
Its goal is simple:
Inside Government makes it simpler, clearer and faster to explore how government works, see who is working on what and stay updated when things change.
What’s incredible about this undertaking is that the UK government isn’t biting off the whole in one chunk. It’s doing it incrementally, one agency at a time. It’s building a simple interface to government that citizens need using an agile development process that will save taxpayer dollars and instill a sense of confidence citizens have in government. It shows UK.gov is focused and understands citizens needs rather than constructing its online operations as if it were an organizational chart.
I’m a big proponent of the “government as a platform” approach advocated by Tim O’Reilly, but there needs to be a two-pronged strategy that includes government taking the lead on improving its own web ecosystem.
UK.gov is doing just that, and we will see more of this over time.