The single domain for government services, GOV.UK, has been live for one year this week and is now averaging some nine million weekly visits.
This is approximately double the level of visits over the same period last year to the Directgov and Business Link websites that GOV.UK replaced.
GOV.UK receives six million unique visitors every week, 20 percent of them from mobile devices. Overall, there have been 425 million visits to the site and 1.2 billion page views in its first year.
Some of the most popular services on the site are receiving many million page views a month, such as ‘Find a job with Universal Jobmatch’ (10 million) and ‘Car tax: get a tax disc’ (three million).
GOV.UK is a central part of the government’s digital by default agenda for putting public-facing transactions online, in a bid to save £1.7 billion by 2015. It was set up in response to a report by Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox, which in 2010 urged for a ‘revolution not evolution’ approach to transforming the government’s online services.
“GOV.UK is central to our vision for government that is digital by default and provides online public services so good that people prefer to use them. Two years ago, there were an incredible 2,000 government websites. We’ve streamlined those into a single, central domain built entirely around what the user needs to get out of it,” said Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister.
“Replacing Directgov and Business Link websites with GOV.UK is saving taxpayers up to £50 million a year. And we estimate that £1.2 billion could be saved during this parliament by bringing government transactional services online, with potential annual savings of £1.7 billion to £1.8 billion in the longer term.”
All 24 ministerial departments, as well as the websites of the Prime Minister’s and Deputy Prime Minister’s offices, have been moved to the GOV.UK platform. Hundreds of other government websites are set to be migrated.
The single domain was built by the Government Digital Service (GDS) using open source technology, saving government from spending money on expensive software licencing costs. The use of open source has also meant that others can adopt it, which was recently done by the New Zealand Government.
Maude said: “GOV.UK has made great strides in its first year, but it’s not finished. It has to keep pace with advances in technology, and most importantly with what people want from it and how they want to use it.
“That’s why we will continue to adapt and refine GOV.UK, while adding new services and publishing and updating the huge amount of content and guidance there to reflect what users need.”
He added: “In the next year, more of the 25 services in the first wave of digital service transformation will move towards going live. By 2018 we expect all government services handling over 100,000 transactions a year to be available digitally on GOV.UK.”