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Martha Lane Fox launches Alpha.gov.uk website

Martha Lane Fox launches Alpha.gov.uk website

£92 Ubuntu PCs also go on sale

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Martha Lane Fox has launched Alpha.gov.uk, an experimental prototype website to show how people can engage with government services online.

The website is an example of what a single UK government website could look like, and aims to be as simple as possible to use, and to put citizens’ needs first. The website calls for users to give feedback to shape the future development of the site.

Led by government digital champion Martha Lane Fox and digital expert Tom Loosemore, the website was developed by a team in the Government Digital Service in response to Lane Fox’s review of the government’s websites, Race Online 2012.

The review called for more public services to be delivered through digital channels, and proposed to simplify the user experience by making all of government’s transactional services available through Directgov.

The site currently features a large search box in the centre of the page, similar to Google’s search homepage, under which it lists a selection of ‘popular tools and topics’. It also has a function that allows users to set their location so that relevant information about local services can be displayed to each user.

Virgin Media Business said that the new website is an example of government moving towards more shared services.

“With Alphagov, it’s clear that the digital world is considering harnessing a shared services strategy. By locating resources, services and information into one interactive hub, the public sector will not only benefit from lower costs as a result of website consolidation, but it will also be able to offer a significantly improved online experience for the public.”

Meanwhile, Remploy, which provides specialist employment services for disabled people, has started to sell £92 refurbished Linux PCs, which is part of another Lane Fox initiative to help bridge the UK’s digital divide.  

The computers, which run on open source operating system Ubuntu, start from £92 for a PC with a flat screen monitor, mouse and keyboard, and an Office package with warranty, telephone support and delivery. People will also be able to buy mobile broadband access from Three, on a one-month, three-month or 12-month contract.

Positive IT Solutions will also provide additional phone and email support to customers for any setup issues and troubleshooting.

The PCs are available here.

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