Government websites face huge cull

A major cull of government websites will occur this month as services are migrated onto the directgov.uk portal.

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A major cull of government websites will occur this month as services are migrated onto the directgov.uk portal.

Speaking at the Government Transformation Conference in London today (10 March), Tom Watson, Minister for Transformational Government at the Cabinet Office, said he planned to accelerate the pace of change of government transformation and said that hundreds of websites would close.

“Successful web sites use content provided by the people who use them,” said Watson who laid out a Web 2.0 vision of government web sites with “porous boundaries that “empower citizens to design their own services.”

“Public services are not making the transition quick enough. I want to accelerate the pace of government transformation,” said Watson. Government he added, treated the public as if their time was not important.

Watson said he wanted to see departments embedding data mash ups and expanding their interaction with citizens across internet and mobile platforms. Citing social networking sites such as Flickr, Digg and MySpace, Watson said that it was only by empowering users on an “open source” model of “ownership, use and change” information could government hope to deliver relevant services.

Watson said that for every one civil libertarian who was worried about sharing of information among government department’s there were 20 citizens who were frustrated by having to repeat information to different public sector bodies.

Alexis Cleveland, director general of transformational government at the cabinet office said 500 websites would be migrated into directgov.uk.

Watson said the next few weeks would see more announcements around shared services in the public sector.

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